How to Fix Samsung TV Not Showing or Displaying Full Screen Picture Issue

Have you ever hooked up your shiny new Samsung smart TV, pressed play on your favorite Netflix show, and noticed black bars on the sides of the screen instead of a fully immersive picture? Annoying, right?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Lots of folks run into this fairly common screen issue on Samsung TV.

Best-Tips-to-Fix-Samsung-TV-Not-Showing-or-Displaying-Full-Screen-Picture-Error
Photo credit by Marcel Strauß from Unsplash

Best Tips to Fix Samsung TV Not Showing or Displaying Full Screen Picture Error

But there’s good news: it’s usually an easy fix. This quick guide will show you a few tricks to get your Samsung TV displaying a full screen image, no matter what you’re watching.

Solution #1 – Make Sure the Source Device Resolution Matches Your TV

  • Today’s TVs display content in ultra-sharp 4K resolution
  • But your cable box may only output an older 1080p signal
  • This prevents the TV from filling the screen fully
  • Check your playback device video settings for output resolution
  • Match that to your Samsung TV’s native display resolution
  • For 4K TVs, set cable boxes, streaming sticks, etc to 3840 x 2160
  • Consult manual if unsure of TV resolution

See if tweaking the video settings on your cable box, Blu-ray player, streaming stick or game console to match your Samsung TV’s native resolution solves the issue.

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Solution #2 – Fiddle with Your Samsung’s Picture Size Menu

  • Most Samsung TVs let you manage display modes
  • Find “Picture Size” menu in Settings > Display
  • Choose from Full Screen, Fit to Screen, 16:9, etc
  • Full Screen forces input to match TV’s dimensions
  • Fit to Screen stretches picture to eliminate black bars
  • Toggle modes to get desired full screen effect

If output resolution matching doesn’t work, diving into your TV’s Picture Size menus provides more options like forcing full screen display or fitting/stretching content.

Solution #3 – Securely Reseat All Video Input Connections

Securely-Reseat-All-Video-Input-Connections
Photo credit by Patrick Campanale from Unsplash
  • A loose HDMI cable can prevent full screen display
  • Disconnect cables from TV and playback devices
  • Securely reinsert all connections fully
  • Try different HDMI ports on TV if available
  • Test with different HDMI cables if possible
  • Bad cables can cause handshaking issues

It never hurts to unplug, inspect, and firmly reconnect all HDMI or other video cables between your Samsung TV and the source equipment. Faulty cables are more common than you think. Swap ’em out!

Solution #4 – Factory Reset Samsung as Last Resort

  • If all else fails, reset your TV
  • Go to General Settings > Reset
  • Choose reset picture settings or full factory reset
  • Will erase all custom display adjustments
  • Allows you reconfigure like brand new

When desperate, restoring factory default video settings is an option. Just know it’ll wipe out any custom tweaks you’ve dutifully dialed in over the years. Sometimes it’s the nuclear option that works when nothing else does!

What If My Samsung TV Has Black Bars On All 4 Sides?

Don’t you just hate the movie theater “letterbox” look on your nice TV? Fear not – chances are pretty good a quick settings change will banish those black bars for good.

  • Check your Samsung’s Aspect Ratio first
  • Find the Picture Size control options
  • Cycle from 16:9 to Full Screen
  • This signals the TV to enlarge picture
  • Eliminating side and top/bottom black bars

By explicitly telling your Samsung to display a full screen image, you can override the native aspect ratio signal from devices like Blu-ray players. Most of the time this stretches the video perfectly.

Will Screen Burn-In Occur If Content Doesn’t Fit Screen?

Will-Screen-Burn-In-Occur-If-Content-Doesnt-Fit-Screen
Image credit by Samsung

Modern OLED and QLED Samsung TV owners often worry about image retention and burn-in. What happens when letterboxed video is displayed for hours?

  • Good news! Display technology has improved greatly
  • OLED and QLED panels now very resistant
  • Samsung builds in protective measures
  • Pixel shifting prevents uneven wear
  • Screen savers activate with static content
  • Most burn-in fears are exaggerated

Nowadays, permanently etching an image into your expensive Samsung TV screen is highly unlikely. The manufacturer uses all sorts of safeguards to actively protect against uneven pixel degradation. Enjoy peace of mind.

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David Porter
David Porter
David is prolific writer and full-time Digital Nomad who loves to follow the recent technology updates on streaming. In his free time, he loves surfing and travel.

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