Troubleshooting Distorted Picture Problems
Distorted picture problems include a misshapen picture, no color, wrong color, color separation, or bars or interference in the picture.
Black box in the middle of the picture:
This happens when the Closed Captioning is set to Text. Turn off the closed Captioning or select some other mode. Sometimes there is a button on the remote control with an icon on it that looks like two letter C’s in a box that does this. If not, you have to go into the TV’s menu and look in the Settings or Audio menu to figure out how to change the Closed Captioning settings.
Bowed picture; red, green, and blue images not lined up:
Usually, this occurs on CRT projection TV's, and occasionally on CRT direct-view TV's. It is caused by a failure of the convergence circuit, usually one or more bad convergence IC's. Frequently, a few soldered-in fuses and resistors will also be bad. If you can solder, you may be able to replace these yourself. If not, a technician can easily repair this sort of problem in-home. Some touch-up of the convergence alignment will also be needed.
Horizontal bars rising slowly through the picture:
Dark, light, or colored bars can be seen rising slowly through the picture, disappearing, and then reappearing at the bottom of the picture. Known as "hum bars" or "common-mode noise," these result from AC power line hum coming in on the interconnecting cables' ground connections. This seems to be common when using some cable company set-top boxes with component or composite video cables. The best solution is to use DVI or HDMI cables, if your TV and set top box will accept them. If not, ask your cable company for a box that does work with your TV. Sometimes, you can also minimize this problem by using heavier video cables, or by playing with the ground connections.
White or black spots in the picture:
On DLP televisions, some of the "mirrors" that create the individual pixels can get stuck in either the "on" or "off" position. These create either white or black spots in the picture. Once they start to appear, the spots will continue to multiply until the picture looks like a picture of the Milky Way, viewed edge-on. The Texas Instruments Dark Chip 4 DMD device is particularly prone to this problem, and it was used in Mitsubishi, Samsung, and Toshiba sets.
Mitsubishi is currently supplying an improved replacement part to their customers at no charge. Call them at 800-888-8245 and press 2 to arrange for the part to be sent to an authorized service center near you. If you live in these Zip Codes and want us to do the repair, you will need to specifically request us so you don't get assigned to some [other] bozos. You will only need to pay the in-home repair labor at a reduced rate of $200. If you own a Samsung or Toshiba set with this problem, the scene is not so rosy. These companies usually decline any warranty accommodation on their TV's. I would still suggest calling them to see what you can work out.
Wrong color or no color:
Component video inputs: Make sure your cables are connected correctly at both ends according to the green/blue/red color code. If you still have problems, try a different set of cables. Component video color is carried on three separate cables. If your blue cable is bad, the picture will be yellowish or greenish. A bad red cable will cause a bluish-green picture, while bad blue and red cables will give a black and white picture. A bad green cable will cause no picture at all.
By the way, if you have a bluish-green picture with a buzz in the sound, your red audio cable and red video cable have been reversed.
HDMI inputs: HDMI receiver circuits in the TV can also cause color problems. Unfortunately, this will require repair by a technician. We've never seen a bad HDMI cable cause this problem, but you should definitely try another cable and another source device (DVD, BluRay, etc.) before calling for service on your TV. See HDMI Troubleshooting for more help.