Original topic:

Super weird flickering problem with Samsung 85" Q70R QLED 4K (2019)

(Topic created on: 1/14/21 2:10 PM)
keltraine
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Hi all, I just started experiencing a SUPER WEIRD flickering problem on my Samsung 85" Q70R QLED 4K TV from 2019...the warranty expires in a couple weeks (1/31/21) so any quick replies are appreciated!

 

Model:  QN85Q70RAFXZA

 

Basically the screen just started flickering...it's a light flicker at first but then it increases in intensity and speed the longer the TV is on and it's completely distracting and even starts to hurt your eyes after a bit.  The super weird thing is (and I've done a bunch of troubleshooting steps btw) that the flicker problem goes away when I start the Netflix app on the TV!  Yes, it *completely* disappears and the TV looks like it's fine with no problems-but as soon as I exit Netflix the flicker is BACK!

 

Note that the problem is present with all HDMI inputs (two different TiVos and a Spectrum Cable Box), AND also the Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and EVEN the Samsung TV Plus apps...just not Netflix!  SUPER WEIRD right?

 

I also had another weird problem which is resolved now (which may or may not be related)...I contacted Samsung tech support and they said to do a Factory Reset from the TV menu...so I went into that menu and tried to enter the PIN (still set to the default of 0000) but when I went to the spot to enter the first number, the on-screen menu with numbers to choose from was NOT coming up at the bottom-and hitting the 123 button did not bring it up either...I power-cycled the TV and did a bunch of things and nothing was letting me enter any numbers in that field!

 

After some Googling for the problem, I found a suggestion to download a remote app and try it that way-and that actually worked fine and I was able to do the Factory Reset!  And FYI, now when I go back into that same menu, it does at least bring up the menu at the bottom to select the numbers, so that problem is fixed...but the flickering is still there and getting worse over time, so the factory reset didn't fix that...

 

I've done all the troubleshooting steps (I'm a network engineer so I know how to troubleshoot etc fwiw) and even removed all the cables except the ethernet cable and just used the apps on the TV.  The behavior I mentioned above (only Netflix has no flicker) is still the same.  Again, super weird right-why would Netflix be the only one that works fine?!

 

So I have have a tech support visit scheduled by a local repair center, but I'm not too optimistic as I looked up the reviews and they're really NOT GOOD.  So I'm hoping that there are folks who are more knowledgeable out here and might know what's going on or have some ideas of some further things I can do.

 

To be clear, at this point I would have normally said that the mainboard or the backlight is failing and I definitely need a hardware replacement...the only thing that gives me pause with that hypothesis is that Netflix works fine...how would a hardware problem be mitigated by using the Netflix app? So it makes me wonder if it's not some sort of software thing or problem that could be fixed with an update-oh and the TV is on the latest firmwware, 1372 and was when this started happening.

 

Anyway, I've loved the TV the past two years and would love for it to last a long time after this but now I'm worried...any ideas/thoughts/advice/help much appreciated!

 

10 Replies
keltraine
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Interesting; went into the menu and checked the Backlight settings; after the reset it was set to 40 (default I guess)...increasing it to the max setting of 50 reduced the flicker, but it's still there-but not as bad...  And if I reduce the backlight setting to 0, the flicker becomes very apparent and worse than at 40!

So I guess it's something to do with the one or both of the dual backlights on this unit going bad maybe...?  If so it means at least maybe replacing the backlights might solve the problem...?  But again, if that's the case, then why does Netflix work perfectly...?!  Sooo weird...

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keltraine
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Oh and here's a video I uploaded to YouTube just now showing the issue...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68gMATKg00c

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keltraine
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Update; someone suggested that it might be the 4K upscaler chip and the reason that Netflix doesn't have the problem is b/c it is completely natively 4K...which is the only hypothesis I've found that even remotely makes sense and fits the observed data, so I'm liking it!

I had a weird serious red push issue testing from my PC (was testing HD 1080p vs UHD 4K) but it turns out it was just the Night Light settings in Windows, which wasn't turning off, even though the switch was off and I confirmed that-had to reboot and the color shift issue went away.

Interesting thing is I watched TV late last night and all morning today and there was no flicker...so it's a somewhat transient issue too...maybe related to heat then...?

Hope someone sees this and has some ideas...!  Do any serious Samsung customer support people read these forums btw?

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keltraine
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Latest video (longer and more detailed than the first) of the problems from last night/this morning around 3am...

https://youtu.be/4PvZTCgZSCg

Samsung 85" Q70R QLED 4K (2019) flicker problem 2
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SamsungJustin
Community Manager
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Hello, Keltraine. From the video provided, and from what you're saying about it not doing it within the applications, it sounds like it may be an issue with the HDMI cable could be potentially going bad. once you go into the application, and exit out it refreshes the signal, which is why it may stop for a little bit then eventually start back up. My advise would be to try a different HDMI cable, Also, make sure to check your power saving options make sure those are off, with the flickering not occurring within the apps as well, I wouldn't think this to be an issue with the television itself, May be an issue with the external devices. 

 

 

 

keltraine
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Appreciate the response (a bit surprised that you're literally the only one I've gotten in all this time!  Maybe everyone is just dumbfounded at how weird this really is...! :P)

But I think you missed some details in my original post and follow-ups (they're in the video too).  The problem only goes away with Netflix-it is still persistent in all other onboard apps on the Android OS on the TV and when the TV is flickering, it never goes away in any of the apps-but while it's happening, I can go load Netflix and the problem goes away and stays away-and if I exit Netflix, it comes back again instantly.

Also, I can make the problem go away with my PC (as per my latest video).  Using different (and I tested multiple HDMI cables btw) HDMI ports on the TV, I can make it flicker as long as the window on the TV is not full-screen, and at either HD or UHD resolution.  As soon as I make the window full-screen, the flicker is instantly gone and I can wait as long as I want-and as soon as I make the window non full-screen, the flicker comes back.

Also, while it's flickering with a non full-screen window, I can launch Netflix and the flicker goes away.  When it's not flickering with a full-screen window, if I launch an app like HBO Max (anything other than Netflix) it still flickers...

So, like I said, SUPER WEIRD no?  The techs came yesterday though and I'll report back/update with what happened then in a bit!

In the meantime, WTEF right @SamsungJustin ?!

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SamsungJustin
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Thank you for replying! If it's happening in those other apps, Yeah, definitely sounds like a serviceable situation. Please keep us posted! 

Norm1862
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I have exactly the same problem with a 55 inch version of the same TV. Though I have not yet checked if it goes away with Netflix it occurs with no source connected to the TV. The TV ran out of warranty at the end of July so Samsung is doing nothing about it other than to schedule a repair but this only started happening when I started using a 4k source on the TV. I was hooked up to basic cable before but now have a an AV receiver that upconverts to 4k. A month after doing this the TV started its flickering. I have been told this could be the display panel $500+ or one of the other boards at 200+ each. I have loads of Samsung products including 2 other TV's, phones watches etc and I find Samsung lack of help extremely disappointing considering it is not even 2 years old and was my highest ticket item I have purchased from them. It is sounding very much to me that their Q70 was in fact a junk version of their qled 4k TV's and was not built to handle native 4k properly. You are lucky. you are still under warranty. Me I am looking at basically paying for the TV again but it will probably be for another brand that stands behind their products.
keltraine
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Hey @Norm1862 sorry to hear that!  That's no bueno that Samsung isn't being more helpful.  It's interesting you say that it only started happening when using 4K, though I honestly think that might be coincidental.  I forgot to update what happened with me so I'll let you know:

 

They sent some service people out and while it wasn't happening when they were there, I explained in great detail all my troubleshooting and showed them the multiple videos that I took which I'd linked here.  After listening for a while they basically said all they can do is replace parts and that they came with those parts.

Turns out the TV only has a few parts-I didn't realize that once you open it it's pretty simple-there's the outside/back case.  Once you take that off you see the panel and backlight and that's one solid piece that does not come apart.  Attached to the back of that were literally just 3 circuits boards.  In the middle is the SPMS board with ribbon cables and it apparently distributes the picture to the panel.  Then there's only two other boards-one is the mainboard/computer which has the Android OS on it etc.  The other board is the power board that the plug connects to.  The only other part is the plastic piece at the bottom which is the speaker.

So it turns out they brought a new panel and new mainboard and were fine with replacing them both!  So the only parts from the original TV that were left were the power board, speaker and back case-it's basically a new TV.  I honestly don't know why they wouldn't just ship a new TV at that point as the panel basically came in the same sized box the TV originally came in!

Anyway it was a simple and quick matter to unscrew those boards since we were only keeping the power board and speaker.  Also turns out that the new panel comes with the SPMS board attached to it already!  So I got a new one of those too.  They put the new mainboard in and the old power board back, old speaker, and put the old back case back on and we were done!

Now the one interesting thing the tech said that was he felt the panel which had been on for a couple hours-and he noted that it was warm to the touch.  He claimed that that was unusual and the panel should NOT be warm, so the working hypothesis was that it was a bad panel and since I was getting a replacement hopefully that would (I guess for now) fix the problem.  It also did make some sense since my problem didn't happen immediately when turning on the TV, but it usually started happening later on in the day after the TV had been on for a while...

So hopefully it was just a rare bad panel/manufacturing issue and that's why more people haven't seen the problem since no one else has posted about it (other than you I guess) and replacing the panel will address the problem.

I know it doesn't help in your case since you're out of warranty, but hopefully at least if you decide to go through with the replacement I'd say that you should get the panel/backlight piece replaced.  Another thing to do might be to is to have the TV on for a while before they show up and see if the panel does feel hot once they take it down and open it up...at least that way you'd know if that was the problem and be hopeful it would be an actual fix...

The other thing I can suggest is to call Samsung and maybe try to escalate it to a manager/supervisor in the warranty dept as I did have one of those folks contact me and he was SUPER helpful in explaining things and was very considerate and even txt'ed me so I could contact him and keep in touch and generally much more helpful than I expected and he was saying I could contact him directly to keep in touch and make sure things went well...  I can even try contacting him tomorrow to see if I can direct him to this post and see if maybe he can help you too!

Hope that helps, and sorry for your trouble!  Let me know if you have any other questions...best of luck!

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