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Why Is My TV Screen Dark? 5 Causes & Fixes (2023 Guide)

Why Is My TV Screen Dark

After a long day, you grab your remote and turn on your TV.

What you see is darkness. You assume that it’s just a part of the broadcast.

But after a few seconds, you get suspicious. “Why isn’t there anything?

You squint. Really, really hard.

Wait, there is something there.

But why is it so dark?

Keep reading to discover:

  • 5 reasons why your TV screen is dark and how to fix it.
  • How the backlight panel receives power and how it can fail.
  • What is ambient light detection and how can it darken your screen.
  • How to replace a T-Con board when your TV’s display is dimmer because of it.
  • And so much more…

Why is my TV screen dark?

Your TV screen is dark because of dead backlights. It could also be because of your TV’s settings. Particularly, the ‘Power Save’ and ambient lighting options. If the issue is with your hardware, then either your inverter or your T-con board might be broken.

Dark TV screen: 5 causes & fixes

#1: Ambient light detection

Have you ever noticed that your TV is brighter during the morning and darker during the night?

You’re not going crazy. It does happen.

There’s a light sensor on the middle part of your TV’s bezels. 

This sensor interprets the general lighting situation in your room. This will then give the information to the TV for interpretation.

If you’re in a bright room, the TV will brighten the TV for you. Likewise, if you’re in a dark room, your TV can also darken the display.

Manufacturers do this to create the optimal viewing experience for their customers.

However, it’s not perfect. Software and hardware issues do happen.

If you encounter these problems, you may end up with a TV that suddenly just dims without reason.

What you can do

If your light sensor is broken, there’s no need to replace it with a new one.

You can easily turn off light detection and manually set up your TV’s brightness.

For Samsung TVs, there are two ways to do it depending on when your TV was manufactured.

For models older than 2016:

  1. Go to “System”.
  2. Select “Eco Solution”.
  3. Choose “Eco Sensor”.
  4. Toggle on or off.

For models released after 2016:

  1. Go to “Settings”.
  2. Select “General”.
  3. Press “Ambient Light Detection”.
  4. Toggle on or off.

Further reading: 5 Ways To Make Your TV Less Bright (New How-To)

#2: A dead backlight

The worst nightmare of most TV screens is a dead backlight.

The backlight array is responsible for the brightness of your TV. 

Try to shine a light on your screen, can you still barely see the details of your menu?

If this is the case, you most likely have a dead backlight.

Usually, when a diode dies, your screen might be discolored.

But, some backlight panels have a failsafe that disables the entire array once a diode is dead. This is why your screen is dark but pictures are still visible if you point a flashlight at it.

What you can do

Carefully open the back of your TV. From there, you should be able to see white light from the side of the casing if the backlight is okay.

If there are no lights, then it’s time to purchase a replacement backlight array

To properly replace your old backlight array:

  1. Carefully strip off the old strips from the TV. They will be held down using a sticker so be careful on removing them.
  2. Apply new stickers or double-sided tape in place of the old stickers.
  3. Carefully lay the new strips down following the new line of stickers.
  4. Put everything back together.

#3: The “Power Save” setting

LG TV Power Save Setting

Nowadays, eco-friendly is the way to be.

And rightfully so.

That’s why manufacturers have started creating a ‘Power Save’ setting for their TVs.

This feature lessens the energy consumption of TVs, making them more eco-friendly. 

However, with ‘Power Save’ mode, your TV is subjected to very low brightness.

If low brightness isn’t your cup of tea, you can always opt-out of ‘Power Save’ mode. 

What you can do

Like ambient light detection, ‘Power Save’ mode can be easily turned off in the settings menu.

For example, in LG TVs:

  1. Go to “Settings”.
  2. Choose “Picture”.
  3. Scroll down to “Energy Saving”.
  4. Change the setting that most corresponds to your preference. Simply choose ‘Off’ if you want to turn it off.

#4: A faulty inverter

Just because your backlight is okay, doesn’t mean that it works properly.

At the back of your TV is a small board called the backlight inverter.

The inverter is the one that converts the electricity from the power supply to turn the backlight on. It’s the primary part that connects the power source to the screen.

Sometimes, an electrical short can permanently damage the inverter inside your TV.

Your backlight won’t turn on if it fails to receive power. This will then result in a dim screen.

What you can do

If you’re certain that the inverter is the issue, then the first step is to secure a replacement inverter. After that:

  1. Open the back of your TV carefully.
  2. The backlight inverter is usually on the left side of your TV. If not, you can trace the power supply panel to lead you to the inverter.
  3. Remove the inverter casing that covers the panel.
  4. Carefully unplug all ribbon cables.
  5. Unlock the wire connectors then remove the wires.
  6. Unscrew the panel from the chassis.
  7. Insert the replacement inverter.
  8. Plug all wires and ribbon cables.
  9. Put the casing back in.
  10. Screw everything back in place.

To fully understand how to access the inverter, you can check out this video:

#5: A broken T-Con board

When you turn your TV on, does it have sound but no picture?

If so, then the problem must be your T-Con board.

The T-Con board is what connects the mainboard of your TV to the LCD panel. 

This means that, if it’s damaged, it will only affect the picture and not the audio of the TV.

The connection between the LCD and the mainboard is important. When it’s compromised, the screen will often turn dark or black.

Other times it can manifest as solid vertical lines. Sometimes half of your screen may turn black while the other half is okay. 

What you can do

If your T-con board is broken, then it needs to be replaced.

Warning: Replacing your T-con board is extremely dangerous. You can accidentally cause further harm to your TV if you don’t know what you’re doing.

  1. Buy a replacement T-con board that is compatible with your device.
  2. Open the back of your TV carefully.
  3. The T-Con board is usually located in the upper-middle part behind the metal casing. You can follow the ribbon cable from the main panel to confirm.
  4. Carefully unplug all the ribbon cables from the T-Con board.
  5. Insert the replacement T-Con board.
  6. Plug all wires and ribbon cables.
  7. Put the casing back in.
  8. Screw everything back in place.