Fixing a Horrible Television Picture

by on November 11, 2008

Q: I have a TV and the picture on it is terrible. Its dark and the color is a little off. I don’t believe the picture has always been this bad. I was wondering if there were any upgrades I could put into the TV or if there was a part in the TV that needs to be replaced. If I want a better picture what part do I need to attack?

A: Upgrading is not possible on most televisions. But you may be able to replace malfunctioning parts in your television. First, you will need to determine what kind of television you own. There are several kinds of televisions being used today. These include: flat-panel (LCD or Plasma), rear-projection, tube (also called CRT), and front projection. Visit to see which of these kinds best matches your television. Please understand that each kind of television is susceptible to multiple types of malfunction. I have included only the most common causes below.

Sometimes, a power disruption can cause any kind of television to malfunction. This may be what happened to your television. Unplug your television’s power cord from the wall, and leave it unplugged for at least four hours. Then plug your television’s power cord back into the wall, and attempt to adjust your television’s brightness, color, etc. Most televisions sold since the late-1990s allow you to use a remote control to adjust the picture. Otherwise, you should be able to adjust the picture using knobs and/or buttons on the front of your television.

If you own a CRT-based television and the above solution does not work for you, the tube inside your television is probably failing. If this is the case, it will likely be less expensive for you to just purchase a new television.

Some televisions require parts to be replaced from time-to-time. In many rear-projection televisions, the parts that generate brightness & color may begin to fail after a few years of use. Similarly, the part that controls brightness in front-projection televisions also requires periodic replacement. A television repair specialist should be able to easily make either of these repairs for you — although both parts and labor will likely be expensive.

Flat-Panel televisions are expected to lose some brightness as they age. Unfortunately brightness-related problems in many flat-panel televisions cannot easily be repaired. And because of the complexity of these televisions, difficult-to-repair circuit failures are also quite common.

If you own a malfunctioning television of any kind, you should contact the store where you purchased the television and/or the television’s manufacturer to determine your options. Be sure to use any service plan or extended warranty that you may have purchased for your television. You may be entitled to free repair and/or free replacement of your television!

Tip: Televisions and other electronic devices need to be recycled. Otherwise, toxic chemicals are released into the environment. Many cities and counties offer free and/or low-cost recycling services, as do many retailers.