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What is OLED burn-in, and how can you avoid it?

Worried about your new TV? Here’s what to know about OLED burn-in.

smart tv on stand
Image: Unsplash

Quick Answer: OLED burn-in is a faint afterimage left on the screen after heavy use. Avoid it by not leaving static images on your screen.

Developments in OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology means that OLED burn-in is rare. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Imagine spending big dollars on a slick new OLED TV only to have the logo of your favorite television station permanently burned into the display. That’s not how expensive technology should work.

Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid rare instances of permanent image retention. Let’s discuss OLED burn-in and how you can avoid it.

What is OLED burn-in?

oled burn-in on tv
Image: Rtings

READ MORE: Are OLED TVs actually better than QD-OLED TVs?

OLED burn-in occurs when a static image appears on the screen for an extended period of time.

Depending on your age, you may have encountered similar behavior on old CRT monitors, which require screen savers to avoid colors and images burning into the display.

While image persistence in LCD screens is usually temporary, OLED burn-in can be permanent, as the behavior stems from damaged pixels.

example images of iphone 15 oled screen burn-in
Image: @tarunvats33 / Twitter

However, most of us aren’t going to create the conditions necessary for long-lasting damage to occur.

On top of that, manufacturers design modern OLED displays to avoid most image persistence issues. But, in extreme circumstances, damage can still occur.

Therefore, knowing how to avoid OLED burn-in is useful. We’ll break down some of the best tips below.

How to prevent OLED burn in

oled burn in on tv
Image: Reddit

Static images displayed continuously for many hours or multiple days can create burn-in. For this to happen, you’d also need to set the screen brightness extremely high for a long period of time.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent OLED burn-in:

  • Don’t display static images, including logos and video game UIs, for extended periods of time
  • Change the channel frequently
  • Lower your screen brightness
  • Use a sleep timer if you’re prone to doze off in front of the TV
  • Don’t leave anything paused for too long
  • Use a screen saver when necessary
  • Switch the display off when not in use

If you follow most of these suggestions, the chance of experiencing OLED burn-in on a monitor or smart TV is low.

Also, you can prevent and remedy most instances of temporary image retention by enabling pixel shift if available, lowering screen brightness, and watching a video with no static elements.

Is it just TVs that experience OLED burn in?

Surprisingly, no. Steam Decks, Valve’s portable handheld gaming console, suffers from it too.

Screen burn-in on the Steam Deck is when a “ghost” image sticks on the screen. It can make the display quality worse over time. To stop this, try not to leave the same image on for too long.

Using features like screen timeouts or sleep modes can help, too.

TV burn-in is rare but not extinct

OLED burn-in is rare, but so is getting hit by a meteorite. Sometimes unlikely events do occur.

If you’re one of the unlucky ones whose screen experiences permanent image retention, you may have to pay for an out-of-pocket repair. Most display manufacturers don’t accept responsibility for OLED burn-in.

Sometimes, depending on costs, it might be better (and cheaper) to get a new TV. In those cases, check out our smart TV shopping guide.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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