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Fixing a Samsung TV Dimming Problem

by | Sep 10, 2015

Samsung

Our company recently installed a new Samsung Smart TV for one of our customers (model # UN48J5500). Less than an hour and a half after we left, I got a call. Our customer told me, “The TV is dimming itself. All of the colors are there, it’s just – dimmer.” I said “I’ll be right over.” There was a twofold solution to resolve the complaint.

Energy Star settings

The TV was set by the factory for the “Standard” mode which is highlighted with a little Energy Star logo. The installing tech had not changed any of the settings for this mode. The Energy Star logo indicates that the “Energy Saving” function was set to “Auto” by default. This setting changes the brightness of the picture depending on what is being watched. When going from a program to a commercial – or vice versa – the brightness level would noticeably change.

In addition to the “Energy Saving” setting, the “Standard” picture setting also had the “Eco Sensor” set to “On”. This setting automatically dims the TV based on the ambient light in the room. When the sun started to set, and the room started to darken, the TV also dimmed itself.

The Solution

To change the “Energy Saving” settings, follow these steps.

    • Press the menu button on the remote control, then select “Picture”
    • In the “Picture” section, the first selection is “Mode”. You should see it set to “Standard”.

Fixing a Samsung Smart TV dimming problem mode

    • Press the enter button, you will go to a sub-menu that has “Eco Solution” as one of the choices. Use the directional arrows to navigate to this choice and press enter.

Fixing a Samsung Smart TV dimming problem eco

    • In the “Eco Solution” sub-menu, use the directional arrows to navigate to “Energy Saving” and press enter.

Fixing a Samsung Smart TV dimming problem energy

    • Use the directional arrows to toggle this setting to “Off”, then press enter.
    • Next, navigate to the “Eco Sensor” setting and press enter.

Fixing a Samsung Smart TV dimming problem eco sensor

  • Toggle this setting to “Off”, then press enter.
  • Exit out of the menu.

This should stop the annoying auto dimming that you have been experiencing.

There is a shortcut solution that can save you a few steps. If you set the “Picture” mode to “Movie” instead of “Standard”, it will automatically toggle both the “Energy Saving” and “Eco Sensor” settings to “Off”. The “Movie” setting usually has a lower brightness level as the default, but this is easily adjusted.

Please note that you will need to go through this process for every input on your TV, including when you are using the Smart TV functions and apps. To do this, follow the above steps while the TV is set to each input you want to change.

There is a shortcut for this too. Rather than going in to each different input, there is a way to apply the settings to all sources.

  • Press “Menu” on the remote control and select “Picture”
  • Navigate to “Apply Picture Mode” and press enter.
  • Toggle the choice to select “All Sources”, and press enter.

Now go back through the steps above. Your choices will apply to all inputs for your TV.

Conclusion

With the government mandating lower and lower energy consumption for all electronic devices, manufacturers need to find ways to meet the standards. Not only is the government mandating changes, consumers are looking for and basing buying decisions on the Energy Star sticker. To satisfy both the government and Energy Star requirements, manufacturers are devising creative ways of claiming lower energy use. While the energy consumption goals have resulted in more efficient designs and lower energy use overall, some of the more creative solutions or features built in to modern TV’s can be a pain. Lucky for us, there are ways to defeat the more invasive features.

This was a hard way lesson for the tech that did this install. Hopefully, the pain he felt will mean an easier time for you. Happy Viewing!


BrianBio-100x100

About Brian Hill
Brian Hill is a home theater enthusiast who has an extensive background in sales. His interests include music & movies, F1 & NASCAR auto racing, hot rods (he has a '56 Nomad) and hockey — Go Sharks!
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22 Comments

  1. Hank Mayberry

    I have the Samsung 32″ J5500 Series UN32J5500AFXZA LED Smart HDTV and am experiencing the darkness effect. I tried to follow your instructions to turn it off, but I don’t see a menu with “eco solution”

    Reply
    • Brian HIll

      We have found that the Eco-Solution is often at the very end of the menu and that you need to scroll down to find it. If you don’t scroll down far enough, the setting will sometimes go un-noticed. There should be a selection for the Eco-Solution at the end of the ‘System’ Menu. Happy Viewing!

      Reply
    • Geza Burkit

      It doesn’t work, samsung UN48J5200AFXZA. The Eco Solutions are all set to off: Energy Save off, Eco sensor: off. The problem is the Energy Star saving a factory preset that can’t be changed, and is permanent defect in manufacturing. Under Picture mode, Dynamic shows clean blue color, Movie is yellow murky tint; all 4 Dynamic, Standard, Natural, and Movie; energy star logo next to Standard, but all 3 are affected by auto-dimming, except for movie. During Blu-Ray, PS3 or PS4 game going to a dark image the picture dims way too much blocking out dark video images that are actuall visuals need be seen the tv doesn’t recognize deep dark images, not smart technology but stupid. Press info watch the “gauge like middle finger” bottom right of screen, gauge between Led tv and conventional, that decreases energy to picture darkness and works with energy star savings. This cheats customers out of quality. So all Samsung tvs and all UHD on display in store are fake and illusional because of energy star. When Smart tv are no longer samsung stupid when its IQ reaches 50, they should sell better. I would gladly trade my new 5200 series one for older Samsung UN46EH6000FXZA without Energy Star.

      Reply
      • Brian HIll

        Geza, There should be a ‘Movie’ picture mode setting that does not have the energy star logo by it. I suggest setting the TV to operate in this mode. After setting the TV to default to the ‘movie’ setting, make sure that the movie mode is selected for all inputs into your TV. The settings can change depending on which input is being used. Once you have verified the picture mode setting for each input, then double-check to see that the eco settings are set to off in the picture mode. Do this for each input being used on your TV. The settings sometimes appear to be off but only in the picture mode being watched and for the input being used. The picture settings can be manipulated manually to brighten the picture and change the contrast for everyday viewing after the TV is in ‘movie’ mode.

    • DM

      I just bought J5500 Series 32″ for the kitchen. Factory setting was set to STD which utilizes ECO mode. Turned ECO off through setting and screen went to normal intensity in STD mode. So no problems there. With that being said I tried Normal mode and resolution and color were much richer than in STD mode. So not only movie mode keeps ECO set to OFF.

      Reply
  2. don, Ontario, Canada

    hi.. I recently purchased my first SMART tv.. and really I am quite pleased, but several items are bothersome.
    SAMSUNG UN48J5200AF. I can take unit back, no questions asked. , get another identical unit or try a SONY.
    AUTO DIMMING as mentioned in article above has been addressed.. and I have got Eco off, Standard mode selected. . . but no results. The picture adjusts constantly to match the overall picture brightness. Titles at end of movies.. if only three lines of white type, brighntess is almost set to off.. the words are grey colour. If titles or credits fill the screen, they are bright white because there are a lot of them. If background picture is bright when credits run, the text will be white.. but if background picture fades… so does the titles… can hardly read them.. Dark scenes get so dark that you cant see the characters. Any comments
    thanks

    Reply
    • Brian HIll

      Don, please see the response sent to Geza. I believe you are both experiencing similar issues.

      Reply
  3. Angel

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Totally thought my $3.5k tv was broken right after warranty! You saved me

    Reply
  4. Travis Simmons

    Ditto, Angel. Brian Hill: Samsung should be paying you. Don’t get how EnergyStar could possibly be a selling point. Anytime I see that or “eco”, I expect the appliance to be over-priced and dysfunctional. You can’t even buy a decent gas can anymore.

    Reply
  5. Judy

    Resolved the issue by going to the eco sensor mode turning it on then brightening the eim all the way to 20

    JUST .BOUGHT A SAMSUNG 6 SERIES CURVE WITH THE SA,ME ISSUE . solved the issue by going to the eco sensor setting turn on and adjust the dimness all the way up Tv doesn not go dim

    Reply
  6. Liz

    Help! I have tried all your suggestions and nothing is working. I’ve already replaced my tv (with a Sony) but don’t have the heart to throw this one out yet as it is only 3 years old.

    Reply
    • Brian HIll

      Hi Liz, my initial thought is a question. Have you followed the steps for all of your inputs? If you only change the setting on one input others will still have the Eco setting set to on. If you have changed the settings on all of your inputs, then I would need to know more about your specific situation to offer additional advice. Brian

      Reply
  7. FrustratedFrenchman

    UN46H4203…..this is the model of my Samsung smart TV. It was sold without the remote…I am trying to find one online but I am also wondering if there is a Samsung (or other) universal smart tv remote that will do what you are sharing above. My screen constantly dims and I want to try what you are advising. Thoughts

    Reply
    • Steve Cooper

      We sell and program a lot of Logitech Harmony universal remotes. You can pick up a Harmony 650 from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Remote-Control-Silver-Current/dp/B004OVECU0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1504206039&sr=8-3&keywords=harmony+650

      Once you’ve programmed the remote follow these steps:

      1. Press the Devices button in the center directly below the screen
      2. Press the button beside the section of the screen that says Samsung TV
      3. Press the Menu button second row below the screen on the left side of the remote

      Just use the arrows and OK button to follow the steps in the article. (Note that your settings screens might look a bit different from those in the article)

      Once you’re done making your changes:

      1. Press the Exit button below the menu button to get out of the settings screen
      2. Press the Back button in the center directly below the screen
      3. Press the Activity button in the center directly below the screen

      Please let us know about your progress.

      Reply
  8. Justin

    I found that my eco sensor would always dim the display because my cable box was directly under the right side (must be where the sensor is) so the TV always thought the room was dark. Moved the box, works fine now. (I wanted the eco sensor on mind you, it would be fine if I just turned it off as well)

    Reply
  9. Jess

    My Samsung just went really dark all of a sudden. I tried all the troubleshooting options and Eco settings and still dark. Could it be that the hdmi cable needs to be replaced? The tv is not that old maybe 5 yrs.

    Reply
    • Steve Cooper

      Jess,

      There are a lot of connection situations: One source device or multiple devices (cable, DVD, game console, HTPC, etc.); plugging devices directly into the TV or going through an AV receiver; perhaps a combination of direct and AV receiver connections. In general, check things from the simple to the complex. For brevity, I’m going to be a bit general.

      Start with connections: Check to make sure all cables are connected properly by pulling them out, then plugging them back in. This checks for cats, dogs, kids, a cleaning session, etc. that might have dislodged the cable(s). This will also do a bit of a check on the cables themselves — We actually had a cable end fall apart on us when we unplugged it.

      Turn off (actually unplug from the wall) all devices. Wait for a minute or so. Turn on devices. We highly recommend a high-quality power strip or power conditioner (For example, Furman). A power conditioner will not fix a dimming problem. Power conditioners simply protect the devices and make it easier to do a hard reboot (turning off, then on, all power).

      Make sure all software on all devices are updated to the latest version. Check the support section of the manufacturer’s websites. Non-updated software shouldn’t cause a dimming problem, but updating will often reset a default setting or undo a setting that’s causing problems or fix a bug in the software.

      Go into settings and reset to factory defaults.

      If, after the above steps are taken, the settings screen is too dim, the TV probably needs to be repaired or replaced.

      At this point you’re into checking cables and source devices. Remember to go from simple to complex and don’t spend money where you don’t have to.

      Swap cables to different inputs. Often the problem is on one input (indicating the TV or AV receiver needs to be repaired or replaced). If the problem is on all inputs, it’s either the TV or AV receiver that needs repairing or replacing.

      Now you’re into checking the devices and the cables. Think cheap! Don’t buy a new cable just to do a check if you have another available. Unplug the DVD cable and use it to check the cable box input and such. Also, the first device to check should be your cable box. Does the DVD player work on the input normally used by the cable box? If you think it’s the cable box, take it into the cable company or send it back to them. They’ll give you a replacement for free. We’ve had to do this with satellite receivers and with cable boxes. If you think it’s a DVD player problem, confirm it by trying one from another room or borrowing one from a friend or relative, if you can.

      Finally, you might have to buy (or borrow) an HDMI cable to complete your tests and in the end, you might have to repair or replace your TV or a source device.

      The best of luck to you. Please let us know how things turned out.

      Reply
  10. Pam

    My mother, who is visually impaired, was having the dimming issue with her Samsung TV – thanks for the tips here, however I could not find the “Eco” setting – I did see the “Energy Saver” logo next to the “Standard” setting, so I changed her TV to “Dynamic” – the picture was noticeably brighter and the colors sharp. We watched for 15 minutes and it did not dim back, so I’m hoping this will be the solution for her.

    Reply
  11. Candy

    Thanks for your straight forward instructions: you know your stuff and know how to your knowledge. Big props!

    Reply
  12. Peter Douglas

    I have a 7.5 watt lamp behind the tv. It runs switched off my reciever and fools the eco sensor!

    Reply
  13. Alex

    I’m visually impaired, I have 7000 series samsung smart TV. Once TV input is switched to unconnected input, or switched to a device which is currently off, the TV is dimmed, and it is extremely hard for me to see the screen, in order to switch to another input.
    Any chance this dimming can be turned off? Thanks a lot!

    Reply

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