One of the most common topics on this forum has to do with the issue of burn-in and plasma displays. You'll find most everybody has an opinion on it ranging from "Not a problem" to "Huge problem" and there is a great deal of confusing information regarding what it is, how it happens and how much to worry about it. It's addressed a bit in the plasma FAQ
, but it seemed to bring up more questions than it answered, so I finally figured out that this is a better topic for an ongoing discussion than a FAQ answer. First off, lets talk about some of the basics....What is burn-in?
Please take a look at Oferlaors description here
from a recent thread discussing it. You may want to scroll up for a very colorful
description by Dandrewk (then don't forget to come back here).Is burn-in still a possibility?
With the recent generations of plasma displays, the technology has been improved in the areas of contrast ratios and lifespan. One problem with earlier generations was lower contast ratios, and plasmas with low contrast ratios appeared to burn-in more easily as discussed here
, so one of the theories is that higher contrast ratios combined with longer phosphor life helps create less risk of burn-in.Are you saying the problem is all gone now?
Provided you take proper care of your display (see below for suggestions), the risk will be minimized a great deal.Why can't anyone tell me what the exact settings are that could cause it?
Because it's an unanswerable question. There are so many variables (manufacturer, generation of the model, settings, percentage of 4:3 viewing and the color of sidebars used, etc) to keep in mind, that picking a white level setting, or a range of hours watching 4:3 ratio, or something along those lines and saying "Don't exceed this" would do more of a disservice than being helpful.Well, that didn't help me very much.
Sorry if it doesn't, but every plasma is different and one size definitely does not fit all in this area.How much of a risk really is there then?
Very little from what's been reported by other members here, but as Nabsltd points out, this is a group of people who most likely have taken steps to avoid it.But a lot of people have said they have it.
What most people have seen is "temporary image retention", like Ofer describes in the post linked above. There are times you will get faint residual image "hangover" resulting from things like keeping static DVD menus paused for servel minutes, or certain channel logos ("bugs") that can remain from seconds to sometimes minutes, and in extreme cases, maybe an hour or two. This is normal and will in most cases go away when watching other material for a while. A lot of displays have an "image reversal" function that can be used also to get rid of it. You just re-run the same material for the same amount of time with the negative image. It's pretty easy (and kinda trippy looking). I've never actually used it except for fun.So if it's only a temporary effect, I can do whatever I want with my new plasma like setting the contrast to maximum and it'll all be okay?
I didn't say that :). Your car can probably go 100 mph, but would you
always drive it at that speed? Besides getting a bunch of tickets, you're gonna wear that car down pretty darned fast. You'll notice on your display that you can select *very* high values for contrast, brightness and color. Now, why would they be able to be set that high if they weren't meant to be used? That's pretty simple. Over time, *any* display will *slowly* and *gradually* dim with use. If you overdrive your plasma by running it in higher settings than meant for for that period in that displays "life" you're just going to speed up the process and *prematurely* age your plasma.But that's okay, I'm going to get mine from Costco and then I can do whatever I want with it because they will take it back no matter what.
Costco has the most generous return policy I've ever seen, and it's great
for someone looking for the security of no hassle unlimited returns.
However, to take advantage of it by using your plasma in a reckless manner and then return it is so not cool that I don't even know where to start and it's almost another topic entirely. I know that most of you buying from Costco have good reasons and won't abuse it but everybody please keep in mind that vendors *do* change policy (think of Sears price match) and who knows what will happen if they get so many returns that it causes changes for the worse by Costco or the manufacturer.
But back to the main topic:So even though it sounds like there's not as much risk now I still have concerns, so can I do anything to prevent it?
Yes! There are things you can and *should* do!
1.) Turn your picture (contrast) settings down from the factory default.
You may find the Avia Guide to Home Theater, Video Essentials,
or even a THX setup disk helpful in this area. You'll want to calibrate for each input you are using (then you can make minor adjustuments from there). If for some reason you can't hook up the DVD player to each input, write down the calibrated settings and apply them to the other inputs (won't be an exact match, but better than defaults). Or you can check with others on the forum who have the same model to see what they are doing (temporaily) until you can either get a setup disk or professional calibration
. Their settings probably won't be an exact match because thing like room lighting, etc. vary, but you'll be starting out in a "safe" range.
2.) Zoom or stretch most 4:3 viewing. I know a lot of you don't want to hear this (and these modes), but until the transition to 16x9 for most newer programming, it's something anyone looking into a plasma (or other non-LCD or direct-view display) has to deal with. There are many options
available for comfortable viewing. The majority seem to like "Panoramic"
non-linear strect modes (called "Stadium", "Just" or other names depending on the plasma). I prefer a linear "Zoom", but with some modifications
. Felgar has also come up with a modified stretch
setting for "Full" mode. You may want to try one or both methods if you dislike the preset modes and your display gives you easy access to the horizontal and vertical controls.
3.) Turn on your pixel shifter if you have one for channels with opaque or
otherwise obnoxious logos, screen tickers and other problematic content. It's called a "wobbler" or "orbiter" (names vary depending on display). It gradually shifts the picture up and down over time. Or even better just crop it out entirely using the picture position control (if your display has them).
Games are a special issue and I'd like to hear from the forum gamers on this. I know how easy it is to play for hours at a time (before I put myself
on a "games moratorium" a few years ago, I'd lose entire weekends playing Half-Life).The problem is that a lot of them have static elements, and running a wobbler would be distracting.After reading all of this, I still have many concerns and I'm not sure plasma is ready enough yet for me to get one.
Perhaps instead of wondering if plasmas' are ready for you, the question should be: Are you ready for a plasma? If you are not willing to take a reasonable amount of care with it, then probably not. If you are willing to use some common sense and treat it like the very expensive display device it is, you should get years of spectacular viewing from it.I'm more confused than ever now.....
That's to be expected :). That's why I finally broke this out of the FAQ for
it's own discussion. This is just the starting place and please feel free to
ask your questions here. There are many knowledgeable people on this
forum who want to help you get the most you can from your plasma. When I was new here (not that long ago), it was forum members who helped me learn what I have so far (and there's always something new to learn).
In closing (whew!) hopefully this has helped with some of your questions
and concerns. But I know there is so much more to the topic, that I've
asked this to be a "sticky" thread for reference, help, and whatever need
be for burn-in related issues and questions. Since I am of course, not perfect, I'm also asking for corrections/clarifications to anything I have posted here that's either wrong, or unclear. Thanks!
(Panasonic 4UY owner).
One last thing- this is an open thread (even though it's sticky, it's not closed), so if you've got a question or something to add, please do!!