Warning to all TV watchers if you have an OLED TV
My very learned and experienced Electronics Technician friend shared this interesting fact with me last week — Be alert to the fact that the new OLED TVs are subject to screen burn, by which it means that if the screen is left on a high contrast image for too long the image can burn into the screen permanently.
You may have seen a burned in image on an old CRT screen – especially computer monitors or perhaps on a Plasma TV’s. But, you say – we didn’t have this problem with our LED TV’s! Correct – and that is because of the way the screens are lit on LED screens.
Briefly – LED TV’s have lamps around the edge or to the back of the TV screen for light and there is a low powered LCD in front which switches tiny Blue, Red and Green pixels on or off to produce a picture. Due to this technology it is unlikely to have images burn in. Over time the screen can dull but it dulls evenly.
OLED TV’s do not have a backlight, to achieve brightness and contrast, but instead have a screen made up of high intensive individual Blue, Red and Green LED’s (Which made the picture look so crisp and clear you just had to buy one) however, any pixels that are left turned on at a high brightness for a few hours or so start to heat-up and gradually they dull but the pixels around them do not. So over time you get this after image from the overheated pixels all being dull and the others all being bright.
The thing is, this happens gradually over a long time (12-18 months or more) and at first you will not notice it. The TV also has a built-in auto correct that checks all the pixels brightness every time you turn the set on. It then automatically corrects the dull pixels to brighten them to match the ones around it. However there is only so much auto correction the TV can do, after which the dullness of the pixels starts to become obvious.
The trouble with this, is that the damage is done before it becomes visible to your eyes. So by the time you see it on the screen it is too late.
What alerted my Technician friend to this problem was when his customers started bringing in their OLED TVs with the “Sunrise” logo burned in on the screen. The TV’s were about 12 to 15 months old and the owners where in the habit of putting their TV on the Morning show each day and leaving it running for the full length of the show, even if they weren’t watching it, just running in the background while they did chores around the house. It has showed up most on the “Sunrise” image because of the high contrast and brightness of the logo, but other shows logos can also do the same.
Now the high contrast of the TV station image brightness is not fully to blame. Certainly if it were duller it would not happen as quickly but it would still happen because it is a fixed image that sits there for the full 2 hours with just those pixels turned on all the time fully without changing.
The real issue is that OLED TV’s simply are not designed for display of fixed images for a long period (2 hours every day is a long period) whereas, the LED TV’s they replaced had virtually no problem with this.
OLED’s screen burn in is similar to the way Plasma screens used to burn in easily with the little channel 7, 9 or Ten watermark logo in the bottom right corner, which is why the TV stations made their channel logos very transparent – once the problem was known about.
What can you do to prevent or minimize it?
As a consumer and a viewer, you could ring, write to or email your TV stations and ask them to, at the very least, wind back the brightness/contrast on the logo’s. This will definitely help reduce the risk of burn in for everyone.
What you can do directly is turn down the brightness and contrast on your OLED TV. A lot of people run them on dynamic or high brightness simply because that was the way they were set up but you can drop them back to a lower setting without really compromising your picture quality. You will find the settings for this under the “Picture” section of the “Main Menu” on most TV’s. Setting the brightness and contrast at about 50% is a good starting point. Sometimes you are also best to turn the colour down slightly at the same time to keep the skin tones looking correct.
Now I am not going to tell you not to watch your favourite morning shows, but at least, with this new awareness, you can perhaps turn the TV off when you’re not watching it or turn the brightness down. In addition to preventing the burn in on your screen it will also save a tiny bit on power and I believe it’s good for the environment.
At this stage it seems it is only the morning shows with the bright fixed image on the screen for 2 hours every day that seems to be the main problem.
Currently the manufacturers are replacing the screens under warranty but as the numbers grow this is likely to stop. Regrettably there is nothing technically that can be done to the OLED screens except to replace it.
I know it is not a huge issue but at least now you know about the problem and can do something about it BEFORE it costs you money. Personally, I think adjusting the brightness and contrast down a bit is the go!
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Until next time, Keep smiling,
Phil and the Sunshine Antenna Service team.