What Causes Horizontal Lines on TV Screen and How to Fix it

Watching a movie or a game when your TV screen has horizontal lines all over is no fun. Luckily, it can be fixed.

In this article, we’ll explain what causes horizontal lines on TV screen and how you can fix this issue.

What Causes Horizontal Lines on TV Screen?

So what causes horizontal lines on TV screen? There can be a number of things, but usually, if the TV’s display gets damaged, corrupted, or is otherwise defective, horizontal stripes may appear on your screen and ruin your viewing experience.

What Causes Horizontal Lines on TV Screen: Most Common Causes

There are a few potential causes of horizontal lines on your TV screen. This can depend on whether it’s a LED or LCD TV, the manufacturer, or just about any number of factors.

Let’s take a look at the  6 most common causes of horizontal lines showing up on your television screen:

Physical Damage to the Panel

One common reason for horizontal lines appearing on your TV display is physical damage to the panel. 

For example, debris can easily get inside if the panel is damaged and cause different problems, including horizontal lines on your screen.

The LED/LCD panel is connected to the circuit board in a series of connections. Unfortunately, these are very easy to disconnect, and if one does, you’ll get horizontal lines at best and “no signal” at worst.

Loose or Defective Cables

Another common cause for horizontal lines or other interference on your screen can be as simple as a loose or defective cable.

Often, when we move the TV from one room to another or unplug the cable from the back of the TV, we don’t put it back the right way.

Or, you could have somehow damaged the cable without knowing. For instance, you could be vacuuming and accidentally hook the cable, thus damaging it. Or, you could pinch the cable with furniture (it happened to me once) and damage it that way.

Defective T-Con Board

A T-Con board is a small board inside the LCD TV whose function is to generate the horizontal and vertical timing panel signals, provide panel bias and enable signals. 

In other words, this small board converts the video signal that the TV receives into what the panel can interpret and you can see on the screen.

If this gets faulty, for instance, the T-Con board is not secured correctly, it’s likely to cause horizontal lines on your TV screen.

Interference Issues

Due to some interference, you might also experience horizontal lines on your TV screen. 

For example, if you are using a set-top box, you need to make sure that the HDMI cord is correctly plugged in on both sides (in the TV and the set-up box).

External Devices

If you have an external device plugged into the TV, like a game console, you need to make sure that it is connected properly and that its screen resolution and aspect ratio match those of your TV.

Otherwise, this can cause issues, including horizontal lines on your screen.

Outdated Firmware

If you are using an online service such as Netflix or YouTube with your TV, these require that you regularly update your TV’s software to function properly. 

If your firmware is not up-to-date, that can cause issues, including horizontal lines on the TV screen.

How to Fix Horizontal Lines on TV Screen

So can you fix horizontal lines on your TV screen and get rid of them?

Of course, you can, and depending on what the issue is, here’s how you can do it:

Turn the TV Off and On

IT Department meme

This sounds funny, but it’s actually the first thing you should do if your computer, or in this case, TV, is not working properly.

Just turn it off, wait a minute or two, and turn it back on again. Most of the time, this will fix the problem.

Check the Cables

While you have your TV off, you might as well check your cables.

See if they are plugged in correctly into it (you can unplug and plug them back in) and inspect if they are damaged somehow.

If you still see horizontal stripes on the screen, try replacing the cable.

Update Your Firmware

If turning the TV off and on again and unplugging/plugging the cables didn’t work, the issue here may not be physical but in the firmware. 

In other words, your TV firmware might be out-of-date.

Luckily, you don’t need to call the IT department for that, and you can update your TV’s firmware yourself, although the exact steps will differ for different TV models and manufacturers.

For instance, on a Samsung TV, you need to:

  1. Press Home on your TV remote and launch Smart Hub.
  2. Go to Settings on your monitor.
  3. Navigate to Support.
  4. Select Software Update (you should be seeing a warning that your software is outdated and needs an update).
  5. Choose Update Now.
  6. Wait for the update file to download (this may take a minute or two, so don’t do anything with the TV in the meantime).
  7. Install the update file by following the on-screen instructions once the update file is downloaded.
  8. Hopefully, when you turn on the TV next time, the lines will be gone completely.

Do a Factory Reset

Is your TV’s firmware up-to-date, and you are still getting those horrible horizontal stripes on the screen? Then it may not be able to get the right image settings, and one fix for that is to do a factory reset.

Keep in mind that doing this will remove all settings and apps you have downloaded to your TV, so be sure to write down anything important before doing this.

As for resetting the TV, the exact method will differ depending on the TV you have.

On Samsung:

  • Press the Menu button on the remote to open it.
  • Navigate to Support and press Enter on your remote.
  • Select Self Diagnosis.
  • Choose Reset.
  • If prompted, enter the PIN code. Check this article to find your 4-digit code.
  • Confirm the reset.

On LG:

  • Press the Menu button on the TV remote.
  • Open All Settings.
  • Go to General (the icon with the gear and screwdriver).
  • Scroll down until you see Reset to initial settings. Select this.
  • Confirm the reset when the TV asks and enter your password.

Should you get an LG or Samsung TV in 2022? Find out which brand is better.

On Philips:

  • Open the Home Screen on your TV by pressing the home button (image of a house) on the remote.
  • Look for a gearwheel icon at the top-right of the screen to open Settings.
  • In the next menu, find and open General Settings.
  • Navigate to Factory Settings and open it.
  • You’ll see an option to Reset, so choose this.
  • Confirm the reset by selecting OK.

On Sony:

  • Open the main menu by pressing the HOME button on your remote.
  • Using the arrow keys, scroll down to find Settings in the menu and press Enter to open.
  • Go to Storage & Reset.
  • Select Restore Factory Settings.
  • Choose Erase All Data.
  • Confirm your choice.

Do a Picture Test

Samsung Picture Test
Samsung TV Picture Test

If you own a Samsung TV, you can have it self-diagnosed and find the problem if it is related to the display.

To do a picture test:

  • Open the Smart Hub menu by pressing the Home button on the TV remote.
  • Select the Support tab.
  • Select Device Care.
  • Wait a couple of minutes for the TV to perform a Quick Scan.
  • Choose Self Diagnosis when it has finished the scan. You can find it near the bottom.
  • Select Picture Test and choose OK.

Note that the Picture Test feature is only available on Samsung TVs made after 2018. If you have an older model, you won’t have this feature.

Replace the T-Con Board

Caution! Only do this if you are absolutely sure that you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, call customer service as this may make your warranty void.

  1. Turn off and unplug the TV.
  2. Next, lay the TV on a flat surface, with the display facing down (here is how to lay a flat screen down).
  3. Loosen the screws and take off the back cover. Again, you shouldn’t apply any force here, or you might damage the cover.
  4. This will get you “inside” the TV. Depending on your TV, the T-Con board might be under a metal cover, so you’ll have to remove that by loosening the screws.
  5. Disconnect the flat LVDS cable by pinching it on the sides and pulling gently.
  6. Next, disconnect the ribbon cables by flipping up the black tab and lifting the ribbon with your fingers.
  7. Now that the T-Con board is unplugged from the mainboard, you can remove the screws that hold it to the TV panel.
  8. Lift the board off the panel and replace it with a new one.
  9. Secure the new T-Con board to the panel by screwing it back on.
  10. Reconnect the ribbon cables. Be sure the black tab is flipped up and line the cable. When it is, close the tab to secure the ribbon.
  11. Re-connect the LVDS cable by pinching it on the sides and gently pushing it into place on the board (you should feel a slight “click”).
  12. Put the cover back on and secure it with the screws.
  13. Plug the TV back on and turn it on.

Note that these steps might differ depending on your TV model. Check the user manual that came with the TV to be sure.

Change the TV Input Source

Your TV will have different HDMI or AV ports that you can plug it in as its source. Try unplugging it from its current source and plugging it into another. 

For instance, switch from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2 and see if this will fix the problem.

Also, be sure to change the source in the Settings by pressing the Source button on the top-left of the TV remote and selecting the new input source from the menu.

Check the Screen for Damage

Take a look at your screen. Do you see any cracks or scratches on it?

If so, you may need to have it replaced or repaired by a professional TV technician. This will usually be a cheaper option than buying a new TV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do horizontal lines appear on my TV?

Horizontal lines can appear on your TV for several reasons, including physical damage to the panel, damaged or unplugged cables, faulty T-Con board, outdated TV firmware, bad drivers, etc.

How much does it cost to fix horizontal lines on TV?

Depending on the cause of the horizontal lines, fixing them can be:

  • Easy (turning the TV off and on, unplugging and plugging the cables, or switching the input source).
  • Moderate (resetting the TV to factory settings or doing a picture test).
  • Difficult (changing the T-Con board or repairing/replacing the panel).

Conclusion

We hope this article has answered the question, what causes horizontal lines on TV screen. Having horizontal lines appear on your TV screen can be frustrating as it will prevent you from enjoying your favorite TV shows or games. 

Fortunately, most of the time, you can actually fix this problem by yourself using one of the methods that we have shown here.

But what if your TV has no sound? Check what to do in this article!

About Melissa

Hey! I'm Mel, I write the occasional article for Spacehop, amongst other things. I love meeting new people and chatting, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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