Whether it’s a phone, tablet, computer screen, or TV, we all know that sinking feeling when the device falls, and, like Schrodinger’s cat, there’s a moment where the screen is both cracked and uncracked. If it turns out the worst has happened to your TV screen, and it has a crack on the inside, what can you do about it? Is it even possible to fix it?
Modern LCD screens are highly sensitive devices. A crack on the inside is usually a death sentence, and there is no easy way to fix it. If you can find a replacement LCD panel somewhere, it is possible to replace the screen, but these replacements are rare, so you should probably replace the TV.
There are many people online (often internet trolls) who claim that it’s possible to fix a TV’s cracked LCD screen with epoxy and a heat gun, but there is a massive lack of evidence that this is possible. TV repair experts will usually not even bother to put in the time and effort; it’s simply not worth it. But why is it so complicated? Let’s look at cracked TV screens and what you can do in more detail.
Why You Can’t Fix A Cracked TV Screen
An LCD screen is a modern technological marvel. (Note that LCD and LED screens, in this context, refer to the same thing since they work in the same way; it’s mostly the backlight that’s different.)
The screen consists of two thin sheets of glass, a silicon layer, and indium tin oxide (ITO). If you separate the two sheets of glass, you will notice an oily compound between them. That’s the ITO.
These different parts all have to line up perfectly to create a circuit that can create the screen’s display when it’s lit up by either a backlight or LEDs. Getting it all to work together the way it should require extreme precision and expertise, which makes LCD screens very expensive. They are often the most expensive part of the TV.
This complex design and extreme precision are the reasons why it’s nearly impossible to fix a cracked screen. The most minor hairline crack is enough to disrupt the circuit completely.
The crack is also usually not limited to just one of the glass sheets; it tends to spread right through the screen into both sheets. The silicon and ITO can often leak out of the cracks, too.
The theory that a heated piece of tape or some epoxy can fix a cracked LCD panel shows how little people understand about how LCD screens work. Once that circuit is broken, it requires extreme engineering knowledge to get it all to work together again, even if you could fix the glass sheets.
Can You Replace A Cracked TV Screen?
In theory, it is relatively easy to replace a cracked TV screen. All you need is the right kind of screen (preferably one made specifically for your TV model, or at least a screen that’s similar).
Anyone with a little bit of knowledge about electronics will be able to remove the cracked screen and replace it with another one. Laptop repair shops do this on a daily basis, and the principle is the same.
There are two potential issues with replacing a cracked TV screen, though.
TV Screens Are Expensive
As mentioned, the process of manufacturing an LCD screen is highly technical. Very few companies in the world actually manufacture them (which is one of the reasons why many competing smartphone brands use screens manufactured by the same company). The level of expertise required to make them is astronomical.
This fact raises the price of LCD screens exponentially. In most cases, the screen is the most expensive part of the TV and makes up most of the cost price. Only the most advanced Smart TVs may be an exception to this rule since they are literal computers with built-in screens.
Since the screens are so expensive, it usually doesn’t make any financial sense to replace a cracked TV screen. You can get a new TV for the same price, or just slightly more. The replacement part is also accompanied by labor costs, often pushing the total cost of repair well above the price of a new TV.
The Screens Are Hard To Find
Most TV manufacturers don’t even distribute their screens separately. They do this for two reasons:
- The cost of the screen makes it senseless to replace it, so it also doesn’t make sense to make the screens available to the public.
- Most TV manufacturers rely on the fact that people have mishaps and crack their TV screens so they can sell more units, which is also why fall damage isn’t covered in any warranty.
There are a few exceptions. For example, many of the more expensive, modern Samsung Smart TVs have replacement screens available. You can often go into a Samsung store to have your LCD panel replaced. The price, however, is still a problem; the fact that the screens are actually available does not mean they are cheap.
There are also so-called pirate parts that you can sometimes find online. If you open your TV up and look at the screen’s part number, you could find a replacement online if you know where to look. The problem is that these pirate parts are made by other companies and are often of lower quality, and you could have all kinds of problems with them after you’ve replaced them.
It’s also worth noting that replacing a cracked screen isn’t always worth it. Unfortunately, the same fall that caused the screen to crack will often do other types of damage that won’t always be visible immediately.
For example, in time, you may notice that your TV screen will occasionally go black intermittently. That’s because the LED panel or power supply may also have been damaged in the fall. Though these components are cheaper and easier to repair or replace, they add additional costs to an already expensive repair. That’s even if you replace the screen with an original, high-quality display.
So What Should You Do With Your Cracked-Screen TV?
The best solution is to replace your TV. There are simply too many factors, like costs and hidden damages, to be able to justify replacing or repairing the screen.
Most TV repair shops will simply tell you that a TV is unrepairable if you take a cracked TV screen to them. If it’s not even worth the trouble for the professionals, maybe you should take that as a sign that it’s time for a new one.
Interestingly, one of the most challenging things for many people to wrap their heads around is to throw away the old TV. Remember that it’s an electronic device, so you shouldn’t just throw it in the trash, but recycle it, instead. In the process, you may be able to get a bit of cash in exchange, too. Some TV repair shops might even give you a few dollars to use your old, broken TV for spare parts.
There are no good ways to fix a TV screen that was cracked on the inside. The best you can do is buy a new TV and hopefully ensure that it doesn’t have the same fate as your old one. It is a much better way to spend your money because you can never be 100% sure that your TV didn’t sustain even more damage than you initially thought.