OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, which refers to TV technology where each pixel lights up individually when the current passes through the diode. The technology allows TVs to be much slimmer, and that results in a fragile structure. Furthermore, the pixels individually lighting up can lead to faulty/dead pixels, so it is reasonable to wonder if one can get an OLED TV repaired.
You can repair OLED TV screens, but it depends if the problem that occurs on the screen is attributable to something other than the OLED panel. If the problem is with the panel, only the placement panel (which can cost as much as a new TV) can fix the issue.
The rest of this article will go over the common screen problems that can be fixed without interfering with the panel and what you should do if the problem turns out to be with the TV's panel. You will also learn why panel replacement is getting cheaper and how you should take care of your OLED TV once it is fixed.
OLED TV Screen Repair vs. TV Replacement
With LCDs, it became common knowledge that replacing the screen costs as much as getting a new TV. People who are familiar with this might wonder if this also applies to OLED TVs. Unfortunately, most of the OLED TV's high price is because the panel and replacing the panel costs almost as much as the OLED TV.
In some instances, LG has quoted a higher price for the new panel than the new TV. However, the screen's issues don't need to be only because of the damaged panel.
However, if it turns out that the problem lies with the panel that needs to be replaced, you should contact an OLED TV repair business around you. Recently, many OLED TV screen sizes have become available on the repair/spare market, which has significantly reduced the cost of replacement, depending on the supply available to your repair person.
If they get their supply directly from LG Display, chances are the price you will get quoted will be at least half the TV price. If they work with used panels, you are in luck and will get a much more cost-efficient repair.
How to Know if the Problem Is With Your OLED Panel
As the OLED tv does not rely on a backlight, the pixels themselves are the TV. The other significant parts of the OLED TV are the wiring and the motherboard. Here is how you can tell whether the issue is with the wiring or the motherboard.
The Screen Is Completely Black
If you turn on the TV and hear the sound, but the screen is black, your panel is most likely unharmed. Unlike LCD, each pixel on the OLED panel is responsible for its part of the picture. Therefore the entire screen being black does not make sense unless there is a ‘fade to black' scene in the content.
When the screen is entirely black, the wiring is damaged, and none of the panel's pixels are receiving the appropriate current. In this case, you do not need to worry about OLED panel replacement or buying a new TV. Calling your local TV shop repair guy should do the job. If the repairman tries to quote you on panel replacement, do not simply accept that at face value since he may be trying to overcharge you for minor wire replacement.
Significant Blocks of the Screen Are Not Showing the Right Picture
In OLED TV, issues of the panel happen at the level of the pixel. A block of the screen not working indicates a problem with the motherboard and/or image storage. This case might cost slightly higher than a small wiring fix, but nowhere near a panel replacement cost. Again, avoid taking the TV repair guy's word for it if he or she says the repair requires a panel replacement.
What Should I Do if My OLED Screen Is Cracked?
If your OLED TV screen is cracked, you need to order a replacement panel. A TV repair shop can help you fix your OLED TV by removing the imaging-direction components from your cracked TV screen and placing them onto the new panel.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair an OLED Panel?
Initially, when LG was only providing OLED panels directly to consumers through customer care, the panel's cost alone was the same as the cost of an LG OLED TV of the same size. However, the manufacturer has started providing OLED panels to other brands like Sony.
Now that the OLED panels are not specifically manufactured for the consumer units only, there is a wider supply of replacement panels that cost relatively less than the OLED TV. That is why it is prudent to call different TV repair shops and shop for a quote because only the ones with access to cheaper OLED panels can replace the screen on a reasonable budget.
What if You Have a Protection Plan?
I never used to buy additional protection packages when purchasing anything. What changed was (1) the cost of replacement and (2) the ease of replacement.
The story that really sold protection plans to me was when I had my Samsung QLED 4K HDR TV delivered to me. The whole left side was severely cracked and the rest of the picture has weird colors. I started with Samsung support to see what my recourse was.
The rest of the night Samsung bounced me around between calling them, opening a ticket, and started live support chat. All of which were unhelpful. I couldn't believe it was this hard to go anywhere for what seemed like a simple replacement or RMA process. As someone who regularly buys their NVMe SSDs, I got severely worried about their ability to support literally anything. What if this was a warranty claim?
Then I checked with the company that paid for the TV to see if they had a protection plan from where they purchased it from. They bought it from Best Buy and there was a protection plan that went along with the purchase. Within 3 business days, the Best Buy delivery crew dropped off the new TV, unpacked it, set it up, and hauled away the broken mess we had before, including all packing materials and other shipping trash.
That was a long way to say, yes, if you have a protection plan, get it replaced by the store you bought it from or call the number on your plan to initiate the replacement process. It is way easier to do than going through the manufacturer. This claim doesn't cost any extra because you would have paid for the coverage beforehand.
Check Your Credit Card Perks
If all else fails, check with your credit card company that you purchased your TV with. Most credit card companies have an extended warranty perk that covers factory defects, accidents, and even on-purpose breakages free of charge.
Best Buy is great for putting pressure on the manufacturers to replace the defect. Credit card companies are even better. They're bigger, meaner, and will get the job done.
Taking Care of Your OLED TV
If you are buying a new OLED TV or have recently fixed an issue with it, you must avoid having problems in the future. Below are some of the best practices to keep in mind.
Beware of TV Burn-In
If you have paused a TV show or a movie that you are watching at the peak brightness, you will experience image retention. This occurs when you resume the movie, a residue of the image carried by the pixels will remain. However, this goes away as the pixels respond to new stimuli.
But if the image remains on for long enough, the impression becomes permanent, and you have a dark impression of the image covering the new content. This is typically referred to as a burn-in, and no modern TV screen is immune to this.
That is why it is highly recommended that you do not leave a static image on your screen for too long. As long as the image moves, the pixels remain responsive, which is why most screensavers have either a slideshow of images or some movement. The screensaver is literally saving the screen from burn-in.
Another way to avoid burn-in is to go easy on the brightness. This can be specifically hard with OLED TVs because, as televisions with no backlight, they are naturally less bright than LCDs. However, if you dim the surrounding lights enough, you can watch the content you are viewing without ramping up the brightness to where a static image can burn-in.
Protect Against Cracks
In any television, cracks are the most obvious and the costliest type of damage. With OLED TVs, the frame's thinness also becomes their biggest flaw when it comes to product safety. Fortunately, you can hedge against cracks by placing the TV right.
Make sure that the floor underneath the OLED TV is a soft carpet. How soft and thick the carpet needs to be, depends on how high the TV is placed. If the TV is placed on a TV stand, make sure it will not move easily if a toddler, pet, or an individual bumps into it. If the TV is hung on the wall, use a thick frame to prevent hitting around the borders.
Avoid Dead Pixels by Protecting the Panel From Direct Sunlight
Pay attention to where the TV is placed in the room. Make sure there is no window opposing it as the sunlight hitting a specific part of the screen on a daily basis will damage the pixels in that area. The result can range from uneven colors to dead pixels. Make sure to cover the screen or close the curtains to avoid this problem.
In conclusion, OLED TVs have their perks, but the damage they sustain most commonly has to do with the most expensive part: the panels. Replacing the panel is essentially getting a new screen, but with the availability of second-hand panels and panel-only market, the repair cost has decreased significantly.
However, like with all TVs, prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure. When you have the option to get a protection plan, consider it. If you have an extended warranty service with your credit card, call your credit card rep to get the skinny on the situation.