How-To

Why Is My Samsung TV So Dark (Change THIS Setting!)

If your Samsung TV is working and you find that the color is correct but it’s just too dark, there several settings that you should check/adjust/turn off before calling for a repair.

Your Samsung TV is dark because:

  1. The brightness and/or contrast levels are wrong and need to be adjusted
  2. Black tone is on and needs to be turned off
  3. Eco mode (power saving mode) is on and needs to be turned off
  4. Pulse with modulation (P.W.M) settings in service mode are not set to 100
  5. Your Samsung TV needs a software update

Read on for more details about how to make each of these changes.

Adjust the brightness

If you’re having issues with your Samsung TV being dark, a good place to start is your TV’s brightness settings.

Brightness is a setting that determines how much light your TV emits. If your TV is dark, it might just simply be because your brightness setting is too low.

Play around with the brightness and find what works best for your environment. The closer to 100, the brighter your screen will be.

To adjust your brightness grab your remote and select Settings > Picture > Expert Settings > Brightness.

Hint: when you’re in broad daylight, you need more brightness so you can actually see the TV!

Note that there may also be a setting here called “Backlight”. Backlight is a form of brightness, so you may have to adjust this in combination with brightness to see what works best.

Adjust the contrast

Brightness (and Backlight) are just one piece of the puzzle, contrast brings it all together. Contrast is the ratio from the brightest spot to the darkest spot on the screen.

Too much contrast is a problem because it basically blends the blacks and the whites together, creating an overall dark appearance.

Extreme contrast essentially just shows black and white, without any middle ground. There is no shading in-between.

Ultimately you should just play around with the contrast levels and see what works. The closer to 100, the more pronounced the light/dark contrast.

To adjust your contrast grab your remote and select Settings > Picture > Expert Settings > Contrast.

In very dark rooms you can use more contrast because you don’t hit the limits of what the TV can do in terms of how bright it needs to go.

Turn black tone off

Black tone is a setting that attempts to make black spots on your TV look darker overall.

But the reality is you can’t really make your TV’s blacks blacker than they already are. So instead, black tone makes dark gray areas black. This can cause you to lose a lot of detail.

To adjust black tone grab your remote and select Settings > Picture > Expert (Advaced) Settings > Black tone.

It is best to just leave black tone OFF.

turn black tone off samsung tv

Turn off Eco mode

Samsung TVs also come equipped with something called Eco mode. This mode automatically controls various settings on your TV to save power whenever possible.

Sometimes these settings can take on a life of their own and its worth turning them off if you’re already experiencing issues.

To disable your Eco mode first select Settings on your remote control (or select Home on your remote and the scroll left until you find Settings).

Next scroll down to General and then Eco Solution.

Check to see if any of these Eco settings are turned on. If they are, it might be worth turning them off and seeing if you still have a problem with your TV being too dark.

Ok, if you’ve tried the above steps but you’re still having issues, it’s time to cover on of the more complex issues known to cause Samsung TVs to be too dark.

Set pulse with modulation (P.W.M) to 100

You’ve probably never heard of “pulse with modulation” before, but it’s a setting that automatically controls the brightness output levels of your TV according to the scenes of the movie/show.

Often these P.W.M settings are what’s causing your TV to be too dark. To change these settings, you’ll need to access your Samsung TV’s Service Mode.

With the TV off, grab your remote and select: Mute, 1, 8, 2, and finally Power.

Before changing anything, you should take a photo of the settings you see. Once these settings are changed, there is no way to “reset” them back. So just to be safe, snap a photo.

Once the Service Menu appears you’ll start by selecting SVC > Other Setting > CAL Data Restore > OK.

Then go back to the first menu by pressing Return on your remote and scroll down to Advanced and press “0” 4 times on your remote. This will bring up additional menu options.

Go to Picture_2D > SubSetting. From here turn all the PWM settings (five in total) up to 100.

By making them all 100, your TV should now remain at one brightness level and shouldn’t go up and down based on the scene.

Your Samsung TV Needs an Update

A Smart TV needs constant updates to ensure that the system works perfectly. So, if your TV is behind on its software upgrades, it can malfunction. 

All you need to do is look for the newest firmware update available for your TV model.

Here’s how to update your TV’s software: 

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select the option Support.
  3. Now, go to Software Update
  4. Select the Update Software option. 

Your TV will automatically update itself. This process may take a few minutes, but your TV will let you know when it’s done. 

Backlight is broken

If nothing has worked to this point it is very possible that the backlight of your Samsung TV is broken.

An easy way to determine whether or not this is the case is to power on your TV and then take a flashlight and bring it very close to your TV screen.

Look very closely to see if there is any image on the screen when you flash the light.

check if Samsung TV backlight is broken

If you see a picture appearing, but it’s extremely faint, it’s probably because the backlight of your TV failed and it needs to be replaced.

Conclusion

If you find that your Samsung TV is working for the most part but the image is just too dark, there are several settings/adjustments you can try.

First, play with your brightness and contrast levels, and find the combination that works best for your environment.

Next, make sure that black tone is turned off. This feature usually results in a loss of detail as it changes grays to black.

If that doesn’t make your Samsung TV brighter, you can try turning off Eco mode. This mode automatically controls various settings on your TV to save power whenever possible so it’s best to just turn it off to be safe.

You can also try turning your P.W.M settings all to 100. This will ensure that your darkness settings don’t change on you scene to scene and your TV stays at one brightness level.

If you get into trouble after playing around with too many settings and you can’t quite get your TV looking right, you should just Reset the Picture or Factory Reset your Samsung TV.

This will revert all your settings back to the day you bought the TV.

Ultimately, if you’ve tried all these steps without any luck, it’s likely that your TV’s backlight is broken and needs to be replaced.

Were you able to make your dark Samsung TV brighter? Tell me how in the comments below!