Vizio TV Goes Black For A Few Seconds? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Dennis Howard
by Dennis Howard

Right in the middle of your favorite TV drama, the screen on your Vizio TV suddenly turns black. The audio may or may not keep playing. Then, just as randomly, the screen comes back to life. If you have this problem with your Vizio TV, there are several possible causes for this strange behavior.

If your Vizio TV experiences sudden and random black screens, the source of the issue is video or HDMI cables, power problems, or Vizio TV setting. Eliminating the black screen problem is often a process of eliminating possible problems to find the issue and then replacing the faulty part or resetting your Vizio TV.

Finding an intermittent problem like a random black screen event can be a challenge. Unfortunately, some problems with a Vizio TV showing a black screen randomly may require a service technician’s help to solve the problem. Before you make that call, consider performing a few simple procedures to eliminate the problem yourself.

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Is the Blackout on the Screen Really a Problem?

Vizio TVs include an automatic update feature. Keeping your Vizio TVs’ firmware updated is the key to the best operation and service from your Vizio TV. This feature is one of the most popular with Vizio TV users.

However, it can be a little disconcerting when your Vizio TV suddenly goes blank, turns itself off, and then turns back on a few moments later. While this is a perfectly normal situation for a Vizio TV that is being updated automatically, it can cause a little fright for some users.

There is no real problem in this situation, and nothing needs to be changed. Your Vizio TV is operating normally in the automatic update mode. Typically, your Vizio TV will perform an auto-update when the TV is off. However, under some circumstances, an update may happen while you are watching the TV.

When the Blackout is Not Related to an Auto-Update

Several issues can cause a Vizio TV to show a black screen suddenly and randomly. Some of these situations will involve the audio on the Vizio TV as well. The circumstances and other symptoms that occur with the black screen on your Vizio TV give some clue as to what might cause the problem. Here are some issues and suggested fixes for random black screen problems with your Vizio TV.

Step 1: Check the Power to your Vizio TV

Make sure that the power cord from your Vizio TV is plugged into the wall outlet securely. A loose plug can cause intermittent power problems that can cause your Vizio TV to suddenly turn off and go black and then come back on. If this is the problem, the audio will also stop when the black screen occurs.

  • Unplug the power cord from the outlet and check for damage. If the outlet is cracked or shows signs of overheating, you may have an issue with the electrical system in your home. Consult with a licensed electrician for more help.
  • Check the plug on the power cable of your Vizio TV. If the power plug shows signs of overheating or melting, you have an issue with the electrical service to your home. Again, find an electrician to help determine the cause of the problem.
  • Make sure the power cable is plugged securely into the back of your Vizio TV. Unplug the power cable, check it for damage before reseating the plug into the socket on ‘your Vizio TV.

If you have a surge protector in the electrical supply to your Vizio TV, test the TV’s operation without the surge protector in the circuit. Surge protectors can be damaged and operate erratically. Many people overlook a faulty or damaged surge protector when power problems plague their Vizio TVs.

Step 2: Check the Settings on your Vizio TV

Vizio TVs have several internal settings that can cause your TV screen to go black. While these really aren’t problems, if you aren’t aware that one of these settings has been changed, the black screen may seem random. These types of issues can affect the audio as well as the video on your Vizio TV.

  • The most common setting that causes black screens is the sleep settings on your Vizio TV. To access and check the sleep settings, use the MENU option. From the MENU option, select TIMERS and then SLEEP TIMER. Typically, this timer has settings that range from 30 to 180 minutes. If one of these timers is selected, change the setting to zero or OFF.
  • Some Vizio TVs may have parental controls limiting the apps or channels your children can access. If you inadvertently set parental controls and then change to a controlled channel when you are watching, you may see a black screen. This setting usually disables the audio portion of the TV at the same time.

If your Vizio TV randomly shows a black screen with or without audio after making these checks, you may have more significant issues. The next tips and suggestions require a bit more work but may eventually solve your intermittent display problems.

Step 3: Check the Mute Screen Option

Some Vizio TVs include an option to mute or black the screen when you are streaming a pure audio program. To check this setting, follow these instructions:

  • Make sure your Vizio TV is turned on.
  • On your remote control, press and hold the MUTE button for 3 to 5 seconds. Typically, the MUTE button is located to the left and below the Vizio logo on the remote control. Holding the button down for several seconds will deactivate the mute screen option, and your Vizio TV should show the normal operating screen.

Step 4: Power Cycle your Vizio TV

Performing a power cycle on your Vizio TV forces the firmware to stop and restart. The firmware on your Vizio TV controls all the operations, including the screen. Sometimes a glitch in the firmware can cause random black screen events. To power cycle your Vizio TV, perform these instructions in order.

  • Turn off your Vizio TV using the on/off button on the remote or on the TV
  • Unplug the power cord of your Vizio TV from the wall outlet or the surge protector if you use one.
  • Press the power button on your Vizio TV and hold it depressed for 15 to 30 seconds. This allows all the electronic components of your Vizio TV to drain any electrical energy they may retain even if the TV is turned off and unplugged.
  • Plug your Vizio TV back into the wall outlet or surge protector.
  • Power on your Vizio TV and see if the power cycle eliminates the random black screen problem

It may take operating your Vizio TV for several hours or several days to discover if the problem is solved. Be patient and enjoy your Vizio TV in the meantime.

Step 5: Interference from Accessory Devices

While it is rare, there is a chance that one of the accessory devices plugged into your Vizio TV may cause random black screen events. This is especially true of devices that can take control of the video display on your Vizio TV. These devices include video games, DVD players or Cable TV control boxes.

Diagnosing this problem is a process of elimination. Follow these directions to determine if one of your accessory devices is hijacking your video and causing the black screen to appear and disappear.

  • Turn off your Vizio TV. You should never plugin or unplug accessory devices from your Vizio TV while the TV has power. Even if the TV is turned off using the button on the remote, some internal components continue to have electric service to maintain memories and settings.
  • Unplug all your accessory devices.
  • Plug your Vizio TV back into the outlet and turn it on. Check for the random black screen problem. Again, be patient. This may take a while to allow the TV time to present the black screen problem again.
  • Continue adding accessory devices to your TV. If your Vizio TV suddenly starts to show a black screen again, you have a conflict between your Vizio TV and the accessory device. Sometimes, the problem can be one of the cables that connect the device to your Vizio TV.

You may need to do some research about your accessory device to determine if other Vizio users have experienced the same problem. A fix may be available or known that can easily correct the problem.

Step 6: Time to Get Some Professional Help

If these steps don’t remedy the problem with your Vizio TV randomly showing a black screen, you may have more severe problems. There is a problem with the video control board, the cable that connects the control board to the screen, or the backlights on your Vizio TV.

Our recommendation is to call a Vizio-trained service technician to look at your Vizio TV. Often video control boards can be repaired or replaced, cables re-installed, and backlights repaired.

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Keeping your Vizio TV Bright and Clear

Resolving issues with your Vizio TV showing a black screen can be a challenging project. Often, the issue is easy to resolve but does take some time to diagnose. It is well worth your time. However, you must consult with a trained service technician for some problems or risk doing more damage to your Vizio TV.

Dennis Howard
Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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