Vizio TV Flickering? Fix in Minutes

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There’s nothing worse than when your Vizio TV screen is flickering, or your Vizio TV flashes on and off, and whatever you do doesn’t seem to fix it.

I’ve had plenty of experience of broken TVs and have always been able to find a way to get them back up and running – that’s why my family always call me whenever their tech breaks down!

Although it might seem impossible to fix, your Vizio TV flickering on and off actually does have a number of really good fixes that have been proven to work, and which if you follow carefully will stop your Vizio screen flickering, and mean you don’t have to splash out on an expensive new TV.


vizio tv flickering
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What Causes Vizio TV Flickering?

A Vizio TV will flicker because of either a loose input cable, incorrect display settings or a failing backlight. To fix the flickering, unplug your TV from the wall for at least 30 minutes, hold down the TV’s power button for 15 seconds to drain residual power then plug back in.

If this doesn’t immediately fix it, or if you are seeing Vizio TV flickering horizontal lines, then first check out my guide on fixing horizontal lines on your TV, or my guide to fixing vertical lines on your Vizio screen.

But if your Vizio TV flashes on and off, is flickering in one spot, or is otherwise showing a flashing screen, then you can follow the steps below to get your TV back in full working order.


1. Power Cycle Your TV

Although this might seem a basic step, power cycling your TV is often the best way to fix a flashing screen on your Vizio TV.

With modern electronics, it’s possible that the flickering on your Vizio TV is caused by something stuck in your TV’s flash memory or with a gremlin in the electronics that simply switching your TV on and off won’t resolve.

Power cycling your TV will clear out any issues with non-permanent memory without losing your personal settings.

  1. Unplug your TV.
  2. Hold down the physical power button on your TV for at least 15 seconds to drain any residual power from the capacitors.
  3. Leave your TV unplugged for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Plug it back in and switch back on.

nb. Make sure that you hold down the physical power button on your TV, not the one on the remote.

vizio tv power button

2. Check Your Picture Settings

Picture settings are a very common cause of flickering in Vizio TVs.

First, try to reset your picture settings. With Vizio TVs, you don’t need to perform a full factory reset to do this, but can selectively return the picture settings back to factory settings.

  1. Press Menu on your remote.
  2. Go to Picture -> More -> Reset Picture Mode on the on-screen menu.

You can also manually change the Brightness, Contrast and other backlight settings to see if they have any affect on the flickering.

Reducing brightness can often help if your screen is flashing on and off. If this does stop the flickering, then you likely have a backlight or voltage inverter that is about to fail, which you can learn more about below.

The Ambient Light Sensor can be a cause of flickering in some limited circumstances, so try switching that off to see if it helps.

For gamers, Vizio Active Full Array flickering can be a major problem with Vizio TVs. If your TV has this setting, then switching it off will eliminate the flickering, but you can also remove the flickering by going to Menu on your remote, then Picture -> More Picture-> Clear Action and switching this option off.

Clear Action is on by default when your Vizio TV is in gaming mode, but can conflict with Xboxes, resulting in flicker. Switching it off will fix this.


3. Reseat and Replace HDMI and Other Cables

There’s a strong possibility that a poorly seated HDMI cable is creating signal noise which is displaying as flickering on screen.

  1. Switch off your TV.
  2. Remove any HDMI or other physical cables connected to the back of your TV.
  3. 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.
  4. Firmly push the cables back into their slots on the TV.
  5. Switch your TV back on again.
hdmi cable in tv

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 black as it is not receiving any picture, potentially making it tough to see any evidence of flickering.

Pull up the on-screen menu to see if the flickering is still there. If it is, this means that your external connections are fine and the problem is located within the TV.

If the flickering has gone, then try re-seating your HDMI and other cables one by one, until you find the damaged cable that needs replacing.


4. Update Firmware

Software and firmware issues have been known to cause problems with the display on Vizio 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.

Most Vizio TVs support auto-updating of firmware, but you can’t assume that this is turned on for you, unless you are using a Smart Vizio TV, where auto-updates are always on.

It’s important to note that automatic firmware updates will only run when your TV is turned off but still plugged in. If you leave your TV switched on, it will not update the firmware.

For older Vizio TVs, you can update firmware by:

  1. Press Menu on your remote.
  2. Go to Admin & Privacy or System, depending on your model.
  3. Click Check for Updates.
  4. If updates have been successfully applied, your TV will restart 2 times.
vizio tv firmware update
Vizio TV firmware update screen

If you are using a Smart Vizio TV, then there is no option to manually update firmware – this is done automatically as long as your TV has an Internet connection.

Note that for modern Vizio TVs that use a local dimming array for their backlight, some users have reported flickering and other strange behavior after updating the firmware.

This is caused by changes to the tolerances in the local array, and can be fixed by manually changing your backlight / gamma / brightness / contrast settings, and any other relevant picture settings.


5. Factory Reset Your Vizio TV

Returning your TV back to its factory settings is a more extreme step, as it will delete any personalization features or connected devices, but it’s always worth a shot when other methods haven’t worked.

To factory reset a Vizio Smart TV:

  1. Turn the TV on.
  2. Hold down the Volume Down and Input buttons on the side of the TV simultaneously.
  3. After a few seconds, a message will pop up on screen telling you how to reset your TV. You can release the two buttons you are holding.
  4. You will usually then hold the Input button for 10 seconds for a factory reset.
  5. Another message will pop up on screen about the reset.
  6. Your TV will re-boot and return to the original setup screen.
vizio tv factory reset

For older Vizio TVs, you can perform a factory reset by using the remote to go to:

  • Menu -> On screen display go to Admin & Privacy or System -> Reset to Factory Settings

6. Check Your Warranty

All of the above steps can easily be done by anyone. If they have not fixed the flickering on your TV, then there is almost certainly something more serious wrong with it – either a backlight or TV panel failure.

Diagnosing and treating these problems are more involved that the steps above and will invalidate your warranty.

If you bought your Vizio TV in the last year, then I would strongly recommend contacting Vizio Support and getting them to fix your TV under warranty.

If not, then you will need a screwdriver, a multimeter and a good attitude for the next step!


7. Check T-Con / Main Board / Power Board for Failure

The Timing Control (T-Con) board is a small PCB board that drives your TV’s panel, sending the signal to each pixel row of your screen using internal clocks to keep each row in sync.

tv t con board

The Main Board is a larger PCB where you plug your HDMI and other connectors into. This does a lot of the work of translating the input into signal, which then goes to the T-Con board.

tv main board

The Power Board is where you plug in your power cable, and which converts your home electricity supply into a voltage and current that your TV can use.

tv power board

TV backlights require a very high voltage (in the thousands of volts), and so there will be a small voltage inverter board in your TV to do this. It can either be on a separate board usually located at one edge of the screen, or located on either the Power Board or Main Board depending on TV model.

These boards are hidden away under the back panel, behind the screen, and any can be the cause of flickering in your LCD / OLED TV.

Either the cable connectors themselves can come loose or get covered in grime or dust, preventing a clean contact, or components on the boards can fail, meaning they don’t power the backlight sufficiently or cannot provide a constant picture signal.

To access the boards, first remove the back panel. If you’re not confident doing this, then now is the time to get an expert in. Otherwise:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Ground yourself.
  4. Open your TV by unscrewing the screws in the backpanel. It should come apart in two pieces: front and back.
  5. Put the back panel somewhere out of the way and take a look at the circuit boards that have been revealed.
  6. You will see a T-Con panel for translating the signal into a TV picture, a power board and a main board.

Or see this in action in the video below.

It’s a good idea to start your investigation with the T-Con board, as one or more of the internal clocks failing is a regular cause of TV screen problems.

The position of the boards will vary by model, but the T-Con board can be identified by the ribbon cables connecting it to the TV’s panel.

vizio tv t con ribbon cables

Start by giving everything a good clean, preferably with compressed air or a non-static brush. It’s possible that dust in the connections can block the signal.

Then, you should be able to remove the ribbon-like low voltage differential signaling (LVDS) cables on the T-Con board by pushing the locking cover down and they will then easily come away from the board. Don’t try to force them out without unlocking them first.

removing t con cable
Push the locking bar to remove the T-Con ribbon cables

After removing the LVDS cable, take a look at the individual connectors on the ends of the cables, and the connectors in the socket. You are looking for any signs of corrosion, damage or dust.

The contacts should be a shiny gold or silver color. If they are dull and appear to have a rough, copper-like layer over them, this would indicate oxidation and therefore a new cable is recommended.

t con cable
A T-Con LVDS cable in good condition

Get your TV back into an upright position, and with the LVDS cable connecting the T-Con to the Main Board disconnected, switch your TV back on and see if the flickering is gone.

If your TV is no longer flickering, then you know the problem is either with your T-Con or Main Boards.

Both T-Con and Main Boards can be replaced for around $30 from eBay.

To get the correct board, note the T-Con / Main Board model number written on the label on the board, and put this into eBay.

If the flickering is still there, then both these boards are likely fine and don’t need replacing.

This means the problem is most likely in the backlight or the voltage inverter powering it.


8. Diagnose Backlight Problems

If your Vizio TV is flickering in one spot only, then this is a sign of a backlight problem.

As most modern Vizio TVs have the backlight voltage inverter on the Power Board, you can use a multimeter to confirm that it is powering your backlight, although in my experience, voltage inverter problems show as an entirely darkened screen, unlike a half dark screen or a flickering screen.

So I wouldn’t spend too much time on the voltage inverter, but instead look at the backlight itself.

Backlights on modern Vizio 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 Vizio 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.

tv led lights
Replacement LED backlight strips

To fix a failed backlight:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Ground yourself.
  4. Open your TV by unscrewing the screws in the backpanel. It should come apart in two pieces: front and back.
  5. Put the back panel somewhere out of the way and take a look at the circuit boards that have been revealed.
  6. 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.
  7. Then remove the screws around the edge that hold the bezel of the TV.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.


9. Get a New TV

If you’ve tested your backlight and it’s working fine, then the most likely explanation left is a panel failure.

You can replace the panel on your TV, but the cost is likely to be the same as a brand new model, particularly if your TV is a few years old.

Therefore, you are probably better off calling it a day and looking for a new TV.


So, How Do You Fix Vizio TV Screen Flickering?

To fix Vizio screen flickering:

  1. Power cycle your TV to reset it.
  2. Check your picture settings, switch off Clear Action and reset your picture modes.
  3. Reseat and replace HDMI and other cables.
  4. Update your TV’s firmware.
  5. Factory reset your TV.
  6. Check the T-Con / Main Board / Power Board for failure.
  7. Diagnose a failed backlight.

If none of these steps have worked, then you are most likely suffering from a panel failure, with replacement un-economical, and a new TV your best option.


Read More:

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Horizontal lines on your Vizio TV? [Fixed]

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Hi, I'm Tim Daniels, photographer and photo trainer, founder of Lapse of the Shutter and creator of the totally free Lightroom Develop System. I've travelled to (probably) 30 countries over the last few years, taking photos and licensing them around the world, and creating lots of free photography learning resources. Read More ...

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