OLED displays are beautiful to look at and expensive, but you might be surprised to learn they can suffer from “burn-in” or permanent image retention. How prevalent is this issue, and should you worry about it?
What Is OLED Burn-in?
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. Because the materials used in the construction of these panels are organic, they degrade over time. OLED is a self-emissive technology, which means no backlight is required. Each pixel generates its own light, which will gradually dim over the course of a product’s lifespan.
OLED burn-in (or permanent image retention) refers to this gradual degradation of pixels. Burn-in isn’t unique to OLED displays—CRTs, LCDs, and plasmas are all susceptible to some degree.
The permanent image retention on OLED displays is caused by the uneven degradation of the pixels of which the display is comprised. It occurs when a particular set of pixels degrade at a different rate than those around them.
Static images or graphics on a screen majorly contribute to this issue. This includes logos displayed in the corner while watching some TV channels, rolling news banners, or the area in which the scoreboard appears when watching sports.
But, just to be clear, watching five hours of sports on a Sunday isn’t going to give your OLED screen burn-in. However, the cumulative effect of watching the same sports channel over an extended period of time might.
The same is true for anything that leaves static elements on-screen for a long time. The HUD of a video game, the Windows taskbar, the arrivals board at an airport, and so on, could all be culprits.
Vary Your Watching Habits
If you’re concerned about burn-in, you might want to avoid buying an OLED display. However, if you simply can’t resist (and who would blame you?), there are a few precautions you can take to avoid this issue.
The first thing you can do is vary your watching habits. This will enable the pixels to wear down more evenly, so you never overwork one area of the screen. Of course, this makes OLED displays unsuitable for some people.
For example, if you leave your TV on a rolling news channel all day, OLED is a bad choice. The same is true if you want to use one as a computer monitor that displays static icons and taskbars all day. If you play the same video game obsessively every day, OLED is also a bad choice.
Conversely, if you watch a range of TV channels or play a variety of video games, an OLED display will be fine. Likewise, if you don’t leave static images on your computer monitor for prolonged periods, an OLED will also be fine.
To some people, the idea that you would have to “nurse” your TV to avoid developing permanent image retention sounds like a raw deal. The higher price of OLEDs compared to LCD panels doesn’t help, either.
For others, though, the inky blacks and (theoretically) infinite contrast ratio make the babysitting worth it.
There are lots of other factors that go into deciding whether you should buy an OLED or a traditional LED-lit TV. For example, an OLED panel won’t get anywhere near as bright as the brightest LED sets. However, due to the “perfect” blacks, they don’t necessarily need to.
Plus, even if you do watch a lot of the same content, there’s no guarantee you’ll have to deal with permanent image retention. Even if the pixels dowear down unevenly, you might not notice it during regular viewing.
Test patterns and solid color blocks are useful for spotting OLED burn-in, but they aren’t necessarily representative of normal usage.
Current OLEDs Are Less Prone to Burn-In
LG Display is the only company manufacturing OLED panels. If you see a Sony or Panasonic TV using an OLED panel, it was still made by LG Display. Over the years, the company has refined the manufacturing process to make more resilient screens at lower prices.
Older OLED displays used separate, colored pixels. However, manufacturers soon realized that different colored subpixels aged at different rates, particularly blue and red. LG Display decided to use a grid of white LEDs, which age at the same rate. Colored filters are then used to create the four separate subpixels of red, green, blue, and white.
There are also some software-based solutions to the problem, although these are up to each TV manufacturer, rather than the panel manufacturer. On its TVs, LG limits the brightness in particular areas of the screen that display static pixels, like logos or the HUD in video games.
Then, there’s pixel-shifting, which moves the image slightly to share the load of a static image and avoid overworking certain pixels. There are also “pixel refresher” routines that run every few thousand hours or so. These measure the voltage of each pixel and attempt to wear down any areas that haven’t been used as much. The TV then increases the overall brightness of the screen to compensate.
Every manufacturer that uses OLED panels has its own bag of tricks, although, they’re largely the same tactics with different brand-specific names.
In 2013, LG Electronics claimed the expected life of an OLED display was 36,000 hours. In 2016, though, the company increased this to 100,000 hours, or 30 years of watching 10 hours of TV a day. In contrast, LCD panels with LED backlights have a life expectancy of six to 10 years,according to one study.
Burn-In Tests Show the Real Picture
InJanuary 2018, RTINGS started conducting real-world burn-in testson six LG C7 displays. They used a variety of content to simulate years of use over a short period. They also left the TVs running for 20 hours a day, without varying the content.
You can see the results of their tests after a year in the video above. At the time this video was produced, the TVs had around 9,000 hours on the clock. This would be the equivalent of about five years of use, for five hours per day. Some sets in the video, like the one tuned to CNN, have significant burn-in.
Others, like the one displaying Call of Duty: WWII, show no signs of burn-in, even when using test patterns. RTINGS stated that it doesn’t expect these results to reflect real-world results, because this isn’t how people normally use their TVs.
However, in any circumstances in which TVs are used in this manner, the test reaffirmed that OLED is a poor choice:
“The TVs have now been running for over 9,000 hours (around 5 years at 5 hours every day). Uniformity issues have developed on the TVs displaying Football and FIFA 18, and are starting to develop on the TV displaying Live NBC. Our stance remains the same, we don’t expect most people who watch varied content without static areas to experience burn-in issues with an OLED TV.”
On his YouTube channel,HDTVTest, Vincent Teoh conducted his own test on an LG E8 display (see the video below). While the test was aggressive on usage (the TV was left on for 20 hours per day), it was also fairly representative of how people use their TVs.
Teoh also cycled through several TV channels in four-hour blocks over six months.
The display showed no signs of permanent image retention after nearly 4,000 hours of usage. While it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from one test, this pattern of usage is far more representative of the way most of us use our TVs.
Why Bother with OLED?
As far as display technology goes, OLED looks great.Many reviewers also state that LG’s latest generation of OLED displays are the best TVs money can buy when it comes to overall image quality. Since OLEDs are self-emissive, they can achieve perfect black levels, which makes an image truly pop.
While LED-lit TVs with full-array local dimming have improved over the last few years, they still use relatively large “dimming zones.” This can create a halo effect when displaying scenes with high contrast. Mini-LED gets closer to OLED by increasing the number of dimming zones.However, it will take new technology, like MicroLED, to truly compete with OLED.
Since OLED displays are expensive, they only find their way into flagship models. When you buy an OLED, you’ll likely get a top-notch image processor, a 120 Hz refresh rate for better motion handling, and HDMI 2.1 for next-generation gaming. You can expect HDR performance to be excellent, even if the display doesn’t get anywhere near the 1,000+ nits of brightness on the best LCDs.
OLED isn’t for everyone, though. Price and static image problems aside, they simply don’t get as bright as their LED-lit counterparts. If you have a particularly bright room, you might want a brighter LED-lit model instead. For a dark room, cinema-like experience, you can’t beat OLED right now.
The burn-in issue isn’t going away entirely. However, it also isn’t as much of an issue as it once was, thanks to improvements in manufacturing and software compensation. If you’re looking for a new TV in 2020, especially to play the latest games when next-gen consoles launch, an OLED might be your best choice.
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Early OLED TVs did have trouble with this phenomenon, throwing the technology into question. But these days, nearly all of the OLED TVs on the market today are equipped with preventative measures to curb burn-in, and unless you're a very particular type of television viewer, you needn't worry about it at all.What is the best way to prevent burn-in OLED? ›
One of the simplest ways to protect your OLED TV from burn-in and image retention is to adjust the settings according to your viewing habits and preferences. For example, you can lower the brightness, contrast, and OLED light levels to reduce the stress on the pixels and extend their lifespan.Can OLED burn-in be fixed? ›
Image burn-in can not be fixed, repaired, or reversed; once it happens, the display screen will suffer from continual image quality degradation. The term burn-in dates back to when old monitors using phosphor compounds that emit light to produce images lost their luminance due to severe usage in specific display areas.How often does OLED burn-in? ›
Note that we expect burn-in to depend on a few factors: The total duration of static content. LG has told us that they expect it to be cumulative, so static content, which is present for 30 minutes twice a day, is equivalent to one hour of static content once per day.How long do OLED screens last before burn-in? ›
Burn-in on OLED displays can start to occur between 1,000 to 5,000 hours of aggressive 24/7 use with static images on display. The time it takes for OLED to burn-in varies depending on a number of factors such as brightness level, colours, use-time, TV model, and many others.Is OLED worth the burn-in risk? ›
Contrary to what you might've heard, burn-in is not a myth; there's a reason TV manufacturers equip OLEDs with various preventative measures for burn-in. However, it's not a serious concern if you watch TV under what most of us would consider normal conditions.Does OLED burn-in get worse over time? ›
Burn-in is possible with OLED, but not likely with normal use. Most "burn-in" is actually image retention, which goes away after a few minutes. You'll almost certainly see image retention long before it becomes permanent burn-in. Generally speaking, burn-in is something to be aware of, but not worry about.What is the lifespan of OLED vs LED TV? ›
Durability. LED TVs have been around for many years and have proven to be extremely reliable, typically providing many years of trouble-free service. OLED TVs haven't been around as long, but their expected lifespan is around 100,000 hours (similar to LED TVs).Do modern OLED TVs burn-in? ›
Get a Samsung QLED TV
Samsung QLED TVs have been tested to ensure that they are unaffected by burn-in and afterglow. This means that fixed images can be displayed on them without any risk, regardless of the duration.
Lg does not cover burn in.
In terms of picture quality, OLED TVs are generally considered to be the better option due to their perfect blacks and infinite contrast. However, QLED TVs can still produce very high levels of brightness and colour accuracy, and they are often more affordable than OLED TVs.Is screen burn covered under warranty? ›
Warranty covers manufacturing default. Screen burning is the result of heavy misuse. how is it misuse if you are just using your phone? It doesnt happen by dropping the phone.Are OLED TVs worth it? ›
If you have the money to spend and your priority is getting the best possible screen quality from your TV, smartphone or gadget, we'd say that OLED is absolutely worth the money. Your experience with the colours and contrast of movies, streaming shows, documentaries and games will never be better.Can OLED last 10 years? ›
All OLED panels use organic material and will eventually suffer burn or pixel failure. The debate is on the number of hours before this happens. Some manufacturers claim 30,000 hours or roughly 8 to 10 years with normal viewing. Poorer grade panels have suffered age related burn in in as few as 5,000 hours.Does OLED burn-in faster than LED? ›
Due to the nature of LED technology, LED TVs are not susceptible to the phenomenon known as "burn-in", where a display has a picture permanently burned into the screen. OLED screens are not likely to ever produce a burn-in effect, but are nonetheless susceptible to it.Does dark mode prevent screen burn in? ›
Change Wallpaper to Black (Android)
OLED screens consume very little energy when displaying the color black, and they do not burn-in when displaying black.
Besides the noted advantages of OLED display, some of the disadvantages include: Shorter lifetime then some other display technologies. This shorter lifetime is mainly due to the blue organic material but lifetime gets better all the time but is also due to moisture migration. Poor sunlight readability.Is OLED Safer For your eyes? ›
To sum it up, OLED displays are better for your eyesight. They have more natural lighting, better color contrast, and a wider color range.Is OLED more harmful for eyes? ›
“There is no direct relationship between OLED screen and eye harm.” Communication industry professionals also said that human eyes are almost imperceptible to the flickering of OLED screens. “Visual fatigue may be caused by staring at the screen for too long.”How long does it take for image retention to go away? ›
Image retention refers to any image that "sticks" on a screen, even when the content changes. It usually appears as a faint ghost, and with most TVs this fades after a moment or two.
The 10 Year Screen Burn Warranty applies only in respect of screen burn on your TV (i.e. when an image has become “burnt-on” to your screen, no matter what content you are watching). Your standard warranty period for other parts is not affected.Can sunlight cause burn-in on OLED? ›
From my research online I understand that both heat and UV light can damage OLED tvs.Which lasts longer LCD or OLED? ›
Lifespan. LCDs have been on the market much longer than OLEDs, so there is more data to support their longevity. On average LCDs have proven to perform for around 60,000 hours (2,500) days of operation. With most LCDs you can expect about 7 years of consistent performance.Is OLED worth the money over LED? ›
Is OLED TV worth buying? OLED TVs have the best picture quality, best viewing angles, infinite contrast ratios, true blacks, and—on some models—very thin profiles. So, while OLED TVs aren't as bright as LED or QLED TVs, and are more expensive than both, they're well worth the investment.Are OLED TVs really that much better? ›
LCD. Unlike OLED, LCD displays use liquid crystals that produce an image when light is passed through. OLED delivers far better colors and contrast and will be sharper and brighter under most conditions, but LCD is better in bright light. If you want a wide viewing angle, OLED is superior.How common is TV burn-in? ›
It is rare for an average TV consumer to create an environment that could result in burn-in. Most cases of burn-in in televisions is a result of static images or on-screen elements displaying on the screen uninterrupted for many hours or days at a time – with brightness typically at peak levels.What type of TV does not get burn-in? ›
For an absolute guarantee that you won't experience burn-in, your best bet is QLED TV.Is OLED better than 4k? ›
OLED has a significantly wider and better viewing angle when compared to 4k UHD LED TVs. Unlike LEDs that still have shutter issues because of screen pixels, OLED comes with advanced pixels powered by self-illumination capabilities. Thus, OLED is a clear winner in this department.Does Walmart warranty cover OLED burn in? ›
Walmart offers a Protection Plan extended warranty, via Allstate, that covers "mechanical and electrical failures from normal use." Assuming the issue is covered, it will "repair your item. If we can't repair it, we'll send you a replacement or reimburse you for one." It does not cover burn-in.Does LG 5 year warranty cover burn in? ›
The 5 year factory warranty covers burn in.
Our plans cover the cost of expensive repairs or replacement parts, and if we can't fix your LG TV, we'll send you a replacement or reimburse you for its current value.Is LG or Samsung TV better? ›
Samsung TVs generally have better picture quality than the average LG LED-backlit LCD TV. Samsung TVs usually get a fair bit brighter and have better contrast, while LG TVs generally have much wider viewing angles and better smart features.What is the best TV technology right now? ›
The best overall TV
While 2023's version of this fantastic TV, the LG G3 OLED Evo, has usurped the G2 from the top spot on our list, let us be perfectly clear: it's still one of the best TVs you can buy, and you can probably get it for a great price now that the new kid's in town.
Buy an OLED TV if:
You want the best possible picture quality, regardless of price: OLED TVs produce the best HDR picture quality, the best motion, and the widest viewing angles of any TV currently available. Learn more about OLED technology in this article.
Watch on and on. With a 5-year panel warranty, feel assurance in the craftsmanship of premium LG OLED televisions for years to come. *In the 1st year of the warranty, panel, parts, and labor costs are covered. In the 2nd - 5th year of the warranty, only panels are covered, and labor will be charged.Will screen burn get worse? ›
Screen burn, also called screen burn-in, ghost image, or display burns are images or icons that are displayed on a screen when they should not be there. Screen burn comes on gradually and gets worse over time and is most common on OLED screens.How do I clean an OLED screen? ›
Gently wipe the screen or the exterior with a dry, soft cloth, such as an eyeglass cleaner. For inks from oil markers on the screen, soak a cloth in a non-soap synthetic cleanser diluted (by less than 1% ) with water. Squeeze the cloth tightly to eliminate excess liquid, then wipe gently to remove the ink.Is Sony OLED or LG OLED better? ›
While both of these TVs are impressive in their own right, the LG C2 is the better pick for most people. It's an especially strong winner for gamers, as its four HDMI 2.1 inputs offer more flexibility for those with more than one connected HDMI 2.1-capable device.Should you break in OLED TV? ›
Do OLED TVs Require a Break-in Period? A It's recommended that you treat an OLED TV the same as you would a plasma for the first 100 hours of use, being careful not to leave fixed images like electronic program guides or paused video game frames onscreen for an extended amount of time.Are OLED TVs fragile? ›
Are OLED TVs more fragile? Because OLED TVs are so thin, they could be considered more fragile than conventional LED TVs. However, all flat-panel TVs are fragile as their screens can easily break.
LEDs tend to be better because the light-emitting diodes create clearer images . LED comes in two parts for Samsung TVs: OLED and QLED. OLED TVs have an excellent lifespan and offer a better colorful display than QLED. According to our TV professionals, most of these TVs last for between five to seven years.Does OLED use a lot of power? ›
OLEDs use self-illuminating pixels; because of this and because they do not require backlighting, OLEDs do not consume as much power as LCDs. They are optimized for what the industry calls “Perfect Black.” They can be more energy efficient when displaying darker images or using low levels of brightness.Is OLED better at night? ›
OLED TVs are at their best in darker rooms to show off their rich contrast capabilities. If you're looking for a TV for a home theater or for primarily nighttime viewing, OLED is the way to go.Are OLED screens easier on the eyes? ›
One of the benefits of OLED TV is its naturally low blue light emissions compared to traditional LCD TVs on the market. Even while maintaining perfect black and high contrast characteristics with excellent picture quality, it provides the user with better eye comfort and viewing experience.How do you take care of an OLED TV? ›
- Fragile, this way up. Flat panel TVs in general are fragile due to their thin design. ...
- Change the factory settings. ...
- Keep it plugged in and on 'standby' overnight. ...
- Screen burn / image retention (OLED TVs only) ...
- Cleaning. ...
- Consider using a surge protector. ...
- Read the manual(!) ...
- Do not DIY.
Change Wallpaper to Black (Android)
OLED screens consume very little energy when displaying the color black, and they do not burn-in when displaying black.
- Adjust the brightness. Lowering your brightness setting to below 50 could reduce any burn-in. ...
- Enable pixel shift. ...
- Play a color-changing video. ...
- Replace your TV.
Here's what you need to do. Whether you have an LG, Sony or Samsung OLED, look in the menus for a pixel shift setting — make sure that's turned on. In the future, if you leave the TV on one screen for an extended period of time, the TV will periodically shift the image so that the pixels don't retain the image.How do I protect my OLED screen from sunlight? ›
In summary, OLED modules with polarizer can resist the damage of UV exposure effectively. It is recommended that the products which might be exposed to the sun should add polarizer to protect the OLED panel. Generally, there is no issue for handheld products with polarizer used in outdoor application.Is sunlight bad for OLED? ›
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are highly susceptible to the harsh environmental conditions found outdoors, like exposure to direct sunlight as well as UV radiation and storage temperature, resulting in a loss of luminance and lifespan, pixel shrinkage, and permanent damage and/or malfunction of the panel ...
On Android, go to Settings > Display > Brightness slider or toggle on Auto to automatically adjust brightness.How much does it cost to replace LG OLED TV screen? ›
|TV Type||Repair Cost|
|4K||$100 - $350|
|Smart||$100 - $475|
|Plasma||$200 - $485|
|OLED||$100 - $1,000|
Gently wipe the screen or the exterior with a dry, soft cloth, such as an eyeglass cleaner. For inks from oil markers on the screen, soak a cloth in a non-soap synthetic cleanser diluted (by less than 1% ) with water. Squeeze the cloth tightly to eliminate excess liquid, then wipe gently to remove the ink.Is there a screen protector on the OLED? ›
Nintendo manufactured the OLED panel from glass, but it also placed an "anti-scatter" sheet of plastic over the top. It's there to stop any glass shards scattering if the screen breaks, but the plastic is very soft and therefore easily picks up scratches.