Buying Broken Plasma and LCD TVs off eBay

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Buying Broken Plasma and LCD TVs off eBay
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My name is Jim Vosika of ShopJimmy.Com, one of the largest sellers of broken Plasma and LCD TV’s on the internet. This guide is to teach people things they need to know about buying broken TVs on eBay or elsewhere on the internet. Often people come to us wanting to buy a broken TV thinking they will be able to spend $150 and get a working $5000 Plasma TV, then get mad at us when they realize that is not the case.

Whether you are in the market to purchase a broken TV or want to know what to do with yours we will try and answer your questions.  We will go over 2 topics in the guide:

1. Defining a Broken TV
2. Options with a Broken TV

Defining a Broken TV

There are several types of broken Plasma and LCD TVs:

1. Broken Screens
2. Functionality Issues
3. Cosmetic Defects

Broken Screens

TVs with Broken Screen are the worst of any broken TVs you will find on eBay, also the most common thing we sell so they are not all that bad.

Plasma TVs have 2 screens or 2 pieces of glass, one is the outer glass that just offers protection to the inner screen.  If the outer glass breaks you will still be able to watch your TV but should replace the glass before further damage is ensued.  The new glass should be ordered from the TV manufacturer directly, you could have a standard piece of glass cut and that will work but ordering from the manufacturer will get you a piece of optically perfect glass giving you a much better viewing experience.

If you just had outer damage then you were lucky; the most common broken part with a broken Plasma due to physical damage is the inner screen, also known as the “plasma panel”, “plasma screen”, “the screen”, “the tube”, “the pdp (plasma display panel)”, or simply “the display”.  Sellers will use terms on their websites or in their listings like: “broken screen”, “cracked screen”, “broken panel”, “no picture”, “for parts or repair”, “as-is”, “damage”, “does not work”, “broken LCD (even though there is no LCD in a Plasma)”, etc.  Some sellers may not mention any problem in the title so be sure to read descriptions!

It is often very obvious that you have a broken plasma panel, you usually will see large pieces of broken glass but in some cases the break is not visible at all.  A plasma panel may look flawless but could still have a bad panel.  You may have a hidden hairline crack on the outer edge, the filler tube (how they fill the display with gas) could be broken, ribbon cables connecting the panel to the circuitry could be damaged, etc.  One of the most common ways to tell if your panel is broken, if you do not see the damage, is to turn the TV on, if you see a picture you are ok but if there is not picture and you hear a buzzing noise from the set or the speakers then your panel need to be replaced.

When the plasma panel breaks it releases a gas and will no longer be able to display a picture.  The panel itself must be removed and replaced with a new one, there is no way to repair a damaged plasma panel.  We have many customers who purchase our Plasma TVs with broken panels, put brand new plasma panels in them, then sell them as refurbished units.  You will find, if you do your research, that some TVs are economical to put in a new panel in and others it would make more sense to just buy a new TV. 

LCD TVs do not have the piece of glass to protect the screen, there is some protection but once you break an LCD screen it is just as bad as breaking the inner Plasma Panel as discussed previously.  Sellers would refer to the type of broken TV almost the same using terms like: “broken screen”, “cracked screen”, “broken panel”, “broken LCD”, “no picture”, “for parts or repair”, “as-is”, “damage”, “does not work”, etc.

There are some differences with a broken LCD then a broken Plasma. First off if you break the LCD Panel you do not have the mess of little pieces of glass everywhere, also you will still be able to turn on your TV and possibly view a partial picture or just see a large colorful spider web effect showing where the physical damage is.  The panel will still need to be replaced either way to get a perfect picture again.

Functionality Issues

You can buy TVs off eBay with minor functionality issues, some may easy fixes  and others may just have issues that do not bother you.  We have been able to fix many units in the past just by taking the back of the TV off and attaching a cable that has come loose,  or if the TV doesn’t power on then replacing the power supply, in other cases people don’t care if something like built-in speakers don’t work if they plan to use their home theatre system instead. 

These types of TVs will usually be listed as “for repair”, “needs repair”, “does not work”, “no picture”, “no sound”, “no power”, “has issues”, “needs work”, “as-is”, etc.

Cosmetic Defects

These TVs could have broken protective screens on Plasmas as discussed earlier, could have physical damage to the casing around the TV, scratched on the outer glass or on an lcd screen, etc.  Be careful when purchasing a TV like this that the physical damage has not damaged the panel.

Options with a Broken TV

If the panel is broken, you may just want to sell it on eBay and go buy a new one.  Or you could remove and catalog the parts in the TV and sell them individually.

If you are just experiencing functionality issues you could buy a TV with a broken TV off ebay and swap the parts out. Make sure the TV model numbers are exactly the same and the board model numbers that you swap out are also the exact same.

Last resort you could recycle the TV with a local electronics recycler.  We are located in Minnesota so the only ones we know of around here are and These companies just serve Minnesota, Iowa and parts of Wisconsin.

Good Luck and please email us with any questions, comments or feedback about our guide!

Jim Vosika

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