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TV Screen Is Black But Still Has Sound: Causes & Solutions

When your TV screen goes black, but you can still hear a sound, it’s can be a bit confusing. While it excludes the possibility that your TV is a goner, it’s also far from fully functional. So what makes your TV screen go black, and how can you fix it?

Your TV may go black due to poor connections or hardware problems like a faulty backlight or a damaged panel. Sleep mode or outdated firmware can also cause the issue. To fix it, check the connections and try to restart it. Serious hardware problems may require professional repair.

Your TV screen going black can point to lots of technical glitches. Luckily, you don’t need to be an electronics guru or an IT pro to figure out most of the fixes we’ll discuss. Let’s get to the bottom of this issue so that you can get back to your favorite TV show or movie.

What Does It Mean if Your TV Has Sound But no Picture?

A women hand hold the remote control of the TV box in the living room

Since you can still hear a sound, we at least know the audio isn’t the problem. But there are a handful of things that could affect the screen and the lack of an image.

These are the most reported causes of the TV black screen issue when you can still hear sound: 

Loose or Damaged Cables

Provided your TV is getting a signal from an external source like your DVD player, AVR, or cable box, one common reason it might not be showing a picture is a poor connection to the source. The cables could be damaged or loose, for example.

Wrong Input and Picture Settings

If you, or anyone else, assigned the wrong source device while configuring the TV, it won’t show video.

Moreover, the TV brightness and other picture settings could have been tampered with and may need adjustment. You can quickly get around this by navigating to the image section of the Settings menu and tweaking a couple of things.

Obviously, if you can’t get the panel to work, you won’t be able to check this, but it’s worth noting that picture settings may make the panel look extremely dark, so turn off all the lights and make sure the panel really is OFF and not just displaying content very dimly, or on top of a failed LED backlight.

Sleep Mode Is On

Setting a sleep timer on your TV means it will inevitably switch off at some pre-determined time. With some TV brands, the screen goes black if Power Saving mode is activated. 

Some parental control settings will also make your screen go black and become unresponsive. The good thing is that you can clear the sleep timer and power-saving mode settings from your TV’s setup menu.

You can’t access them if the panel doesn’t work, but if you set the sleep settings and think this might be the problem, you can wait until outside the sleep timer window you set to try making the TV function again.

Lost Signal

Your TV may not display pictures due to a signal problem. The best way to troubleshoot this is to switch to another channel. 

If other channels are working perfectly, you shouldn’t worry because it simply means the one you were previously watching is temporarily down. You might want to contact your cable service provider just to be sure.

Faulty Backlight System

TVs with an LCD panel use a backlight system to illuminate the screen so that you can see pictures clearly. As it turns out, any technical malfunctions in the backlight mean you won’t be able to see a thing on your screen.

But that’s not a show stopper. A qualified technician will quickly diagnose the problem and advise if you need a new backlight system installed.

Obsolete Firmware

On some smart TVs, you’ll run into the black screen issue if the firmware is outdated. Luckily, doing a firmware update manually isn’t complicated, and you don’t have to pay anyone to do it. More on that below.

Damaged Screen

A damaged screen will cause your TV to produce sound even when it doesn’t display a picture. Technicians usually report that the most common reasons for damaged screens are power surges and mechanical impact when the TV falls. 

Usually, physical damage to your TV screen can occur during factory packaging or shipping. 

Other hardware problems that directly affect the screen can also occur. For example, if a component on the power distribution board is fried, your screen will likely go black. That’s almost always the case when components like capacitors get blown out.

Additionally, a hitch in the T-Con (timing controller) board can make your screen go black. That’s because the T-Con processes oncoming video signals and controls how images get displayed on the screen.

What to Do When Your TV Turns On But The Screen Is Black

Male hand with tv remote control and blurred television with a black screen

Here are seven practical ways to fix your TV if the screen is black, but it still has sound:

Connect Your Cables Properly

Disconnect all the cables going to your TV from various sources. Take note of where each one should go, so you don’t make a mistake when hooking them up again.

This goes for HDMI, optical, and coaxial cables. HDMI cables are particularly notorious for causing black screen errors, especially when they’re faulty or plugged in incorrectly.

You can try plugging the HDMI cable into a different slot to see if it works. You can also test it on another device. If it’s the main culprit, just replace it with a high-quality HDMI cable (on Amazon), and your TV should display pictures normally.

And if you’re using HDMI ARC, ensure it goes into the corresponding HDMI ARC ports because the cable doesn’t work with regular HDMI.

Reconnect all other cables properly, securing them tightly. You should also check that they have no obvious signs of damage, such as tears, knots, and loose connectors. 

Inspect the External Devices Connected to Your TV

Press the Menu button on your remote to highlight the sources connected to your TV, like a cable box, SAT Box, DVD player, Roku, AVR, etc.

If your sources appear on the input menu, you’re good to go. However, if that’s not the case, it’s a good time to inspect the sources and see whether they’re functioning properly. 

Doing a soft reset on your source device often clears temporary faults that could be causing the black screen issue. 

You can also try connecting the source device to another TV if you have more than one. If it works on a different TV, then it’s likely the problematic TV has a more complicated issue.

Configure Your Input Settings

Your TV might display a black screen if you apply incorrect input settings. Using a sophisticated device like an AVR makes it easy to assign the wrong inputs during setup. 

Power on the TV together with the other devices connected to it. Next, press the ‘Source‘ button on your remote and go to the input setup menu.

Assign the inputs you’re using to the corresponding devices you’re using. For example, if you’ve connected a receiver to the TV via a standard HDMI port, you can assign Video to HDMI 1. Your TV now knows video is coming from that HDMI port.

Disable the Sleep Mode

If the Sleep Mode is active on your TV, the screen will go off after a few minutes of inactivity or during certain preset hours. Usually, this is accompanied by no sound. 

However, if you’ve connected another device using the TV as a monitor, like your PC or gaming console, the screen may go black, but you’ll still hear sound.

Here’s how to turn off the sleep timer on your smart TV:

  1. Press the Menu button on your TV remote.
  2. On your screen, navigate to ‘System’ and choose ‘Time.’
  3. Select ‘Sleep Timer’ and toggle it off.

The steps might vary slightly. With some TVs, you have to navigate to Settings, select ‘Energy Saving Mode,’ and turn it off.

Do a Factory Reset

Doing a factory reset will clear all settings and software errors that might be causing the black screen error. It also clears your data, including channel preferences and WiFi passwords. So be sure to have a backup of any important details.

Note that you can only do this if your TV intermittently runs into the black screen issue since you can only reset it when the screen is not black.

If you’re using a Samsung smart TV, here’s how to reset it:

  1. Press the Menu button on the remote.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ on the main menu.
  3. Go to ‘Support’ and choose ‘Self Diagnosis.’
  4. Select ‘Reset’ on the Self Diagnosis page.
  5. Enter your PIN. If you’ve never changed the PIN, use the default PIN 0000.

Your TV will undergo a reset process and will reboot once it’s done. Set it up by following the on-screen instructions.

For LG smart TVs, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Settings button on your TV remote.
  2. On your TV screen, scroll down and select the ‘More Options’ icon at the bottom of the menu. In some models, it’s labeled ‘All Settings’ or ‘Advanced Settings.’
  3. Select ‘General’ on the new menu, then scroll down to ‘Reset to Initial Settings.’
  4. Press OK and confirm your choice.

The reset process will continue in the background, and your TV will reboot. You then have to set it up like it’s new. 

These steps may vary slightly depending on your TV brand. However, all you need to do is open the Settings menu, locate the Reset tab, and bring your TV to default settings.

Update Your TV

Upgrading your TV firmware is one sure way to solve the black screen issue because it gets rid of bugs and other software glitches. Here’s how to update your TV:

  1. Press the Menu button.
  2. Go to ‘Options.’
  3. Select ‘Updates’ and let your TV do the automatic installation. It will reboot once this is done, and you shouldn’t see the black screen again.

You can also do the manual firmware update. Just be sure to grab a flash drive with at least 8 GB of storage, like this one from SanDisk (on Amazon).

Go to your TV manufacturer’s website on your computer and download the latest firmware version on the flash drive.

Next, plug the flash drive into one of your TV’s USB ports. The TV automatically detects the device and initiates the built-in script of the file you’ve downloaded.

Seek Professional Technical Help

If all of the above solutions don’t work for you, it could be that the TV has a serious hardware problem, like a damaged backlight system.

At this point, the only option is to take it in for professional servicing. If you have a valid purchase warranty, check if it covers repairs.