Yes you are 50% right. The problem with your laptop is either the inverter module or the backlight itself. If you have a little electronic background and have the correct tools, you might be able to repair it. Although, its more practical to replace it with a new one. It is normally located on the lower front part of your LCD panel. If you can remove the front cover of the display, the you will find it on the lower part. It normally have two connectors, one comes from the mainboard, and another (2 wires) goes directly to the backlight.
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Check your aerial connection is OK. Then go into the setup menu of your TV and do a full channel scan. If it's the actual screen that's faulty, it will be the backlight. Try shining a torch into the screen when you turn it on to see if you can see any characters. If you can, it's definitely the backlight at fault. Either the tube or driver board if it's a cold cathode tube, or just the power if it's LED backlight.
To fix you will have to open the case, inspect components (check internal fuses first with a meter or buzzer). Check cables/connections.
Check socketed devices. CCFL/drivers spares on ebay.
This sounds like your monitor back light is not working. If you look really hard at the screen, can you see a very dim picture? If so the back light isn't working. This is almost always an inverter problem and can be fixed.
Hi, there, pleasy clarify the following:
What is your Gateway model?
Is your TV an older tube type or a new HDTV? Does it have other input ports besides the standard cable input and the RCA you mentioned? You may be able to use S-Video if your laptop has the output port and so does your old TV. Or if you have a newer laptop that includes DVI and you have an HDTV, then you can use a DVI to HDMI cable which by the way will result in the best image quality.
If I get what your saying, the bulb is getting dimmer as you use it. Almost all of the laptops I have worked on with what your describing it is an inverter or a bulb. If it has dark on the sides and then goes dark it may be the bulb going bad which can make the inverter go bad. Just like having bad bulbs in a flourecent light can make the ballast bad.
I would get an inverter from ebay and install it. Its really pretty easy to change (normally). I see you had this done under warranty before. If you dont know how to do this I can tell you how. Get the inverter first and a small screwdriver set then if you need help I posted a description to another persons question and told them how to change the bulb. You should be able to get the idea about the inverter swap from that post or contact me. Hope this helps... Dale