You are probably looking at a dead backlight. LCD TVs have lights in them that are required to brighten the display, otherwise you wouldn't see much. Most TVs are edge lit, which means there is a long mercury lamp across either the sides or top and/or bottom. It sounds like one is out on your TV. You may need to replace the entire panel, or you could have a model with replaceable lights, I'm not sure. You could try googling for replacement parts and see what you can find.