How to Troubleshoot a Black Square on the Picture


An accidental hit of the TV remote control or a wrong selection in the TV menu can cause a black box to appear on the television screen. This black box is one of two things: it may be a closed captioning box or it may be the picture-in-picture feature -- both can be associated with a black box on the TV screen. And both will stay on the TV screen indefinitely unless you can figure out how to turn off the feature.

How to Remove a Black Box from the Television Screen

  • Turn off the TV, cable box/satellite TV box and unplug them for 1 minute. Sometimes, this will cause the system to reset, eliminating the black box from the television screen.

  • Determine if it's a closed captioning box or a picture-in-picture box. A closed captioning box may be a small square or a long rectangle; it will be positioned at the top of the screen or at the bottom of the screen. A picture-in-picture box will be much larger --- usually taking up about one-quarter of the screen --- and it will sit in one of the corners.

  • Look on your cable box/satellite TV box remote for a button that says "Captions" or "CC" (for closed captioning) or "PIP" (for picture-in-picture). If you find a button, press it to remove the black box from the screen.

  • Look on the remote for the television (the remote will be the same brand as the television) and search for a button that says "Captions" or "CC" (for closed captioning) or "PIP" (for picture-in-picture). Again, if you find a button, press it to remove the black box from the screen.

  • Look for a "menu" button on the television or on the remotes if steps 3 and 4 fail to resolve the problem. Press the "menu" button to access the menus for the TV or cable/satellite-related menus.

  • Search for a menu option related to picture-in-picture (also known as "PIP) or closed captioning (also known as "CC" or "captioning.") These are most likely to be under menu items like "options," "tools," "appearance" or "accessories," but if searches in these areas of the menu are not successful, it will be necessary to systematically search each section of the menu.

  • Call your cable company or satellite TV service provider and ask to speak with someone in the technical help department. If the closed captioning or picture-in-picture features are part of the cable/satellite service, they will be able to guide you through the steps necessary to remove the box from the screen. In some cases, they may not be able to help if the PIP or CC feature is operated by the actual television (rather than the cable/satellite box).

  • Call the customer service line for the company that makes the television if step 7 does not solve the problem. The number for the customer service line will be in the owner's manual or on the company's website.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the black box appeared after accidentally hitting the remote, this will tell you whether the black box is associated with the cable/satellite TV box or the actual television. If the remote came with the cable/satellite TV box, then you'll want to search the cable/satellite TV box menu or call the company for help. If you hit a button on the remote to the actual TV (the remote is the same brand as the TV), then you'll want to search the TV's menu or call the TV manufacturer for help.
  • If there are words or symbols inside the black box, it's a closed captioning box. A box without words/symbols may still be a closed captioning box; this occurs if the closed captioning feature is not enabled via the cable/satellite service.


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