Samsung’s 34CF791 UltraWide quantum dot QHD gaming monitor.

Samsung used the IFA electronics show in Berlin Thursday to announce a new marketing strategy that takes aim at a perceived weak point in rival LG Electronic’s increasingly popular OLED TV technology.

Samsung announced Thursday its 2016 quantum-dot-based LED LCD SUHD TVs will be protected by a 10-year warranty against “burn-in,” which is a condition also known as “image retention.” This is where the ghost of a bright point in a picture left static on screen for a sustained period of time leaves behind a visible stain on the screen after the picture changes to a new scene. Under certain circumstances in some OLED TVs, this retained image or stain can sometimes remain visible for a number of minutes before it eventually fades away.

Samsung is able to safely issue a 10-year warranty against screen “burn-in” because LCD technology is less susceptible to the problem. In fact, unless an LCD is severely abused it is very unlikely to ever show image retention issues before something more catastrophic goes wrong, like the panel goes dark, a board blows or the power supply fails.

Similarly, new quantum dot technology used along with LCDs in Samsung’s new SUHD TVs do not have any overt vulnerability to image retention and are, in fact, noted for their ability to handle high temperatures over long periods of time and still produce bright, stable colors.

Read more on Samsung’s 10-year burn-in warranty after the jump:

Image retention was an issue for early plasma TVs and is somewhat of an issue for OLED technology today, although LG and others have developed techniques for preventing it. The staining, which was far more pronounced on early plasma TVs, occurs when static images with bright elements are allowed to remain on screen for long periods of time, as would be the case when viewing a signal from a PC or video game console.

It can sometimes appear when a station runs an on-screen logo overlay on a program for a long period or when stock or news tickers are put on screen without changing during commercials and station breaks.

The Samsung “burn-in” warranty is only applicable to 2016 SUHD Quantum Dot (SUHD Series) TVs purchased between Aug. 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, from a participating retailer. Coverage extends to a total of 19 models, including: 88-inch, 78-inch, and 65-inch models in the KS9800 series; 78-inch, 65-inch, and 55-inch models in the KS9500 series; 65-inch, 55-inch, and 49-inch models in the KS8500 series; and 65-inch, 60-inch, 55-inch, and 49-inch models in the KS8000 series.

In Samsung’s quantum dot application, the technology uses cadmium-free materials. Cadmium is a toxic substance commonly found in TVs using other quantum dot approaches.

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LG confirmed for HD Guru that it has developed panel brightness limiters and other sophisticated technology to deal with any image retention issues, adding that “image retention that was once a problem for plasma TVs is not a problem for OLED.”

To explain the image retention “or staining” issue in OLEDs, LG confirmed that each pixel in an OLED TV is activated by an individual drive transistor, which is activated by voltage.

Through differing amounts of use, the transistors can begin to diverge or drift from the base voltage threshold, resulting in differing responses to the same voltage when applied to every pixel transistor across the screen.

This differing response to the voltage appears as image retention.

To prevent this, LG has developed improved algorithms that periodically make slight changes to the voltage. These changes in effect reset the voltage threshold so that all the transistors respond uniformly once again, eliminating image retention, except in cases of abuse.

The technology is outlined in “Patent US20060208971 – Active matrix OLED display device with threshold voltage drift compensation.”

Samsung used the occasion of the Berlin show to introduce its first curved-screen UltraWide (21:9 aspect ratio) quantum-dot PC and gaming monitors. The company is offering three models in each category.

The three UltraWide QHD (3,440 by 1,440) gaming monitors will ship in October and feature a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. The models include: the 34-inch CF791 ($999 suggested retail), the 27-inch CFG70 ($499) and the 24-inch CFG70 ($399).

The three UltraWide curved-screen quantum dot PC monitors all have 60Hz refresh rates and QHD resolution. They include: the 31.5-inch VF390, the 27-inch VF390, and the 27-inch DF591. Pricing and availability dates will be announced later.

By Greg Tarr


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