I am in the preliminary stages of replacing my CRT Rear Projection TV. I know it is over six years old because we had six years of extended warranty which ran out more than a year ago. Twice we have had to have it serviced because a gun driver chip failed. At this point I beleive we are over due for this failure so I have been shopping for a replacement. Here is my setup:
So what does all this have to do with Burn in and image retention?
I have gone to the local Best Buy and Future Shop to look at the new flat panel TVs and found that they all look fantastic. Even the 720p Flat Panel TVs look incredible compared to our old TV. As you can see from the above photos we watch movies and play games using our projector, so the TV really just gets used as a TV. Therefore I see no point in trying to get the latest and greatest in flat panel technology.
I had narrowed down my choices to these Samsung Models: PN50C430 (720p, $750), PN50C540 (1080p $350 more), or PN50C6400 (another $300). I noticed that none of these TVs has Anti-Burn in technology. The PN50B650 has this anti-burn in technology listed in the specs but that is another $500. The PN50C430 is probably more than adequate for our TV viewing needs but if it is likely to suffer from burn in, and I would have to spend an additional $1150 to get a Samsung Plasma with anti burn in technology then I'm back to square one.
So I guess my question is, does the Samsung Anti-Burn in technology make that much difference?
Or to put it another way, if one of the less expensive models looks like it would serve well enough to replace our aging RPTV, is this burn in issue going to make it a poor choice and we will just end up having to replace it in a few years?
Does this burn in issue make plasma a poor choice for a TV that will primarily be used as a TV?
I think I may have answered these questions for myself. During the first few months it is important to be aware of the possibility of burn-in, particularly if you are viewing a lot of 4:3 content. The Samsung Plasma TVs that I am considering have an option for light or dark gray bars. If I primarily watch darker content then the dark gray bars are to be used. If we watch a lot of brighter content then the light gray bars are a better match. So the trade off seems to be several hundred dollars to go with an alternative technology or a little care for the first 100 hrs to avoid watching 4:3 content with the bars set to black.