TV Parts and Repair Tips

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How can I maintain my flat-screen TV?

How to Maintain Your Flat Screen TV

Ordinary cleaning products, such as glass cleaner, may do permanent damage to newer TVs. It's important to communicate this to anyone who cleans in your house.

Of course, that means you'll probably get stuck cleaning the TV screen. Luckily, today's TVs are not nearly the dust magnets that older CRT models were.

In general, follow the cleaning instructions in the TV repair manuals for your sets. When in doubt, use only a damp, soft cloth to clean your screen. Don't press hard on the screen during cleaning, which can also damage the picture.

What settings are important in calibrating my new TV?

Calibrating Your Color

Adjusting these settings will help you get the best possible picture out of your flat panel TV:

  • Brightness: Controls the strength of whites on the screen.
  • Contrast: Controls the depth of blacks on the screen.
  • Temperature (or Tint): The most common adjustment for skin tones. Too "cold" and people look green; too "hot" and they look pink.
  • Color (or Saturation): Controls how vivid the colors are on the screen.
  • Sharpness: Brings out the edges of objects on the screen. Often set too high or given an artificial boost with "edge enhancement" features.

When is an extended warranty worth buying

TV Warranties

Most of today's TV makers support their products with excellent warranties and good customer service. So why buy the extra one being offered at the electronics store?

For high-end or mission-critical TV sets (perhaps those used in a business, for example), extended warranties offer peace of mind. Of course, electronics sellers want you to buy them every time. When is it worth it?

  • How much does the warranty cost as a percentage of the TV's cost? If it's more than 25 percent, skip it.
  • Will you use extra features like free maintenance?
  • How much of a problem is it for you if your TV is not working?
  • What is most likely to go wrong with your machine, and does the warranty cover it?

What are some common troubleshooting tips for TV audio?

Troubleshooting TV Audio Problems

  • You'd be surprised how often this happens: Before you worry about the sound, check to see that the Mute button is off.
  • Turn up the volume if it's too low to hear.
  • Check your settings to be sure the speakers are on.
  • Check all your TV parts that relate to the audio system -- cables, speakers, subwoofers -- to be sure they're connected solidly.
  • Try a different input source -- a DVD rather than cable, for example, or a different channel.

Can I replace the lamp on a projection TV myself?

Replacing a TV Bulb

LCD rear-projection TVs are lit with a bulb. Replacing this bulb is one of the few projection TV repair projects that a reasonably handy owner can undertake.

When the screen gets dim, it's time for a new bulb. Unfortunately, these cost between $150 and $200.

Your TV repair manuals should contain instructions on how to replace the bulb, but most manufacturers have made this process fairly easy -- just a matter of turning a screwdriver, taking out the old lamp and setting the new one in place. The hardest part may be getting to the back of the TV to do it!

What are some troubleshooting steps I can take if my TV picture is bad?

Troubleshooting TV Picture Problems

Before you call for TV repair help, let's start with the easy stuff. Is the power cord plugged in?

  • If the TV is plugged into a power strip, is the strip turned on?
  • Are your cables bent, pinched or just too long? Any of these can degrade the picture quality. Try to use source-to-screen cables that are no more than three feet.
  • Does the problem occur with all sources, or just one? If only one TV channel is having problems, that will help you narrow down the issue. The same may be true if DVDs play well, but cable comes in badly.

What's the first thing I should check if my picture is bad?

Check Your Connections

If your TV picture doesn't look right, the first thing to do is to check all the connections and cables that are bringing signals to the screen. Replace any loose or frayed cables, and make sure cables are stowed out of the way of pets and children.

It's also possible, especially if you didn't buy a name-brand TV, that your television manufacturer provided shoddy cables. Try installing a quality brand of cable and see if your signal improves. Cables are one of the few big-screen TV parts you can replace yourself.

Can I try to fix my own TV?

What Not to Do For Your TV

In the vast majority of cases, there's little you can do on your own to fix a newer TV when something goes wrong. It's simply a matter of calling an authorized television repair technician or taking the TV to the service counter of the store where you bought it.

Resist the temptation to try to remove the cover, and don't take the TV into "service mode" unless you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing.

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