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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Screen burn-in on an LCD HDTV? Yup

We bought a 37-inch LCD high-definition television set last November. It's specifically an LCD screen because when I was doing research before we went out to look at sets the widespread consensus was that LCD screens don't "burn-in" like plasma screens do.

Well, guess what?

I can't show what this looks like because it doesn't show up well in photos, but there are two very fine vertical lines running down the entire height of the screen: one line running equidistant from each of the left and right sides of the image. They are exactly where the borders of the "pillars" are when you watch a standard (not high-def) image without "stretching" it to fill the screen. Since most of the interesting programming around here is standard definition and I don't like distorted images, the tendency is to watch television "pillarboxed". I guess that's how the lines got in there: with the borders always being "on".

It's supposed to not be a permanent condition of LCD screens. And technically it's not "burn-in" at all, in the sense that plasma screens can get it. It's properly called "image retention"... but that doesn't keep it from being any less a nuisance. Right now I've got the TV on with the image stretched to fill the screen, so that the pixels making up those lines will get "exercised" and start working right again. I'm hoping this will work. If not, looks like that service plan is going to turn out to have been a great investment after all.

In the meantime, if anyone's ever had any experience with this kind of an issue, I'd sure appreciate some advice. I like to try to fix things "in-house" as much as possible, without having to lug something as big as an HDTV back to the store :-)


Anonymous said...

Apple has a brief tutorial for reducing image persistence on their displays. It basically suggests running the LCD displaying a solid white image with th back light turned down.


I have also seen some video loops designed to fix stuck pixels. That might help the set re-gain its equilibrium?

Anonymous said...

Sue them!!!!!

Integr8d said...

Physically 'massaging' the screen, in the areas of the stuck pixels, is mentioned by a lot of manufacturers. Just make sure you use a good lens tissue or screen cleaning cloth between your fingers and your display -don't wanna scratch it.

Anonymous said...

I recently discovered I had this problem as well. While HD channels are still so few right now, we usually watch regular tv stations. Initially, I tried the "Stretch" feature to cover the whole screen, but it made the characters look wider and stumpy. Since my tv is only 7 months old, I didn't want to deal with the manufacturer or extended warranty just yet, so I decided to stretch the picture and deal with it until my warrany was coming to an end. To my surprise, whatever setting I chose to stretch the picture this time actually looks normal and the problem is gradually disappearing.

Chris Knight said...

Am glad that you commented on this 'cuz I need to post an update on this situation...

Long story short, I wound up calling in on the service plan and the store sent a guy to look at it. He suggested pretty much what you've been doing. So I left the television on full-screen (and full-bore high-definition too) for like 48 hours straight (the wife was out of town so I could get away with it :-) It knocked out a *lot* of the lines/darkness. That was about 2 weeks ago and we've kept it on full-screen since. You can just *barely* tell that it's still there, and it's almost gone completely. When we watched The Astronaut Farmer on DVD last night I couldn't see it at all.

So as with most things in life, a little exercise makes the bad go away :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes yes the same has happened to me a while back.. My sony tv has got a couple of glitches. I think it might be since mine was purchased right when it came out and right when a new product comes out, theres a few things wrong with the first couple of batches so I guess I cant really complain but to tell the manufacturers to make a better product!