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Seeing a black shadow on your Samsung TV seems to be increasingly common after two or three years of ownership.
Usually this happens right after it goes out of warranty, and this means that most people just get rid of their broken TV and buy an expensive new model.
But it is actually pretty easy to fix a Samsung TV with dark shadow on one side, provided you are happy to put in a little effort.
In this guide, I’ll cover every possible fix for a Samsung TV shadow on screen, and I’m very confident that you can use this to get your TV back up and running again.
Samsung TV Dark Shadow: Fix
Fix a black shadow on a Samsung TV by replacing any failed LED backlights or re-soldering any faulty connections between LED strips.
Whether you have a dark vertical shadow on your Samsung TV or a dark strip on one side, it’s almost always caused by backlight problems.
But because there can be a few other causes of a dark shadow on the left side or right side of your Samsung TV, I’ll start with the simpler fixes so that you don’t have to do the more complex steps if they’re not needed.
1. Cold Boot Your Samsung TV
With modern electronics, it’s possible that the shadow on screen on your Samsung TV is caused by something stuck in your TV’s flash memory, which can also be a problem if you are seeing white spots on your TV.
Power cycling or cold booting your TV will clear out any issues with non-permanent memory and reset your main board without losing your personal settings.
This is quick and painless and won’t cause you to lose any of your saved settings.
- Switch off and unplug your TV.
- Hold down the physical power button on the TV for at least 15 seconds.
- Wait for at least 30 minutes for any residual power to drain from the TV’s capacitors (which are capable of storing charge for several minutes).
- Plug your TV back in and try switching it on. You should see a red light if you have been successful.
Make sure you do wait for the full 30 minutes before plugging your TV back in – you would be surpised how long the components within your TV can hold charge, and you want to make sure it has fully reset.
Although this seems a very basic step, don’t overlook it because in the vast majority of cases a simple soft reset fixes most issues.
Most people will now have their TV fixed and back up and running. If this isn’t you, then we’ve got a few more basic fixes to try before getting into the hardware fixes.
2. Update Your Samsung TV’s Firmware
Software and firmware issues have been known to cause problems with the display on Samsung TVs.
As with any product, you should ensure that you have updated your TV’s firmware to the latest version, even if it is new.
Smart Samsung TVs support auto-updating of firmware, but you can’t assume that this is turned on for you.
To check that auto-updating is on for firmware / software on your Samsung TV over Wifi:
- Press the Menu or Home button on your remote and go to Settings.
- Click Support.
- Then Software Update.
- Agree to any terms and conditions that may popup, then switch on Auto Update.
For older Samsung TVs, you’ll need to update the firmware by USB. To do this:
- Press the Menu or Home button on your remote and go to Settings.
- Go to Support.
- Then Contact Samsung or About This TV.
- Take note of the Model Code and Software Version currently installed.
- Go to Samsung’s Support site and enter your model number.
- Select Manuals & Downloads and look for the newest firmware version.
- If this Firmware Version is later than the version you noted was installed on your TV, then download it, along with the Firmware Update User Manual which will give you full instructions on how to install your update.
3. Check Your External Connections
There’s a strong possibility that a poorly seated cable is creating signal noise which is displaying as a dark vertical shadow or dark strip on screen.
This comes down to either a:
- Faulty HDMI cable with a break in it
- Damaged HDMI port with broken pins
- Poor HDMI connection where the cable and connector are not fully making contact
To check your HDMI and other cables:
- Switch off your TV.
- Remove any HDMI or other physical cables connected to the back of your TV.
- If you have any compressed air, use that to clean the contacts both of the cable and in the connector on the TV. If you don’t have compressed air, then blow gently on them.
- Firmly push the cables back into their slots on the TV.
- Switch your TV back on again.
It that hasn’t fixed the problem, then try using a different HDMI input. Most TVs have 3 or 4 HDMI ports.
If you have one that is on a different part of the TV then that would be the best one to try, as it this should have a separate connection to the TV’s main board.
Plug you HDMI cable into the new port, note the number next to it, then choose this HDMI input on your TV, by using the Input or Source button on your TV remote or the Input or Menu button on your TV itself.
Most Samsung TVs come with the option to run an HDMI self test, which can check that HDMI cables are working properly. Note that this only works on cables less than 2m long.
For TVs made before 2021, set your TV’s source to the HDMI channel you want to test, then go to Settings -> Support -> Self diagnosis -> Signal information -> HDMI cable test -> Start test.
For TVs made after 2021, go to Settings -> Device care -> Self diagnosis -> HDMI troubleshooting and choose the HDMI connection you want to test.
You can also try removing all external devices, including those connected by Bluetooth and any coaxial or signal cables, so that the TV only has a power cable going into it.
When you turn your TV on, this means the screen will be totally black as it is not receiving any picture, potentially making it tough to see any shadows on screen.
Pull up the on-screen menu to see if the dark shadow is still on one side. If it is, this means that your external connections are fine and the problem is located within the hardware of your TV.
If the dark shadow has gone, then try re-seating your HDMI and other cables one by one, until you find the damaged cable that needs replacing.
4. Check Your Wall Socket
When your TV isn’t working properly, you naturally jump to thinking that there must be a fault within your TV itself.
Actually, the fault is often within your household power supply, or more specifically within the surge protector or smart plug that your TV is plugged into.
So, you need to confirm that your wall socket is supplying enough power, and there is no interruption of supply during use.
There’s a few methods that you can use:
- Unplug your Samsung TV from your wall socket.
- Remove any surge interruptors or smart plugs so that you have a direct line to your wall socket.
- Plug another large device that you know works into the same socket and check that the new device works as normal. (It’s important that this device draws approximately as much power as your TV, to confirm the socket is fully working).
- Remove the other device and plug your TV back into this socket.
- Switch on the power and switch on your TV using the physical power button located somewhere on its case (usually beneath the Samsung logo).
- See if the power light is solid. If so, this means your TV is getting sufficient voltage.
- If your Samsung TV’s red light is flashing 5, 6, 10 times or more, then repeat these steps with another wall socket to confirm your household electricity supply isn’t a problem.
Also make sure to look at your power cord, checking there are no knots or kinks that could have damaged the internal copper wires and that could be affecting electricity transmission.
5. Run a Picture Test and Adjust Backlight Brightness
Most Samsung TVs have an option to change the brightness or other aspects of the picture, but first try running a picture test to check if the dark shadow is software related.
For TVs made before 2021, go to Settings -> Support -> Self Diagnosis -> Picture Test.
For TVs made after 2021, go to Settings -> Device Care -> Self Diagnosis -> Picture Test and follow the on-screen instructions.
If this hasn’t helped, then using your remote control, navigate to the Home screen, then Settings and go to the Picture menu.
You can try the various picture modes to see if they fix the shadow, and if not, then go to Expert Settings.
This allows you to change the color space of your TV and hopefully will let you change it enough to totally remove any dark lines on your TV.
You can use the Color and Tint options, and you can also try changing the Gamma and White Balance, and hopefully you will be able to get a decent picture without any shadows or dark patches.
6. Samsung TV Factory Reset
Returning your TV back to its factory settings is a more extreme step, as it will delete any personalization features, downloaded apps or connected devices, but it’s always worth a shot when other methods haven’t worked.
To factory reset a Samsung Smart TV:
- Press the Menu or Home button on your remote and go to Settings.
- Then General & Privacy.
- And Reset.
- Enter your PIN, which by default is 0000 (four zeroes) for Samsung.
- Then select one final Reset in the popup.
Samsung have provided a video of these steps in the video below.
If your Samsung remote is not working, then you can get to the same menu items by using the physical Menu button that is most likely underneath your Samsung TV’s logo, next to the Power button.
Press this and use the Volume + and – or Channel + and – depending on model to follow the steps above.
That should remove most dark shadows on one side of the screen without you having to delve into hardware problems, but just in case you still have a problem then this will be caused by the backlights, which we will look at next.
7. Samsung TV Dark Shadow on One Side
If you are seeing dark shadows on screen, or either the top half, bottom half, left side or right side is darker than its counterpart, or your Samsung TV screen is darker than normal, then you have a backlight issue.
Backlights on modern Samsung TVs come in LED strips of varying lengths. Older models used lengths that spanned the entire frame of the TV, but due to cost savings, more recent TVs use a set 16″ LED strip which is connected in series for each row to span your TV.
These cold soldered connectors are a notorious failure point on Samsung TVs, but can be easily fixed if you are willing to re-solder a joint yourself.
Equally commonly, the LED backlights themselves can fail. This is due to repeated current over powering, which over time causes thermal degradation of the LEDs leading to burnout. You can replace any failed LEDs by just removing the entire strip and replacing it.
The problem with fixing the LEDs is that they are located in the most difficult to access part of your TV. So if you are not comfortable with a larger repair job, then now is a good time to seek help from a professional.
You need to remove the back panel, remove all of the circuit boards and connectors, then another layer of screws for the front panel, and only when you have fully removed the LCD panel can you get to the backlights.
You will also need a multimeter to test the backlight strips to find out where the problem lies.
To fix a failed backlight:
- Unplug your TV, hold down the power button and wait for at least 30 minutes. There are large capacitors in the power board for the backlight and these can hold charge for an extended period of time.
- Place your TV face down on a large table or workbench. Make sure there is nothing that can scratch the screen on your work surface.
- Ground yourself.
- Open your TV by unscrewing the screws in the backpanel. It should come apart in two pieces: front and back.
- Put the back panel somewhere out of the way and take a look at the circuit boards that have been revealed.
- You will see a T-Con panel for translating the signal into a TV picture, a power board and a main board. Any wires or ribbons that are near the edge of the TV should be disconnected, and the three boards will also need to be removed.
- Then remove the screws around the edge that hold the bezel of the TV.
- With some care, you should be able to remove the bezel, panel and reveal the TV backlight underneath, which will be in strips of LED lights.
- Use a voltmeter or TV backlight tester to check whether they are working, and replace any failures.
The video below covers checking and replacing the LED backlights, with some additional tips on when you should seek to replace your backlight driver board instead.
It’s also possible that one of the connectors linking the LED strips as they span the width of your TV has failed. This can be fixed by checking the connectors with a multimeter and re-soldering and broken connections. This article has a good study on this.
Samsung TV Support and Warranty
You can check your current warranty status at Samsung’s warranty site.
Unfortunately, warranties typically only last a year unless you have already paid to extend it.
Although you are unlikely to see a dark shadow on your screen on a Samsung TV under one year old, this can happen. If so, return your TV under warranty and get it fixed.
You can also try to contact Samsung support directly to see if they can offer any help.
You can use the Samsung support site to help diagnose your problem, but if you are at this stage, then you are better off calling them direct on:
- 1-800-SAMSUNG (726-7864)
They are in office 7am – 12am EST, 7 days a week, but their automated chatbot is available on their site 24/7.
Even if Samsung won’t fix your TV, they might still offer you a discount off a future model if you pester them hard enough! Always worth a try!
Black Shadow on Samsung TV: How to Fix
There are a few possible causes of a black shadow on your Samsung TV, and these can be fixed by following the steps below.
- Cold boot your Samsung TV.
- Update your firmware.
- Run an HDMI test.
- Confirm your wall socket is supplying consistent power.
- Run a picture test and change your backlight settings.
- Factory reset your TV.
- Replace any burned out LEDs in the backlight, and re-solder any poor connections in the backlight strips.
If you still are having problems with your TV, then try Samsung support, but otherwise you will be looking at a new TV.
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