Does your TV “turn on”, but there is no picture? Many people run into this issue at some point, no matter the brand or model of their TV – it’s a very common problem.
And like most people, when I experienced this for the first time, I thought my TV was done for. I figured there was an issue with the hardware that would require the television to be taken apart.
But the fix was so much more straightforward than that. This is what I did to get the picture working again.
You need to soft reset your television. Begin by unplugging your TV from the wall. With the TV still unplugged, press down the power button on the TV for 15 seconds straight. Then release the power button and wait another 30 seconds before plugging the TV back in.
Soft-reset your TV
This step usually gets skipped because people think it’ll never work, but a soft-reset of your TV should always be the first step you take whenever you encounter technical difficulties.
The term soft-reset simply means turning a device OFF and then back ON again, without losing any data. We are going to do something similar, but with a twist.
1. Start by unplugging your TV from the wall.
NOTE: Make sure your TV isn’t plugged into a surge protector, these are notorious for causing power issues!
2. While the TV is unplugged, locate the power button on your TV. Once you find it, press and hold it in for about 15 seconds.
Make sure you use the power button on the TV itself and not the remote! Your TV has capacitors that store excess power, even when the TV is unplugged. Pressing and holding the power button helps drain those capacitors allowing your TV to fully reset.
3. After the 15 seconds are up you can release the power button and then wait another 30 seconds or so before plugging your TV back into the wall.
In most cases, these 3 simple steps will resolve the issue. But if your picture is still not working on your TV, read on.
Check every TV connection
If soft-resetting your TV didn’t work, the next thing I want you to do is double-check all the connections to your television.
1. Start by disconnecting everything from your TV, wait 30 seconds, and then reconnect everything. Make sure that each and every connection is snug and secure!
These days, folks typically have at least 2-3 external devices connected to their TV. Maybe it’s a streaming device, like Roku, Firestick or Chromecast, a game console like Playstation or X-box, or just a cable box.
Loose connections to any of these devices, or from these devices to your TV, can cause display issues.
2. Another thing worth trying is connecting your external device to a different HDMI port on your TV.
While not all that common, HDMI ports can fail over time. If you’re using a cable box and it’s connected to “HDMI 1”, for instance, try plugging it into “HDMI 2” and see if you still have display issues.
3. I would also check each and every cable/cord, and make sure they are not damaged.
If you suspect you might have a faulty cord, see if you have another cord of the same type lying around and try that instead. For example, if your cable box is using an HDMI cord, try using a different HDMI cord and see if that resolves the issue.
4. The last thing to do, is make sure your TV is on the correct input/source channel if you are trying to use an external device.
These days, external devices typically connect to your TV via HDMI. Each HDMI port on the back of your TV has a corresponding number.
If you’re cable box is connected to the “HDMI 1” port, but your TV is on the “HDMI 2” channel, you won’t get an image on your screen.
Simply press the input/source button on your remote and toggle through each channel until you find the right one.
Try using a different external device
Something else to consider is that the cause of this issue is an external device, and not your TV.
So if you’re trying to use a cable box, or a game console for example, and you get sound, but no picture on your television, do the following.
1. Disconnect the external device you’re having issues with, and try using a different device. Or just try using the TV as is.
If your picture returns after disconnecting the external device in question, then that’s a pretty good sign that your TV is fine and the device is at fault.
If you tried all the fixes above, but your picture is still not working, it’s likely that your TV has a hardware issue.
Here are a few ways to diagnosis exactly which type of hardware issue your TV is experiencing.
1. Shut off the lights, and power on your TV. Look at the back your television and see if you notice any light shining through the back vent. NOTE: Not all TV’s will have a vent to look through. Unfortunately for these models you will have to take off the back panel of the TV.
If you see light, that means the “backlight” of your TV is still working. In this case you probably have a bad T-Con board or main board (mother board).
Normally you would have to take a guess, and replace them one-by-one to figure out which one is the culprit. But since your TV still has sound, I would replace the T-Con board first, as that is almost always the solution.
2. If you did NOT see any lights in the previous step, that means your backlight isn’t working. In that case, turn off the lights again, make sure your TV is “ON” and bring up the TV menu. Take a flash light and shine it on the screen and look for signs of the menu.
You’ll want the keep the flashing light just a few inches from the screen and move it all around. You should eventually be able to make out a faint image of the TV menu.
If you do end up seeing an image, it’s likely that your T-Con board and main board are perfectly fine, but your inverter or LED driver are broken.
NOTE: Many TV models come with the inverter / LED driver built directly into the power-supply board. In those cases you’ll have to replace the power board.
If the inverter / LED driver aren’t broken, then it’s likely that the LED strips are. All it takes is a single broken light, and the entire strip will stop working.
Unfortunately, each and every one of these hardware issues will require you to take your TV apart in order to fix it.
If you weren’t able to get your TV’s picture working, I suggest reaching out to support before throwing in the towel.
Most TV brands offer a handful of different support options, from in home repairs to mail-in service.
Obviously a key consideration here is cost. Usually a technician will be able to diagnose the problem for you and present you options before paying.
Unfortunately these days a lot of TV repairs are more costly than buying a new TV.
Check your warranty
You can also go online and see if your TV is still covered by warranty.
Unfortunately most of these warranties only last 1 year, but it’s still worth looking into.
If there is no picture on your TV, try the following fixes in this exact order:
- Soft-reset your TV
- Make sure all your TV’s connections are secure
- Test a different externally connected device
- Hardware issues:
- Replace the T-Con board
- Replace the main board
- Replace the power-supply board
- Replace the LED strips
- Reach out to support
- Look into your TV’s warranty
I’m confident that one of these fixes will get your TV working again but if not, you’re likely stuck buying a new television.