Picture this; you finally have the time to watch that show you’ve been thinking about for the whole week. Everything seems to be according to plan until your Vizio television decides otherwise when you turn it on. The black screen of death, as it is often called, is a phenomenon where the TV screen turns black while watching or when the TV is turned on.
A black screen can be frustrating since it limits the operations you can perform to solve the issue. However, all is not lost as there still are some things you can do to make the TV show pictures again. Keep reading as we delve into what you can do and what causes the black screen of death.
What Causes the Vizio TV Screen to Turn Black?
Several factors can cause the TV screen to malfunction. Some of them include incorrect display input, loose or damaged cables and ports, or a software glitch.
You should note that Vizio TVs are budget-friendly because of the shortcuts taken by manufacturers to ensure the price of production remains as low as possible. Hence, some components tend to wear out a few years after purchase. Therefore, when getting a Vizio TV, know that the cheaper it is, the more likely it is to have issues.
The TV’s settings, e.g., Sleep timer settings, can also result in the occasional black screen. Other times it could be a software bug that can be solved by a reboot or factory reset of the TV. Below are some things you can do to resume normal watching if the TV has a blacked-out screen.
1. Ensure the TV is on
Before trying any fancy suggestions, ensuring the TV is indeed ON is essential. This will help prevent any unnecessary adjustments that might result in further functionality problems for the TV.
Ensure the power outlet is switched on, and the power goes into the surge protector and then to the TV. You can do this by observing if any lights on the surge protector are on.
You can also observe if the TV’s power indicator is on. It is usually situated on the bottom panel of the television.
Alternatively, plug another device into the same outlet and observe if it receives power. If there is power going to the TV, then proceed to other suggestions. You can also press the Menu key on the remote and observe if the Menu option pops up on the screen.
If there is no indication of power going to the TV, turn it off, unplug it and try turning it back on.
2. Check All the Cables and Ports
The next thing is to ensure that all the cables going to the TV are in good condition. Observe any power cables related to the TV and check for any damage.
Cables are easy to overlook, considering they usually last for years without any significant damage that can affect their functioning.
Ensure all cables are going to their appropriate ports and that the cables are firmly fitted to the ports they should be connecting to.
Also, check that the ports on the TV are clean and in good condition. If you see anything lodged in the port, you can use a very soft brush, a blow drier, or even a compressed air can.
If you press the Menu button and the menu appears on the screen, you could be on the wrong input source. Check that the video input source matches the port on the TV the cable is going into; if the cables are connected to HDMI 1, the TV input source should be HDMI 1.
Source – VIZIO P-Series Quantum User Manual
You can know what port you are using by looking at the writings on each port indicating its type.
If you suspect a particular cable to be the issue, replace it with a new one, then check if the screen displays images. You can also switch inputs to determine if a particular port is a problem.
3. Conduct the Flashlight Test
Sometimes the TV’s backlights could be the issue. In such instances, the TV is still showing pictures, but there is no backlight to illuminate the images to make them visible.
So, if there is no indication in the power light, you can turn on the TV as you normally would and then shine a flashlight on the TV screen.
When doing this, ensure the room is as dark as possible, and the light should be approximately 1 inch or less from the TV screen.
Observe the screen while shining a light on it and check for any dim displays on the screen. If you cannot see any, press the Menu key and observe if anything appears.
Granted, it would be hard to see, but it is not impossible. If you can see anything on the screen, that means the screen’s backlights are damaged and need a replacement.
How to Conduct the Flashlight Test on Your VIZIO TV
A power surge may have damaged the lights, or they could just be worn out.
Experienced users could change the light by themselves, but it is not advised because there’s a risk of an electric shock from residual power still in the TV circuits. You also risk voiding your warranty.
The best option is to contact Vizio and schedule a visit by their technician. The next best option is to call a technician with more experience to change the lights.
On the bright side, the lights are fairly cheap and easily available in most online and physical electronic stores.
The problem could be with the power cable or an internal TV component if the flashlight test does not reveal anything on the screen.
How to Replace LED Backlights on a VIZIO TV
4. Restart the TV
Consider restarting/power cycling the TV to give it a chance to fix any software bugs that could be causing the problem.
Since the screen is not showing any pictures, you will be unable to use the soft power cycle feature on newer Vizio TV models.
Instead, unplug the TV from the power outlet and press and hold the power button on the TV for at least 5 seconds.
Then, power the TV on and check if it displays any pictures.
Alternatively, press and hold the power key for five seconds while the TV is on to restart or reset it, depending on the model. Be patient to allow enough time for the television to restart properly.
Also, remember to disconnect all other unnecessary components connected to the TV while trying this suggestion.
If there are no visible changes on the screen after five to ten minutes, proceed to the other troubleshooting procedures discussed here.
5. Use the Mute Button
Some Vizio televisions have a mute screen feature that allows the screen to sleep as the TV plays sound. The feature is usually active when streaming only audio through services like Pandora and Spotify.
You can activate and deactivate the feature by pressing and holding the Mute key for at least five seconds.
If there is sound from the TV, but you cannot see images press and hold the mute button for five seconds to exit the muted screen.
You can also permanently disable the feature by navigating; Menu > System > Timers > Blank Screen.
6. Factory Reset the TV
Fortunately, you can reset Vizio TVs without viewing the screen. A reset will help sort out any software bugs affecting the display.
To factory reset a Vizio TV:
- Simultaneously press the Volume Down and the Input button on the TV for ten seconds.
- Next, press and hold the Input button for ten seconds.
- Wait as the TV resets and restarts.
How to Reset a VIZIO TV Manually
Some Vizio TVs can be reset by pressing and holding the power button for five seconds.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question: How do I prevent my Vizio screen from going black?
Answer: You cannot completely stop the screen from going black, but you can reduce the chances of it happening.
The first thing is to ensure the TV is protected against power surges. You can achieve that by using a surge protector and avoiding connecting the TV directly to a power outlet.
You should also use quality cables and avoid cable extensions that can hinder signal transfer from the source to the TV.
Additionally, ensure the screen brightness is at 70% to 75% to reduce the chances of wear of the TV’s backlight.
Also, always switch off the TV if it is not in use.
Question: Why does my Vizio TV randomly go black?
Answer: On top of the reasons discussed earlier, the TV can also go black if you have a sleep timer set.
You can alter these settings by navigating; Menu > System > Timers > Sleep Timer.
You can then deactivate the timer or set it to switch off the TV after 30,60,90,120, and 180 minutes.
Some models also have an Auto Power Off feature that turns off the TV if there are no incoming video and audio signals.
You can activate or deactivate the feature by navigating; Menu > System > Timers > Auto Power Off.
Question: What is the black screen of death on TV?
Answer: The Black Screen of Death is when the TV screen goes black and becomes unresponsive.
It can be caused by various factors, including software and hardware issues. The phenomenon is hard to diagnose since it limits the ways to interact with the TV settings.
Question: How do you fix a TV that turns on but has no picture?
Answer: The most common way is to restart the TV by unplugging it from the power outlet.
Then wait for a minute before powering it back on.
If all other solutions fail, you might have to replace the screen or purchase a new TV.
The procedures above will help you narrow down the real cause of the black screen on your Vizio TV. Solving such issues can be frustrating but do not resort to changing any of the TV’s internal components by yourself. Opening up the TV, even if it is powered off, can expose you to an electric shock that could end up being fatal.
Suppose the solutions do not work, contact Vizio’s customer support or call a credible technician. Another option is to purchase a new TV and sell the older one for parts that are still working.