DirecTV Black Screen of Death (12 Fixes)

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A few weeks ago, I was watching TV with my family and suddenly we got a DirecTV black screen of death. We tried everything from turning off the cable box to restarting the TVs, but nothing worked. It took us hours to figure out what happened.

In this post, I’ll cover the most common causes and fixes for a black screen on DirecTV. These solutions will help you get back to enjoying your television again.

There are many reasons why your DirecTV might display a black screen. If you’re having issues with your TV, then read on to find out how to fix it yourself.  

DirecTV Black Screen of Death
DirecTV Black Screen

12 Fixes for DirecTV Black Screen 

1. Check for Weak DirecTV Signal Issues

If your DirecTV signal strength is weak, then that could be causing your problem. 

Here is how to check the signal strength: 

  • Press Info on your remote control. 
  • If you see the program information like title and description show up at the top of the TV screen, you have a stable signal. 
  • If you’re missing some information or it’s slow, you can perform a manual refresh of your DirecTV service. 
  • Head to My Equipment & Services.
  • Select your Receiver
  • Select Refresh Receiver
  • It will take a minute or two to fully refresh. 

2. Test the HDMI Cable Connection to the DirecTV Receiver

This test and fix is also valid for other types of cables and not only HDMI cables, depending on your DirecTV receiver model.

The first thing that you should do if you have a problem with your TV having a black screen is to test the HDMI cable connection to the DirecTV receiver. The cable might be loose from either end or there could be something wrong with the cable. To check if there’s a problem with the cable, follow these steps first: 

  • Look for and check the HDMI cable on the back of your TV.
  • Unplug the HDMI cable on the TV and plug it back in. 
  • Unplug the cable on the external device.
  • Check the TV for an image. 

If there’s still a black screen on the TV, you can perform a signal test on the TV to see if it’s a problem with the HDMI cable. Follow these steps to perform the HDMI cable test: 

  • Navigate to Settings
  • Select Support
  • Select Device Care
  • Select Self Diagnosis
  • Select Signal Information
  • Select HDMI Cable Test
  • Select Start Test.

The cable test will let you know if the HDMI cable is “Good” or “Bad.” If the test says that the HDMI cable is bad, use a different cable to see if that works. 

If the test says good, let’s move on to the next solution to try. 

3. Check the TV’s Input Source of the DirecTV

Sometimes when you turn the TV on, it’s not on the channel you expect it to be on. Someone else might have been watching TV before you and changed the input source.

There are a few different things to try here with the input source: 

First thing to do, double-check that you are using the HDMI 1 TV source if that’s where the DirecTV receiver is connected. 

Second thing to try, if there’s no picture in HDMI 1, try connecting the DirecTV receiver to HDMI 2 and the other input sources. Test to see if they will give you an image on the TV screen or if it’s still a black screen. 

If you see images on the other input sources, then there could be an issue with the HDMI 1 port. 

4. Try a Reset of the DirecTV Receiver

Some settings might have been corrupted and a reset of the DirecTV receiver can help. It will clear any settings on the internal components of the TV, but not your personal settings.

A soft reset, also known as a power cycle, will also stop any background processes and apps that might’ve been causing black screen issues. Soft resets can also help with other issues like slow Wi-Fi speeds and Bluetooth connection problems. 

To perform a soft reset on a DirecTV receiver, follow these steps: 

  • Unplug the DirecTV receiver’s power cable for at least 60 seconds. 
  • Plug the cord back into the power outlet. 
  • Wait for the receiver to reboot. 

That’s all there is to a soft reset. 

Another thing to try is to use the red reset button on the DirecTV receiver if there is one. The red reset button is usually located on the side of the receiver or on the inside of the access card door on the front panel. 

5. Turn Off Power Saver Mode and Sleep Timer on the TV

Some TVs have power saving and sleep timer features that may cause black screens. These features are great ways to save money on your electricity bill, but they can sometimes cause black screens of death.

If you’re having problems getting pictures on your TV, try turning off power saver and sleep timer settings. Follow these steps to disable the Sleep Timer on your TV: 

  • On the remote, Press the Home button to open the Menu
  • Select Settings
  • Select Time
  • Select Sleep Timer
  • Change it to Off by using the arrows. 

Follow these steps to disable Power Saver Mode on most TVs: 

  • On the remote, Press the Home button to open the Menu
  • Select Settings
  • Select Power Saving
  • Change it to Off

6. Update to the Latest Smart TV Firmware Version

Sometimes older firmware can cause the TV to display a black screen. The TV manufacturer releases new firmware updates periodically to address bugs, so it’s better to update to get those bug fixes.

Firmware controls the internal workings of the smart TV. It controls the menus and settings for your TV, including how images are displayed on screen.

To get the latest firmware version for TVs, go to the TV Settings menu, and it should also appear on the TV manufacturer’s site.

To update the TV firmware through the TV Settings, follow these steps: 

  • On the remote, Press the Home button to open the Menu
  • Select Settings.
  • Select Support
  • Select Software Update
  • Select Update Now
  • The TV will reboot, so the new firmware can take effect. 

7. Change the Screen Resolution on the DirecTV Receiver

If your DirecTV receiver has an HDMI port, you can change the resolution from 1080p to 720p or 480i. This will make the picture appear if the receiver and TV are out of sync.

To change your screen resolution, follow these steps on the Genie remote: 

  • Press Info
  • Scroll to Audio/Video
  • Select Change Resolution & Format.
  • Select a Different Screen Format. Cycle through the choices to see what works best. 

8. Protect the TV From Voltage Fluctuations

Black screens and frozen screens on TVs can be caused by voltage fluctuations in the home. This happens because the voltage fluctuates either too high or low, which causes the TV to malfunction and not display anything.

If you experience black screen issues on your television, using voltage management devices like surge protectors or UPSs can help prevent these issues from occurring.

These surge protectors protect the devices connected to their power supply from voltage fluctuations.

9. Factory Reset the TV

So you’ve tried all the other potential solutions above, but you’re still having black screen issues on the TV. Before opening up TV, this is one last potential fix, a factory reset of the TV. 

Factory resetting the DirecTV to its original factory settings can solve many problems caused by software errors.This is one of the last non-hardware solutions to try because a factory reset removes any personal information stored on the TV, including saved passwords, usernames, and favorites. 

Resetting the TV will all clear out all of its settings and data. If you’ve been experiencing problems with your TV, resetting it may resolve the issue. 

Here is how to perform a factory reset on your TV: 

  • On the remote, Press the Home button to open the Menu
  • Select Settings.
  • Select Support
  • Select Self Diagnosis.
  • Select Reset
  • Enter 0000 for the Security Pin. 
  • Confirm with the Yes

But of course, if you have a black screen, you may not be able to navigate the menus. There are two ways to reset the TV using the remote control. 

The first way to reset the TV with the remote: 

  • On the remote, Press and Hold the Exit button for 15 seconds. 
  • Press OK to trigger the factory reset. 

The second way to factory reset the TV with the remote: 

  • On the remote, Press and Hold the Info, Menu, and Mute buttons for 5 seconds. 
  • Then Press 8 and 2 on the remote to start the factory reset. 

10. Check the TV’s T-CON Board

Now we get into potential TV hardware issues. The TV’s T-CON board is what creates the image on the TV screen. The T-CON board creates the horizontal and vertical lines that make up the picture, and it’s located below the main circuit board.

The T-CON board has an LCD driver chip that controls the backlight brightness. When the T-CON board malfunctions, the backlight becomes dimmer than normal. This causes the colors to become darker and less vibrant.

If the T-CON board is malfunctioning, you can buy a new T-CON board to replace the current one. These circuit boards are relatively inexpensive and under $100, even under $50 for the majority of TVs. 

For example, if you have a Samsung smart TV,  you can find T-CON boards on Amazon. 

Here is a great video on how to replace the T-CON board on a TV. 

Samsung LED TV Repair - T-Con Board Replacement - No Picture on Screen, Image Fades to Black UN60

11. Check the LED Backlight Strips in TV

LED backlights are found in most modern TVs. The LED lights emit light which is then converted into images displayed on a TV screen. If an LED backlight fails the image quality decreases, causing the picture to appear dark, blurry, and dim.

To replace the LED backlight strips in the TV, you’ll need to take apart the TV, which is difficult. 

You should definitely get a TV service team member out to fix the backlight strips. It’s easy to create other hardware issues when disassembling the TV.

Here’s a good tutorial video of what it takes to replace the backlights on a TV: 

Samsung 50” LED TV - No Picture Bad Backlights - How To Replace LED Strips Model UN50

12. Check for an Active DirecTV Receiver Warranty

If you have an issue with your DirecTV receiver, they come with a warranty for 1 year from the purchase date.

If your DirecTV is still under its warranty period, then you should contact DirecTV Support directly about any problems you’re having. The warranty you have may cover replacements and/or repairing various parts of the TV. 

If you bought the television at a retail store, then you may be able to purchase an extended warranty for it Retailers often offer extended warranties on products they sell you in order to increase their revenues.

Manufacturer’s warranties usually cover most things, but extended warranties may extend the coverage further. If you’re buying something expensive like a TV, an extended warranty might be worth considering.

DirecTV Black Screen Final Thoughts

There are many ways to fix a black screen issue on a DirecTV. You just have to know how to troubleshoot the problem and have some patience as you go through possible fixes. 

I hope this article helps you understand what’s going on when a DirecTV displays a blank screen. I also hope you learned some tips and tricks on how to resolve the issue yourself. 

For more black screen troubleshooting for other TV manufacturers, check out these articles: 

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Written by:

Greg Randall
Greg Randall is deeply immersed in Smart Home Technology, with years of experience in home automation, from smart displays to TVs. He enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with like-minded enthusiasts. Beyond smart homes, Greg loves snowboarding and exploring new culinary scenes with friends, bringing a zest for adventure and fine dining to his tech-savvy lifestyle.