How to Troubleshoot an LCD TV With Dead Pixels

By Shea Laverty

Your LCD TV serves as the centerpiece of your media experience. Stuck pixels can mar this experience, shining like luminous blemishes on the face of your entertainment. Unlike dead pixels, where the entire pixel fails and turns black, stuck pixels are brightly lit and can be repaired either by software or a good poke.

Preparation for Repair

Before you set out to fix your stuck pixel, make sure the problem is with the screen itself. Gently clean your screen with a soft cloth and screen cleaner, taking care to spray the cleaner on the cloth and not on the screen itself. Then test the screen with various input media like your computer, video games and television service. If the stuck pixels are consistent, the problem is indeed the screen. If the problem changes with the media, your issue may be the input media or a faulty connection.

UDPixel and JScreenFix

If you do indeed have a stuck pixel, there are two options for fixing it that don't require actually touching the screen. UDPixel is a free software utility that locates stuck pixels and causes all the pixels around them to rapidly cycle through different colors. After a few hours, the stuck pixel may be resolved. You can also use JScreenFix, a Web-based program that turns all screen pixels on and off at roughly 60 times per second. This too may solve the problem after some time.

Factory Reset

You can also attempt to reset your television to factory defaults. The exact steps for this process vary from one manufacturer and one model to the next, so you'll need to consult your owner's manual for further details. If the manual doesn't include this information, your television manufacturer's technical support staff should be able to walk you through the process.

Manual Repair Methods

If the screen still has stuck pixels, you can attempt manual repair. Before attempting manual repair, be advised you risk damaging the screen, breaking more pixels and voiding your warranty. There are three methods of repairing the pixels: pressure, rubbing and tapping. To use pressure, find a ballpoint pen or a dull pencil and a washcloth, and fold the washcloth over. Then turn off your television, put the cloth over the affected pixel and apply light pressure only to that area using the pen. For the rubbing method, gently rub at the pixel with a finger until it resets. For the tapping method, turn the television on and turn it to a black display to make locating the pixel easier. Then tap at it gently with a ballpoint pen or other small, dull object. If any of these methods have worked, you should see the stuck pixels functioning properly again.

If All Else Fails

If these methods don't work, you have very few options. If your television is still under warranty, you can contact the manufacturer to see about repair or replacement. Even if it is, the manufacturer may refuse to take action unless the pixel problem reaches a certain threshold based on number of dead pixels and their location. (Bad pixels in the center of the screen are considered more serious.) If it isn't, the cost of professional repair for the dead pixels may be prohibitive. In these instances, your only choices may be to live with the stuck pixels, or replace the television entirely.