If you are among AV enthusiasts who have been putting off the purchase of an LG 2021 G1 series 4K “evo” OLED TV out of concern about getting burned by image retention, LG Electronics might have just given you a little extra assurance to make your decision easier.

LG Electronics (LG) announced Friday that it is adding a “five-year limited panel warranty” to its 2021 flagship G1 Gallery Series OLED TVs (aka evo Series) sold in the U.S.

Why only the G1 Series? The G1 evo series is noteworthy for its elevated panel brightness compared to other 2021 LG OLED TV series. The G1 evo models are also in competition with the top performing OLED series from Sony (the A90J series), which also boasts of elevated brightness.

Generally speaking, higher peak brightness can elevate the risk of image retention if the television is misused, but both companies claim to have taken steps to mitigate the risk.

LG improved peak brightness in the G1 “evo” panel models with new technologies including use of a green emitting layer and a new material — deuterium — instead of hydrogen in the blue-producing OLED compound. Sony (and Panasonic in other countries) have also added a cooling heat-sink in their models to help mitigate pre-mature panel aging due to heat.

Image retention is a temporary condition in which the ghost-like remnants of the brightest parts of an image remain on screen as a faint visible overlay after the scene or image changes. Most of the time, this condition disappears after playing a moving image for a few minutes or hours. In extreme conditions it can be permanent — a condition known as burn-in, but this is usually very rare and easily avoided.

For one thing, most OLED TVs today use anti-image-retention-features that seamlessly run when the TV is turned off to evenly age the panel and erase such artifacts.

Enter the new 5-year G1 OLED screen warranty, which should give shoppers a little extra piece of mind. The caveat, as the company’s announcement indicates, is that the warranty applies to “panel failure on LG G1 OLED TVs due to a defect in materials or workmanship under normal and proper use during the warranty period.”

More information on the warranty terms and conditions are available here.

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In the vast majority of cases, image retention is the user’s fault. That means the warranty will be no bueno if LG can prove issues with image retention and burn-in were caused by misuse. Such issues could include leaving bright static images from unchanging video game scenes on screen for too long (exactly how long that is varies by the set and the conditions).

In theory, then, the warranty could be invalidated by leaving on static images of channels or content with stationary stock tickers, channel logo overlays or scoreboard graphics. But don’t worry, this is usually only an issue if you are inclined to leave on one channel or image for long parts of the day.

We also don’t expect LG, or their dealer partners, would push back too hard under most circumstances where such problems result. LG is one of the industry’s largest and more reliable brands for customer support. But you’d have to ask LG to be sure, that’s nothing we can guarantee you.

In any event, we strongly advise our readers to get an extended warranty from a reliable third-party insurer (like SquareTrade/Allstate) on any TV purchase regardless of display technology for added protection. Also, try to purchase a TV with a reputable credit card, like American Express, that offers its own one-year extended warranty.

In general, we advise most consumers not to avoid making an OLED TV purchase strictly out of fear of burn-in. In the vast majority of cases, this will never be a problem you’re likely to experience.

OLED suppliers like LG and Sony have long argued, with good reason, that image retention on an OLED panel is easily preventable with a little care and attention to use. Don’t walk away leaving a freeze-frame image static on screen and no screen saver activated. Be especially careful using PC and video game connections when no motion video or variation of still images and graphics are present.

If you like using TV test patterns to calibrate your television make sure not to leave things like static D65 white window patterns on screen for more than a few minutes at time. Also, don’t measure peak brightness across window sizes for more than a few minutes.

For more information on the image retention topic, check out LG’s discussion here.

LG’s G1 OLED screen warranty is reminiscent of similar measures taken by plasma TV manufacturers 10 or 15 years ago. Plasma, like OLED, was a self-emissive-light display technology that suffered from customers’ often unsubstantiated burn-in fears for years. In the case of plasma, and OLED, much of that fear was stoked by rival TV companies with a vested interest in selling LCD TVs.

Some plasma manufacturers eventually over came some of the image retention fear by raising panel life expectancy claims to 100,000 hours of use and implementing burn-in prevention systems like pixel oribiter technology that shifts the entire image by a few pixels at preset intervals to seamlessly and automatically keep static images moving. Televisions then and now also employ screen savers, which should always remain engaged on emissive displays.

According to the company statement on the warranty offer ,”LG OLED TVs are renowned for their exceptional level of performance and reliability which have made the company a category leader. The limited panel warranty gives current and future owners of applicable 2021 LG G1 OLED TVs, another significant reason to enjoy the benefits that LG OLED technology can deliver.”

According to LG’s statement, in the U.S. only, the 5-year limited warranty applies to LG G1 OLED evo series (77/65/55-inch) from the date of retail purchase.

The limited panel warranty covers both parts and labor within the first year after purchase and the panel itself (parts only) for the years 2-5. (Editor’s note: Get an extended warranty).

LG G1 Evo Series

77-inch class (76.7 inches diagonal)

65-inch class (64.5 inches diagonal)

55-inch class (54.6 inches diagonal)

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By Greg Tarr

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