I have a TV/VCR combo set, a small one (15"?), that I got sometime in '98 or so. It’s endured a cross-country move, and it works fine. But lately, I’ve been hearing this odd noise come from it - a short series of electronic buzzes, kinda like Morse code. This happens when the TV is on OR off.
On further thought, it may not be arcing given when the television was made. (I can remember a television from my childhood that arced though, it made an odd faint buzzing, and dad got it on his workbench to fix it and said it was arcing. This was a much older model television though, obviously.) Still, unplug it and see if the noises stop? Otherwise it sounds like something is giving out, but I wouldn’t know what. Maybe the screen itself?
Does it happen when you are running a vacuum or some other electronic device near it? My tv (also a tv/vcr and about the same age) does the same thing sometimes. I always have assumed that it’s just interference. Remember that as long as the television is plugged in, it is “on”.
Really old TVs took a while to “warm up” before a picture became viewable. Newer old TVs solved this “problem” by being constantly “warmed up” while plugged in. So some circuits were always on so that when you hit the “on” button the picture came up fairly quickly. (I don’t know what new TVs do). So I suspect your TV is always on in some sense of the word.
I also suspect the noise you are hearing is your cell phone checking in to the local tower. Often when I’m watching TV I get this morse code sort of static or interference…its my cell phone…even when I’m not using it or a call is not coming in. Of course when I make a call or a call is coming in, I get the same static. Maybe you can test that. Make a cell phone call next to your TV and see if you can hear the static.
This might sound silly, but when it happens do you have a cell phone charging? My dad’s computer was making a similar sound (based on what I’m guessing it sounded like eeeee eee eee eeeeee ee eee) that only happened when a cell phone was plugged in near the computer. I still haven’t fully decided if it’s the cell phone or the computer making the noise, but it’s kinda eerie and sorta sounds like a high pitched jacobs ladder doing morse code.
I’m betting you’re right on this one. I’ve noticed that audio/video equipment, and other phones, occasionally emit similar noises when there’s a cell phone placed close to them and a call or message comes in. Just two nights ago I left my BlackBerry next to an old TV/VCR combo unit that was plugged in but turned off. When an e-mail message came through on the Blackberry, I heard a series of buzzing, staticky sort of noises from the TV, even though it was off. It was very similar to something I’ve heard in conference rooms during meetings when someone’s put their cell phone, set to vibrate mode, on the table close to the base unit for a speakerphone system, and the cell phone received a call. I’d never noticed it from a TV, only other phones or audio equipment, until the other night.
Maybe you have an over enthusiastic HAM radio operator in your neighborhood. I once lived near someone with a 50 foot radio tower in his backyard. Anything with a speaker would make the most bizarre sounds whenever he was broadcasting, especially if the device was powered down. He eventually installed filters and the problem mostly went away.