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TV Showing Black And White (Causes, How To Fix)

When I recently switched on my TV, I was surprised to find that the image was in black and white. I had no idea what could be causing this issue, so I decided to do some research. I looked into the various causes of a black and white display, and the ways to fix it. In this blog post, I’m going to share everything I discovered through my research, including the solutions and tips and tricks.

The most common cause of a TV showing black and white is a wrong color setting or a damaged cable connected to the TV. Check the color settings of your TV and replace the cables you are currently using; this will ensure your TV is not showing black and white only, allowing you to see all colors. 

IssuePossible Cause(s)Solution(s)
TV showing black and whiteColor setting problemsReset the color settings: Restore the TV’s color settings to their factory defaults, and then adjust the settings to your preference.
Using the wrong inputChange the input: Try using a different port on your TV, or use a different type of cable or adapter if necessary.
Old or damaged cablesReplace with new cables: Purchase new, high-quality cables to connect your devices to the TV. Regularly update your cables to ensure a proper connection and optimal viewing experience.
Power surgesHave the TV checked out by a servicing company if you suspect a power surge has caused damage.
Software or hardware glitchesTry a soft reset: Turn off the TV, unplug it from the wall outlet, wait for 60 seconds, plug it back in, and turn it on.
Persistent issuesTry a hard reset: Perform a factory reset to restore the TV to its original settings. Follow the specific instructions for your TV model, or use the steps provided above for Samsung TVs as a general guide.

Why Is A TV Showing Black And White?

When your TV shows black and white during playback or, even worse, the only thing it does is show black and white bars; you may feel hopeless. Finding out why the TV is showing you black and white is often the most important step to fixing the issue, with many people going crazy when just blindly trying fixes. 

We have seen many common issues with TVs, whether brand new or hand-me-downs from the family, that can cause black and white to be the only thing showing. We recommend understanding each cause so you can not only fix the issue but prevent it from happening in the future. 

Color Setting Problems

The problem with a TV giving playback in black and white without warning is that someone has changed the settings. This can be because you were trying to fix the color or activate a setting, or it may be because one of your children ended up playing with the wrong buttons. 

The color settings on your TV can be changed to only show black and white; commonly, this is found in the color settings area. Many TVs even have the option to activate a black and white filter that turns everything into every shade of white, black, and grey imaginable. 

Using The Wrong Input

Only a few years ago, you could easily use HDMI without worrying about the type of connection it is. However, as technology has changed, this has become less true, with new ports being added to TVs and even HDMI types improving and changing as needed. 

You don’t get analog connectors with many TVs, so you will have to use adapters to get a signal. If you are using the wrong port, the wrong cables, and have something plugged in, you can see a degradation of signal quality that makes everything black and white. 

Cables Are Old And Breaking

Everyone will get a new TV, sound system, and even a new console to connect to their smart TV, but few spend the little extra to get new cables. This usually means that your cables are getting bent, broken, damaged, and generally aging rapidly, causing odd problems. 

One of the issues a digital signal can have when the cable is becoming too old is color issues that you need to consider. We always recommend that you consider this while still in the shops, allowing you to get cables that are assured to work instead of using cables that only might work. 

Power Surges

A common issue with modern systems is that they are never turned off, which means that every power surge is felt throughout the systems. This causes issues where signals are damaged and the TVs we like to watch each night has been damaged while we were sleeping soundly. 

When this happens, your devices may not be able to send clean signals, while the TV may also be damaged when a power surge happens. If you suspect that the power had surged when you were asleep or were not home, we recommend that you have the TV checked out by a servicing company. 

How Do You Get Color Back On A TV?

Now that we know some of the most common causes for your TV to only show black or white, we can look at how to fix each issue. We always recommend that you consider this when working with your TV showing only these colors or when it is stuck on black and white bars. 

You should try several solutions, but most of them can be quite simple to apply to your TV when it has gone wrong. However, it should be noted that often you will not be able to fix everything with your TV as something internal has broken. 

Reset The Color Settings

When the TV only shows black or white, the easiest thing to do is to reset the settings back to the factory. This will completely reset your TV to be back to what it needs to be, ensuring that it can show every color it needs to show. 

Once you have reset the TV to the factory, you should be able to adjust settings back to cinematic or any other setting that you need it to be on. Many people specifically reset their TV when they connect new devices, allowing them to get the best possible color for their viewing pleasure. 

Change The Input

If you are having trouble on a specific port, it may be worth just using a new one, preferably one you have not used regularly. Many people only use the ARC HDMI port because it allows every system to be fully connected, which means the port can become damaged over time. 

Moving the cables to different ports may mean losing some important functions, but you can get the full viewing experience. We always recommend trying this when the overall viewing quality you have on your TV has started to degrade.

Replace With New Cables

Something that we recommend doing, no matter what is just replacing and updating all the cables you are using on your TV and connected devices. Getting new cables every few years will ensure that you can enjoy the viewing experience no matter what. 

The TV is often showing black and white simply because the cables you are using have been stepped on, moved, bent, and just generally damaged. Getting a good set of cables will ensure that your TV never randomly shows you black and white when it should show amazing views. 

Try a soft reset

A soft reset, is where you turn off the TV and unplug it from the wall outlet. You then usually have to wait for 60 seconds then you can put the plug back in and turn the TV on again. Performing a soft reset clears a device’s internal memory of running programs, which often clears up any technical glitches.

Try a hard reset

A hard reset involves completely resetting the TV to its factory defaults. Most TV models have specific instructions. However, if you have a Samsung TV here are the steps to follow:

To perform a factory reset:

  1. Head to Settings > General.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. Enter your PIN > then select Reset.

Note: If you didn’t change your PIN initially the code is 0000


Getting your TV back to showing you a full-color image showing you only black and white is not as big of a problem as many assume. We always recommend trying a few new things, as you may find that the solution is much easier than you ever imagined. 

Always remember that your TV showing black and white is a problem that can be solved. 

Read more: AirPlay lagging on TV