How to Fix a Glitchy TV Screen

Troubleshooting common display issues with your TV

A TV is a plug and play device which usually requires no extra setup or configuration to display an image. Nothing is completely free from bugs, issues, or glitches, however. This article will help you learn how to fix a glitchy TV screen.

Causes of Glitchy TV Screen

Flicker and stutter are the most common TV screen issues. Flicker can be caused by issues with your TV, the device it's connected to, if any, and the actual cable connecting your TV to whatever device. Stutter can be caused by internet connection issues, a variety of software problems, and all of the things that cause flicker.

How to Fix a Glitchy TV Screen

A glitchy TV screen is often caused by a problem with the video input cable or the content you're viewing. Follow these steps in order to diagnose and fix the glitch.

  1. Turning a device off and back on again is a great first step for fixing glitchy electronics, and a glitchy TV screen is no different.

    Turn off both your television and any connected input devices, then turn them back on.

  2. Most TV cable connections can be plugged in or removed with a tug on the cord. It's quicker and easier than the old, screw-in RF connectors on CRT tube televisions, but cables can come loose easily.

    Check all video cables, including power cables, connected to your TV and your input devices. Give each cable a firm push inwards to ensure they have a good connection.

    An HDMI connector on the rear of a television.

    mbbirdy / Getty Images

  3. Verify the video cable and its connectors are not damaged.

    Examine the length of the cable for any cuts or gaps in the plastic protecting the wire inside. Examine the connector for dents, bends, or odd discoloration.

    Replace the cable if shows any signs of damage.

    A damaged HDMI port on a dongle.

    Esa Riutta / Getty Images

  4. Check that you have correct, compatible cables connected.

    It's not possible to connect a cable using the wrong standard, as the connectors are physically different and won't fit. However, modern display standards (like HDMI and DisplayPort) have multiple revisions. A cable built to the standards of an older revision may not work with a new device.

    Look for a label printed along the length of the cable's cord or on the connector at each end of the cable. If a label is present, use a search engine to look up the cable type and specifications.

    If no label is present, try using another cable that you know works or, if you don't have one available, purchase a new cable.

    An HDMI cable with gold plated connectors and label visible.

    aquatarkus / Getty Images

  5. Verify the problem is your TV, not the input device.

    Connect your input device to another TV or monitor and attempt to view the same content. Alternatively, try another input device with your TV.

    If the problem persists, then either the input device or the content you are attempting to view is the cause of the glitch.

  6. If streaming content to your TV from an online service, like Netflix or Hulu, check that your Internet connection is reliable.

    Run an Internet speed test on a computer or mobile device connected to the same network as the device you have connected to your TV. Run the test three times and record the results.

    In general, streaming 1080p High-Definition content requires an Internet connection that reliably exceeds 5 megabits per second. Streaming 4K Ultra High-Definition content requires an Internet connection that reliably exceeds 25 megabits per second.

    A screenshot of SpeedTest used to gauge Internet connection speeds.
  7. If watching live TV over cable, satellite, or antenna, the problem might be caused by poor signal strength. There's no simple way to test this at home, but a few simple steps might resolve the problem.

    Examine the cables connected to any hardware installed in your home by your TV service provider. Look for loose connections and secure them as necessary.

    If using an antenna, try moving the antenna to a different location or changing its orientation.

    Satellite service is sensitive to weather including storms, high winds, and heavy rainfall. Wait for the weather to pass to see if your TV glitch persists.

    A satellite TV antenna outside a home.

    Kypros / Getty Images

  8. Verify that your input device and content is operating at a refresh rate and resolution compatible with your television. Most modern televisions display a 60Hz picture and can display a picture between 240p and 4K resolution.

    You may run into issues with older content created for an analog TV standard that your TV does not support. Our guide to the NTSC and PAL standards has the details. You can purchase hardware to convert NTSC to PAL, and vice versa, if this is the source of your issue.

    Modern TVs can have problems with interlaced video. Interlaced video draws only half the lines of an image with each frame but alternates the lines displayed with each frame. Common interlaced video standards included 480i and 1080i.

    Modern televisions use progressive video input and use built-in deinterlacing to handle convert interlaced video to progressive. The results can vary, however, so you may see flicker or video quality issues. You can purchase deinterlacing hardware to fix the problem.

    Hardware video standard converters and deinterlacing boxes can resolve the problems described in this step. They can be difficult to use, however, and some are expensive or hard to find. We recommend purchasing a new, compatible version of the content you want to view, if available.

These steps should help you fix a glitchy TV. If the problem persists, the cause is likely a hardware problem in your TV. Contact your TV's manufacturer for warranty service, if it's still covered, or contact a local TV repair company.

  • How do I fix my TV when the screen goes black?

    A black screen can mean a bunch of different things. If you experience this, you'll have to perform a few tests to see where the problem actually lies. If this happens suddenly and you can't fix it, this likely means there was a hardware failure.

  • How do you fix a TV screen with lines?

    This is a common bug that can be caused by either software or hardware. To figure out what's causing your specific issue, you'll have to take a few troubleshooting steps. These include simple things like restarting the TV, checking connections, doing updates, and more, though none will take much time.

  • How do you fix a flickering TV screen?

    Restart your TV as well as any connected devices. Switch out any display cables with different ones, and make sure your TV as well as any connected devices are up to date. If these simple steps don't work, contact your TV manufacturer's customer support.

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