Tip & How-To about Televison & Video

Curing the "black box" on some TV channels

Here's the symptom: A mysterious black box covers some or most of the picture on your TV, but not all the time. It may not show up on all channels, or sometimes it disappears only to come back later.

No, it's not the picture tube, it's your closed-captioning. Somehow your TV has been set to "text mode", and the screen is being cleared for text that isn't there. On channels or shows where captions aren't being broadcast, there's no box. But the box returns when captioning is being sent.

Many TV set remote controls have a single button to set closed-caption modes, so it's easy to set a TV to "text" without knowing it. (Especially when you have kids who love to press buttons!) Then when the box pops up, it's a mystery.

Simply press the captioning button on the remote, or use the set's menu, to cycle through the settings until you turn captions off. No more box!

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1 Answer

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Your Close Caption is turned on. Search in your menu for Captions, and turn it off.

Nov 14, 2008 | Televison & Video

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Sounds like something is imposing Picture in picture on your scrren with no source attached to the other picture. Could be cable or Sat or some other device, or TV PIP.

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Saying that the problem is with your TV doesn't make any sense since your TV is fed from the cable box.  Your TV doesn't know one channel from the next.  If it had a problem it would effect all channels.  You may not have enough signal to the INPUT of your cable box due to a problem on the pole or at your house or both.  Insufficient signal can cause some digital channels to not get decoded properly by the cable box.  The lower channels will show noise symptoms such as what you describe but they won't crap out altogether like the digital ones.  Have a cable tech come out and measure the signals.

Do you have splitters in line with the cable anywhere?  If there's any way to beef up the amount of signal getting to the cable box try it. 

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1 Answer

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The close caption feature most be on and you need to disable it to get rid of the black box,the close caption must be set in any mode for the box to come up,maybe text1 or text2.Go thru the menu options until you get to the CC feature,some remotes have a key to bring it up and disable it.Let us know if you need more information.

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