Televisions have always been the central place for families to gather after a long day at work or school. We watch the news, binge watch episodes of Game of Thrones, and try to guess which beach house the couple from Ohio will choose as they endeavor to swap a cold, lifeless winter hemisphere for a tropical paradise. It is, so to speak, the caveman equivalent of a campfire. So there is nothing more frustrating when that essential piece of technology in your life suffers a failure. The following tips will help you troubleshoot LED TV issues and allow you to regain the most fundamental core aspect of your humanity.
Types of LED, OLED and LCD Television Failures
There are a lot of ways modern televisions can fail. They are computers with sensitive components, after all. They are circuits and capacitors, processors and diodes. Unlike their CRT predecessors with vacuum tubes and high voltage transformers, modern televisions are more likely to develop problems within months, as opposed to the years it would take a CRT to fail. In fact, the primary reason most CRTs went into extinction was peer pressure and public shame, rather than actual failure.
Initial Troubleshooting LED TV Steps
The tips included in this guide cover some basic and troubleshooting LED TV techniques you should try prior to calling support. The support technician will require you do these steps, anyway, so you should do them in advance to save everyone time and frustration. The steps listed below are from the easiest to most intrusive.
- Unplug the TV and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove any external devices by unplugging any HDMI components or USB drives that might be attached.
- If the TV has a picture, go into the settings and find the software version installed.
- Run any updates, if available.
- If problem persists, try reverting the TV back to factory defaults.
Troubleshooting LED, OLED and LCD TV Problems
The TV Will Not Turn On Or Has No Picture
- Make sure the AC power cable is securely attached to the television and plugged directly into a known-working wall outlet. If it was plugged into a power strip, temporarily bypass the power strip and plug the TV directly into the wall.
- If the TV’s power indicator is not lit, try another device to confirm the power outlet is working normally.
- Replace the batteries in the remote control.
- If it will still not power on, locate the manual power button for the TV–typically on the rear or side of the TV and try that.
- If the TV seems to power on, but there is no picture, try changing TV inputs to another device (such as a gaming console, Netflix or YouTube app).
Television Has Marks or Defects On The Screen
LED, LCD and OLED televisions can suffer a multitude of symptoms in regards to physical defects in the picture. These can be caused by physical impact, defect in the screen, or a problem with the LED lighting. To understand how these can vary and to see some of the symptoms these defects can produce, we first need to understand how modern televisions illuminate the screen.
Edge Lighting – Edge lighting is probably the most common way for televisions to illuminate the screen. There is a series of LEDs around the perimeter of the screen that provide lighting. One of the most common faults with edge lite screens is called “light bleeding,” where the edge of the screen seems vastly brighter in some areas as opposed to others. This symptom will generally get worse over time. Below is an example.
Direct Lit Lighting – Direct Lit lighting moves the lighting from the perimeter of the television to the rear of the screen. This allows specific sections of the screen to become brighter or darker. The LEDs are placed in a pattern behind the screen and can be brightened or dimmed wherever necessary. If one fails or falls off the panel, you may see a bright white circle of light of the screen that looks like a full moon.
Full Array LED Lighting – Full Array LED Lighting is similar to Direct Lit lighting because the lights are arranged behind the screen in rows. The main difference between the two is full array has many more lights, allowing the lighting to be controlled better in smaller areas. Failure is similar, however, as you may see circles or patches of areas where the screen is brighter than others.
Television Has No Sound
- First confirm the volume is not muted by using the remote or physical buttons on the TV to raise the volume. You should see some type of indication the volume is rising, even if the sound does not come on.
- If you have an external sound system attached to the TV, disconnect it during the troubleshooting process. The internal speakers should take over by default, but navigate to the audio settings in the TV’s menu and confirm it is set to internal speakers.
- Most newer televisions will have a diagnostic mode to test the picture or sound. Run the sound diagnostic and take note of any error codes.
- Change the input and try watching something from an app like Netflix or YouTube. This will rule out HDMI cabling issues.
Television Settings Change Frequently
If your TV is new and you find the picture, sound and other settings seem to keep reverting to a previous state without any intervention on your part, check to make sure your TV is not in Retail Mode or Store Mode. These modes are used to display the TV in super-bright, loud conditions. The location of this will vary based on make and model, but you should be able to locate it under the general settings under something called “Usage Mode.”
General TV App Issues
Try the following steps if you experience problems installing or running apps.
- Plug your TV into your network, if possible. While WiFi is generally fine, your TV may be experiencing WiFi interference or a weak signal from the router.
- Change your TV’s DNS settings. These are generally set to use whatever the router is using for DNS, but you can manually change it to Google’s DNS of 126.96.36.199 within the network settings just to troubleshoot.
- Confirm your TV account and phone’s apps are properly linked. Apps are usually given permission though your Google, Netflix, Amazon, Roku or other account, and the phone is generally a tool for setting these up and approving access.
When All Else Fails Contact Support For Your TV
The inevitable support call may be in order if none of the TV troubleshooting steps above fix your television issues. A few things can happen during this process:
You may have access to a support forum, which may be beneficial if your schedule does not allow you to be in front of your TV. Have your serial number handy and note the model number in the forum post along with your issue. Do not give any private information at this point, such as your name or address. Just give the model number and describe the issue during this initial point of contact. A technician may respond back asking you to message them privately or give you a contact number to call. The technician’s name and title should be clearly distinguishable among other users, so be careful will giving any personal details.
If you call a technician or respond in a forum, the technician will give you a set of instructions troubleshoot LED TV issues. Perform the troubleshooting steps or let the technician know you already tried those steps.
Allow Remote Support – Just as with a computer, a technician can remotely access the TV to run diagnostics, install firmware updates or reset the TV. You can generally allow remote access to the television by going into the Settings>Support>Remote Management settings. The location of this feature will vary based on the make and model of your TV.
In conclusion, modern TVs are more fragile than older CRTs and we hope our guide to troubleshoot LED TV problems was beneficial. Here are some additional links to major brand name support sites if you need their assistance: Samsung Support, LG Support, Sony Support.