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.
No picture, frozen picture, or picture stuck on blue "Welcome" screen (Mitsubishi only):
2009 Mitsubishi models may have a software problem that can cause a whole raft of weird symptoms, including but not limited to: No picture, frozen picture, picture stuck on the blue "Welcome" screen, no audio, noisy audio, no power, will not boot, will not turn off, turns off intermittently, or locked-up controls. This can often be corrected by upgrading the software with new version v11.03 from Mitsubishi's website at http://mitsubishi-tv.com/support/documents/. Enter your model number (with a hyphen after 'WD') and download:
- Software Upgrade 11.03 and
- Instructions for Software Upgrade
Follow the instructions and see if it corrects your problem.
April 2015 Update: Mitsubishi is cutting back on warranty accommodations for some of the DLP models over 7 years old, based on the date of manufacture shown on the model/serial number tag on the back of the set. So far, only the models shown in the table below in red may not be covered. The models shown in black are still covered. If your TV is one of the red models, Mitsubishi may require a purchase receipt showing the set was purchased less than 7 years ago. It's not clear how they will handle gifts received within 7 years. If they will not help you, we can still do the DMD repair at a reduced price of $350 total, or $330 after cash discount, for customers in our service area.
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 dots in the picture. Once they start to appear, the spots will continue to multiply until the screen looks like a picture of the Milky Way. The Texas Instruments Dark Chip 3 DMD device is particularly prone to this problem, and it was used in Mitsubishi, Samsung, and Toshiba TV's from 2007 through 2010.
Mitsubishi is currently supplying an improved replacement part to their customers for free. We have installed hundreds of these improved parts since January, 2011, and none of them has ever failed. We recommend replacing this part soon. Most of them will eventually fail, and Mitsubishi will not provide this accommodation forever. The affected models are shown below:
Call Mitsubishi at either 800-888-8245 or 800-332-2119 and press 2 to arrange for the part to be sent to an authorized service center near you. When you do, they will ask for the following information:
- If the problem occurs on all sources (cable, DVD, VCR, games, etc.).
- Your name, your phone number, and the address where the set will be repaired.
- The model and serial numbers, both found on a small white paper tag on the rear of the set.
- The approximate date you purchased the set. Your recollection that it was "just before Super Bowl 2008" or "Christmas of 2009" will be sufficient.
- The name of the store where the set was purchased.
- Whether the set has been repaired before.
- Whether it is covered by an extended warranty. If so, you should contact the extended warranty administrator for a free repair.
- Your e-mail address, which is optional.
If you live in one of the Zip Codes we serve 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, and we offer a 10% discount for cash. This is less than it would cost you to buy the part from Mitsubishi to replace it yourself.
Do-it-yourselfers are advised to buy the original part, #276P595010 at $225.00, directly from Mitsubishi. Parts advertised on the internet for lower prices may be used parts or "NOS" (New Old Stock). Either way, these are old parts that will fail again like the original did. Also, be sure to clean off the dust that has collected inside the cabinet, on the outside of the light engine, inside the light engine cover, on both sides of all 3 fans, and on the DMD heatsink. If not, you will end up with either large blurry spots or multiple stripes in the picture. The YouTube videos seem to leave this step out...
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.