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Having just become the owner of a brand new 32" inch Sony plasma, I am aware of the cautions surrounding the issue of burn in. I am also a long time lover of letterboxed movies, and although the Sony has the "widezoom" feature which fills the screen for 4:3 presentations, movies on some of the channels are letterboxed, as are most of my DVDs (it is the 2:35 movies which will still show the bars).

My question is: Will the black bars cause burn in? My understanding is that a static image left on the screen will cause burn in, but how long must that image stay, and do the black bars qualify as "troublemakers"? Any help would be appreciated.
 

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If you watch most of your shows (say, 75%?) in some kind of mode that fills the screen, you should not get burn-in if you from time to time watch letterboxed or 4:3. If, on the other hand, you watch a huge percentage of the time in letterbox or 4:3. you will get burn-in in due course.
 

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I run my plasma (Panasonic 42") at lower brightness levels than the default which I am sure are there to create a wow! factor. The brightness is still fine and once a week, I leave the scrolling white bar on for 10 -15 minutes.


I watch a variety of programs - 16:9, 4:3 (with the side bars on) and letterbox DVDs and there's no sign of any problems.


Feed your plasma a varied diet of material and it will be fine.
 

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I know burn -in is a real issue, but like many things in life, even though I know something is true doesn't mean I understand it. So if someone could please explain, I would appreciate it. When I first heard about burn-in, it was with the old monochrome monitors. If you left the same thing on the screen too long, you would see the imprint in the phosphor. OK, that makes sense to me. But with the plasma screens, if I understand correctly, lets say you are watching a 4x3 image so you have black bars on the left and right. What is getting burned? I would have thought the area where it is black has no light, so what is causing burn. As you move from the left to right, you finally come to the first column of pixels in the picture. But I assume the pixels in that column are changing just as much as any given column across the screen. So once again, I don't understand where there is a static area if light that would cause burn.


Anyway, thanks for the help in understanding this mystery.


Robb
 

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Burn-in occurs when the phosphorescent coating on a direct-view display wears unevenly. The capacity of the coating to emit light diminishes over time, so that the same amount of energy fails to produce as much light as it once did. Burned-in areas therefore appear darker than the surrounds.


If you frequently run the display with black bars, those bars will eventually appear brighter than the rest of the screen because they are less worn out. The difference is most noticeable along the boundaries.
 

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Thanks very much for this explanation. So perhaps "burn-in" is a bit of a misnomer and the problem is more one of degraded functionality? I assume this means that after a year or two of use the phosphors will degrade significantly and the overall light output will be significantly less. Would it be noticeable if you did not have a non-used area (gray bars) to compare to?


Robb
 

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Even grey bars will still show the 'unused' burnin pattern if used over time. The estimates for general usage for plasma life are quite substantial at 15-30000 hours of continuous use at maximum brightness before really noticeable wear occurs - these vary between maker btw.

Burn-in in a 'real' sense can occur with the continuos display of images such as onscreen logos, tickers or computer icons. For example, some channels use brighter ones than others, but it is recomended that if a viewer watches with such that they periodicly change channel at say ad breaks if the logo remains even during the break. Or perhaps zooms out the logo.

If you search on here there are loads of posts on the issue of burn-in.
 

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Mark... careful.... you should be much more concerned with "contrast" than "brightness". I try to keep my contrast down around the 1/3 level which is considerably less than factory presets. I keep my brightness at about 1/2, sometimes a little higher depending on what I'm watching (some hd programing is a little darker).
 

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The only way to avoid burn-in is to obtain uniform wear across the whole panel and that is most easily achieved using a 16:9 image without logos or other static elements. Overtime, the averaging of all the images will mean each pixel has had much the same work to do. Setting mid-grey bars has the effect of aging those side bars at the same approximate rate at the rest of the picture.


By reducing the energy output of the panel, you can reduce the rate of deterioration anyway; it's just like running a light-bulb at less than its full power dramatically increases its life; things fail the harder you drive them and (especially) the hotter they get. Doing this will prolong the life of the panel beyond how long you probably want to own it. If my panel lasts 5 years, I'll be pleased and happy to move on to whatever is current then.


With reduced brightness, you should certainly reduce the contrast too so that the extremes of light and dark can be accomodated within the available brightness range. I have my Panasonic set to much the same as lhamp's and it's fine, great to watch and easy on the eye.
 

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Just turned on my Pioneer 433cmx and the picture looks terrific but I notice some of the TV Channel's continuously display there logo, example CBS Eye or on the ScFi channel they display the same. It is always in the lower right hand corner. Is this a "burn in" issue?
 
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