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Video: What's inside your 4K TV?

We take apart a TV and show you what's in there

Somewhat paradoxically, TVs have gotten both thinner and more complex over the years. We took our TV expert to our repair & returns center to take apart a 4K TV set and see how manufacturers can fit so much processing power and picture quality into such a thin package.


Hi I'm Steve, Crutchfield TV guy, and I'm over here in our warehouse today with Julio and Chad and we're going to disassemble a Sony TV and show you what the innards look like. This is one of their 900 series LED LCD TVs, 65 inch, and we do test and repair TVs here. I feel I'm not sure if everyone knows that, but we have got a lot of experience in that area. So until a couple weeks ago I had never seen the inside of a TV. I had no idea what everything did, so it was a real learning experience for me to check this out.

We got several main components, here this is the power board which powers everything. It takes the AC electricity from the wall, knocks it down to DC, and supplies the devices like the motherboard. The LED backlight requires a lot of power. Some of the other boards we got going on here, this is the timing controller board that actually controls what the pixels do. This is a 4K TV, so we have 8.3 million pixels. Each one of those pixels has three subpixels, and so this controller handles the timing of the opening and the closing of the pixels to form the picture.

So that over there is the motherboard, and as you can see there's a couple of really big processors on there. You also see all of the inputs, the HDMI inputs and the USB inputs, the ethernet jack, all that stuff. And this is the inverter board, and this is what drives the actual backlight. In TVs like this where you've got a full-array local dimming backlight, there are zones of Illumination. This board controls that, controlling it at very high speeds, at least 60 frames a second.

And again here is your power board, you can see if it's got a pretty beefy amount of capacitors inside to keep the power flowing, and we just want to remind folks that disassembling this TV, it's broken, we're not going to be putting it back together, but this is absolutely something that just experts should do. This is nothing you should try at home, partly because there's just a lot of parts that are very delicate, but also these TVs can hold a charge well after you unplug it from the wall.

This little thing here is the Wi-Fi board, this also contains the Bluetooth receiver. Now if you're doing streaming services with your TV, you want to have good Wi-Fi performance, and this includes the power for the controller and the light controller. If you can see this channel control, TVs have almost no external control any more, you do everything with the remote

So these are your stereo speakers, and as you can see they're pretty small and that's that's why we really recommend that, unless you’re just watching reality shows you really should get at least a sound bar. Because the TV speakers fire downward, they do a very poor job at projecting sound toward you. This is the Wi-Fi antenna and this is called a t-con board, or timing controller board, and this is what controls the pixels.

So what actually looks like just a thin sheet of glass there is actually like a glass sandwich. You have the back glass, and then you have not actually one transistor per pixel, but actually one for every sub-pixel. Then you’ve got the transistor layer and the LCD, layer by layer, and then you've also got the red, green, and blue color filter layer and then you've got the front clasp. So you got really the primary guts of the TV display sandwiched in between a thin, flexible layer of glass.

So now what we're looking at right now is one of the diffuser panels, because at the very back you've got your LED backlight, but you need to have a diffuser panels to spread the light out really evenly so that you don't have any hot spots on the screen in the areas that are brighter than any others. And this is a 65 inch TV, probably has three diffuser layers because as a screen gets bigger you have to do more to spread the light out.

So this is a second diffuser panel, so now you can see that led light array and this is a 65 inch so it has 180 LEDs. So now we're down to the back chassis, and this is the LEDs, and that's pretty much it. When we get TVs back for repair a lot of times there's really nothing wrong with the guts of it, so we were able to salvage parts we keep them on hand and they're available. If a customer needs to get his TV repaired, he can send it back to us and we can use these salvaged parts. If there are some parts of the TV we can’t use or recycle, we send to a local salvage yard but nothing goes to the landfill.

So if you have any questions about TVs, always feel like you can call Crutchfield because we know TVs inside and out. Thanks a lot for watching.

Last updated 8/14/2019