Yes, Virginia, There is “Burn In” On LCD Flat Panels

August 23rd, 2007 · 18 Comments · LCD Flat Panel


Burn In On Sharp LCD HDTV

“Burn In” is a commonly used term to describe image retention; a condition that occurs when a previously displayed video image, such as a stock ticker, channel logo, video game score, for example, remains visible on a display well after it originally appeared.


How Content Originally Appeared

It can be short-term visible (for hours to days) medium term (days to weeks) or permanent. The HD Guruoften reads about or hears HDTV salespeople claiming that LCD HDTV panels don’t burn in. The attached photos should dispel any such notion. They clearly show image retention on an LCD HDTV.

An industry source supplied the pictures, which were taken at a Bic Camera, an electronics retail chain store in Japan. Pictured is a  Japanese model Sharp LCD HDTV used for a computer software ad. The retained images appear at the top-right as Japanese text and on the bottom-right as the price in yen .

Sharp burn in bottom

Bottom Right Of Sharp LCD HDTV


Top Right of Sharp LCD HDTV

The HD Guru spoke to Bob Scaglione, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sharp Electronics USA. He acknowledged that pixels can get “stuck” on its LCD HDTVs, leaving a retained image. But, he added, powering off the display for an unspecified period can reverse the condition.

Mr. Scaglione alluded to consumers who ship their TVs back to Sharp USA complaining about burn in, but days later, when their LCDTVs are unpacked and tested at Sharp, the retained images were gone. He also stated the condition can be reversed by “exercising” the panel by playing “snow” (video noise) for an unspecified period of time.


Copyright ©2007 Gary Merson/HD Guruâ„¢. All rights reserved. The content and photos within may not be distributed electronically or copied mechanically without specific written permission.


18 Comments so far ↓

  • NecroBumper

    LCDs get electroplating, LCDs invert the voltage on every 2nd row of pixels and exchange this voltage rapidly so that it’s not visible to the naked eye, this is to prevent “Burn in” or “Electro plating” which casues the walls of the chambers that house the Liquid Crystal to clog up. Sadly a lot of rather low-end panels do not do this properly. The net result is Burn in. It will not go away if it is a result of electro plating, one thing you can try is to display the image that caused the burn in, but invert it to try to plate the screen more evenly

  • Mike L

    I have a 2.5 year old 42″ Sharp Aquos LCD and for the past few months when watching HD channels or movies I have noticed gradually more promnent “faded” 5″ wide bands on either side of the screen exactly where non-HD channels fill in black to compensate for the more narrow picture. I’ve been concerned, but not particularly worried. However, today my daughter was playing Mario Cart on the TV and finished the game but left it running approx. 30 min on a stationary game screen. When I switched back to cable TV, it was immediately obvious that several Mario game features are burned-in and prominently visible even with prime-time television programs playing. I’ve turned off to let it cool, hoping that might help, but so far no luck. Needless to say, I hope it goes away while I’m sleeping tonight.
    If you think LCDs can’t get burn-in, call me in the morning as I may have a nice 42″ Sharp to sell you.

  • Morgan

    I have a 2008 Toshiba Regza LCD that I got from my Mom,well,I`ve been playing Elderscrolls 4:Oblivion on it for hours at a time and I noticed an image retention of spell effects in the upper right corner and a dark colored bar running down the right side.I hav`nt played the game in three days and it`s still there.(26″display)I was also under the impression that LCD did`nt get burn in.Can someone please bring back DLP?(lol)

  • Las Vegas

    I have been running an old View Sonic LCD computer monitor, with the same game, some 20 hours per week, for 10 years, and it shows no sign of image retention (a ghosty after image left on the display when other images are displayed). I have put 140 hours of a modern game on my new Sharp Aquos 60″ (used as another monitor)over the last 2 months and it shows no sign of image retention. In the last 10 years none of my business’s LCDs have ever shown any image retention. All of the above monitors use no screen saver, are run at least 8 hours with the same image per day (some times much more than that) and are, occasionally, tested by changing the image to display test patterns, movies, videos, etc. Tests by reputible labs can not reproduce image retention in LCDs. In phospher based screens (CRTs and Plasmas) the phosphers can age unevenly (with newer phospher mixes of today one would have to use the screen in a low res mode with borders or as a computer monitor for a long time to “burn” it) causing retention (that’s why there is no such thing as a plasma computer monitor). LCDs have no phosphers. It is a myth that LCDs can exhibit image retention and an image displayed for a long period of time can not damage a LCD. It would take other factors to damage the LCD to a point of the pixels not relaxing. LCD image retention is a myth. Plasma image retention is a fact and one must break in the plasma, and then be careful, or certainly retention will happen (which can be cleared although it takes a lot of time and electricity). One would have to abuse a plasma (buy running the same image too long) to “burn” a plasma. The difference between “retention” and “burn” is that the “retained” image can be cleared by ageing (running other images) the adjacent phospers (although that can take a long time and lot of electricity). The “burned” image is where the phosphers are so far aged over the adjacent pixels that they are significantly closer to the end of their life (phosphers slowly lose their ability to glow), they can not glow at the same level as the “younger” (less used) pixels, thus the ghost (retained)image can not be cleared (and is now burned). With the advent of LED backlighting for LCDs (and soon organic LEDs) the contrast of the LCD is now as good as the plasma. Plasma sales will continue to fall off as phospher based technology fails to keep pace with LED LCD, OLED, Parallax LCD, and eventually laser. If you are thinking of buying a flat panel, the LED LCD now has a a pictue better than a plasma as LED has a longer life span, far less heat and energy used, is immune to image retention/burn in, and is equal in contrast ratios and color reproduction. In the past Plasma has always been better for picture quality, however, that is no longer true.

  • Fred Verg

    Don’t listen to salespeople. I have a 37in Westinghouse LCD that has (whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same thing!). My (whatever you want to call it, it’s the same thing) displays words and letters, pretty much down the center.

    I used the white background, the “snow” effect, the turning the tv off for a whole week (unplugged), nothing fixed it. So to those who want to play word games…jump off a short pier.

    We are not discussing the difference between someone having cancer and the common flu…two different, distinct things, we are taking “burn-in, image retention, image persistence, whatever you want call it, it’s the same thing!

  • Chris

    Whatever it is called, my picture on my 46 inch VIZIO TV that I have owned for 16 months and purchased from Walmart has two vertical lines on either side of the screen about 4 inches in that will not go away. I feel like I wasted $1200. New technology isn’t always so great. I called support and they had me turn it off and drain all power by holding in the power button with the TV turned off but problem is still there. Burn-in or retention – LCD is no better than plasma from my perspective. I still have permanent image issues on my display that will not go away. The longest I have left the TV on is for 12 hours.

  • Drfew

    I have a LG 32″ lcd display and I could care less what you want to call it, But I have major burn in or retention. Nothing will make it go away. It came in one 5 hour period of leaving my tv on with the pc displayed. Now the menu bar at the top is always there as well as an entire image of a website. None of the things stated(white noise-white,black screen left on for some time,nor powering off for days will take it out. It’s just ruined! LCD’s GET BURNT!!!!

  • cwerdna

    My coworker and I observed slight LCD burn-in on his 20″ or 24″ iMac’s LCD. It was burn-in from the Mac OS’ menu bar.

    The manual for the Samsung 245BW 24″ LCD at discusses image retention and burn-in on page 11. It also briefly discusses why it happens.

  • Kurt Dodgers

    Good lord! The HD Guru was simply using a “generic”, commonly used term however inaccurate it is. Debunking some of the BS shooting out and about out there. Like it or not – damn near every salesperson and consumer call it burn.

    Some need to get a grip. There is some accuracy in these comments here. LCD’s do have image retention – they have “memory” so to speak. Crystals (LCD…hello?) have been used for decades in one form or another for that purpose. Yes, given time, an LCD will “generally” become neutral again. The time could take hours or…years.

    The only technology I know of that can have “stuck” pixels is DLP.

    Plasmas, as CRT based TV’s have premature phospor aging. Thence the origination of the turm “burn”. Why burn – because it looks like that.

    They all have their good points and bad points. I would worry less about image retention and more if they have a warranty, service and parts.


  • Ken

    I just bought a Phillips 42 LCT 1080p TV.

    User Manual, page 2, section 1.3: “A characteristc of LCD Panels is that displaying the same image for a long time can cause a permanent afer-image to remain on the screen.”

  • Raymond

    I have a LG 47″ LCD. I have had it for 7 months now. About a week ago I noticed at the bottom of the screen I could see a ghost image of the QVC 800 number and banner. My wife watches this program alot. I was also under the impression there was no burn in. That’s the whole reason I went with LCD, not to mention they cost more than plasma. She hasnt watched the program for two days and the “ghost” image is still there. Its mainly visible on cartoons or light solid backgrounds in movies. I paid more to suffer in image quality(con-verses plasma) to not get burn in(pro), and instead I lose on both counts. Wish I would’ve just bought a good plasma. I could live better with the burn in and a better picture quality with plasma.

  • John Sapienza

    I’m shopping for a new 46″ set, and found something odd in the Sony and Samsung manuals. Both tell you how to set original 4×3 programs to retain that aspect. But Samsung warns about burn-in if you watch in 4×3 more than 2 hours at a time, and Sony does not. The oddity is that both use the same plant for their LCDs, and should have the same result.

    I gather that burn-in isn’t a calamity, or the network logo at the bottom right of the screen would have caused consumer outrage by now. But it does seem to be a problem for some people, or Samsung’s lawyers wouldn’t have put that caution in their manual.

  • cmfrierson

    I noticed image retention on an LCD display (a Dell) at work. The display had been on for several days with the same image on screen (this is attached to an always-on CPU which acts as a server). Turning the display off for a few seconds got rid of the image retention.

  • Pengophobe

    Use whatever term you want, burn-in , retention, sticking, it is all the same. The remedies are the same as well, use a different source, turn the set off, run “snow” for an unspecified amount of time. It all comes down to the quality of the manufacturer and how much you trust their technology. HD Guru does a good job of representing both technologies and with any forum, I think people stick on too many specific words and do not read between the lines. LCD is good, Plasma is better for picture quality, it has been proven over and over. If you want to waste your money on either type, then abuse your set and play guitar hero for 100 hours straight, just dont complain to the manufacturer or store that you now have image retention.(burn in, image sticking, whatever…Just like humans, tv’s need to lead a well balanced life

  • Tilt

    Well, I knew this is a pro-plasma site, but this is silly. There are no such thing as “burn-in” on LCD, the word should not even be mentioned when talking about LCD image retention. And it’s really not a problem on LCD-tv:s, if it was there would be plenty of complaints on the internet forums. ALL the complaints are about plasma burn-in, a real and existing problem. If you want to test a if a display gets burn-in, try a G8 it WILL get a burn-in…

  • Lcdguy

    But I was reading in Bestbuys magazine entitle “First Glimpse” and it said that lcd’s have no chance of burn in. Thats why I bought my lcd because I didn’t want to deal with burn in or image retention.

    There are many errors and incorrect statements in their “First Glimpse” magazine.

    HD Guru 

  • Tim

    Joe, me thinks you need to read the above article again.

    Saying “LCD’s don’t get burn in, they get retention”, is like saying my knee doesn’t hurt, it aches. LCD and Plasma both can get image retention of some kind.

    Also saying “Plasma get honest to goodness burn” is also mis-leading. What is honest to goodness burn?? Do they really burn?? NO, they don’t actually burn. Burn and retention are just generalized terms that have been applied to each technology for no other reason that to differentiate LCD from Plasma.

    Plasma burn in is also dependant on quality of manufacturer. Are some brands more susceptible…. of coarse they are. Have some basically eliminated burn in……..yes. Look around.

    Lastly, LCD’s can absolutely get permanent retention and I own a 40″ to prove it. And it was not caused by a UV source. Get your facts straight.

  • joe

    LCD’s don’t get burn in. They can get retention. This occurs because LCD’s rely on the twisting of a crystal compound. IF left in the same position for too long the crystals have a problem relaxing. How long is this too long you as , 15-120 minutes.

    Thats right! It happens all the time on computer LCDs. There is substantially no difference between a computer LCD display and a TV display. This is inherent to LCD’s and has been known about for as long as people have been using liquid crystals.

    Image retention is explained in the article. As far as how long the retained image’s “stuck” pixels remain, that will require further investigation.

    The HD Guru 

    The crystals never loose their ability to untwist. So even if you show the same image day after day for years the display can go back to the reference position. Unless it is damaged by uv or temperature exposure .

    The severity of the problem is what changes. Typically it just manifests as slower than normal response time.

    On tv’s the image is always changing so you are very unlikely to see this problem manifest as long as you change the channel once every few hours.

    Really this has always been happening it is absolutely not permanent. It can be ‘fixed’ by shutting off your TV or playing a movie. Any constant image be it white, black or blue will cause the pixels to get stuck in their new position, just maybe in a uniform fashion.

    Brightness has no effect on this. No setting on the set will change this unless one happens to cause the pixels to dither slightly and randomly.

    This is NOT the same for plasma. Plasma get honest to goodness burn that will not go away in LCD’s can not unless you use a UV source to damage them.

    Cool though that you got Sharp to send you a free TV. See if you can also get them from Sony,Phillips and Samsung.

Leave a Comment