Guaranteed no burn-in: That’s what the manufacturers say about burn-in on the OLED monitor
The topic of burn-in on OLED monitors recently caused a stir in the USA. For example, Reddit discussed whether and, if so, for how long monitor manufacturers promise that the permanent shadow images will not appear on their OLED monitors, at least for a certain time. The displays are particularly popular with gamers because they can change the brightness of each pixel extremely quickly and therefore have very short switching times with the right control electronics. In the game, this is then expressed through razor-sharp moving images, which also come up with high contrasts, since the luminance is controlled in every pixel and not, as with LCD monitors, in the significantly coarser LED zones of a FALD backlight. Despite all the advantages, organic displays also have the negative property that their luminescent layer “wears out” over time, i.e. it shines less brightly. More on the technical details in a moment.
The reason for the discussion was a press release from LG Electronics: The company had announced that it would be offering its gaming monitors with organic displays in the USA in the future including a two-year guarantee against burn-in. At least as long as the use remains within the usual limits and is not commercial, for example for digital billboards. Acer also uses LG OLED panels in its gaming monitors. Nevertheless, Acer currently does not guarantee against burn-in in the USA. We asked the manufacturers of OLED monitors how they deal with potential burn-in in this country.
The promises of the manufacturers
Frank Sander, head of marketing for IT products at LG Electronics, told c’t that the local warranty includes defects due to burn-in on LGE OLED monitors. The company has not yet officially announced this, but now wants to do so in view of our demand. The promise applies to the entire DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). LG has been offering 32-inch graphics monitors with OLED panels for a number of years, and Sander assured that there have been no returns due to burn-in. According to Sander, there have also been no complaints about burn-in on the 27- and 32-inch OLED monitors that have been on the market since the beginning of 2023; However, the period of time in which burn-in could set in is still very manageable here.
Dell has warranty information on its website under Service and Support: The bundled service includes three years of advanced exchange service and “Premium Panel Replacement (including protection against OLED burn-in)”. The Premium Panel Exchange service is therefore “included in the standard 1-year or 3-year limited hardware warranty” – the statutory warranty in this country is two years. According to Dell’s website, this period can be extended by one year if you purchase an extended warranty.
We received the information from Acer that a burn-in on Acer monitors, unlike defective pixels, is currently not covered by the warranty. To prevent burn-in, the ROG Swift PG42UQ and other ASUS OLED monitors have large heat sinks on the back to lower the panel temperature. In addition, Acer has implemented protective functions against burn-in in the firmware of the monitor, including automatic screen savers, a slight shifting of the display by a few pixels (Screen Move), automatic brightness adjustment of logos and a cleaning process (Pixel Cleaning). All protective functions can be deactivated in the monitor menu, but this is not advisable.
Measures against burn-in
Samsung also recommends such measures as logo recognition and dark screen savers against burn-in for its OLED monitors. You should also start the “pixel refresh” when the first signs of burn-in appear. Samsung explains how this works on its support page https://www.samsung.com/de/support/computing/samsung-oled-monitor-soforthilfe-bei-einbrennen/. According to Samsung, the “screen optimization function” in the OLED monitor recognizes the condition of the screen and prevents afterimages. It is activated automatically when you turn off the monitor by remote control or power button after it has been running for more than 4 hours. We have not yet been able to find out whether Samsung guarantees that no permanent burn-in occurs. On the website and in the manuals, the company only comments on possible countermeasures.
You can read at c’t what measures the manufacturers take and what users of an OLED screen can do on their own to avoid burn-in:
Burn-in shortens the service life
If you display still images on the OLED screen and leave them there for a longer period of time, you run the risk that the image content will later appear as a shadow in the background. This so-called burn-in occurs because the organic layer generally wears out during operation, i.e. loses its luminosity. This is an imperceptible, very slow process, so there is no need to worry about the organic display on a television, monitor, notebook or smartphone suddenly becoming darker.
A partially decreasing luminosity, for example due to logos or displayed control bars, can be compensated for relatively easily by adding more power to the relevant areas. In the OLEDs, it is constantly recorded for each pixel how long and how brightly it shines and then adjusted accordingly with an algorithm – those who have to shine particularly brightly for a particularly long time are supplied with more power. The manufacturers therefore provide for reserves in the pixels from the outset, i.e. do not operate them at the limit with the maximum possible luminance in normal operation. If a colored logo or colored bar stays on the screen for a longer period of time, the organic layers in these areas can wear out differently depending on the colour. Then the burned-in area not only becomes a little darker, but also gets a color cast.
The wear and tear of the organic layer affects the lifetime of the screens of both LG Display WOLEDs and Samsung Display QD-OLEDs. Most TV manufacturers today offer a multi-year guarantee for their devices without worrying. When it comes to OLED monitors, hopefully the other manufacturers will soon follow the example set by Dell and LG.
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