As an avid gamer, I have been frustrated over the years with rumors of OLED TVs getting “burn-in” from gaming. I decided to do some research and testing to find out the truth about this phenomenon. Here, I am sharing my findings and the solutions I have discovered to help others understand and prevent OLED TV burn-in from gaming.
It’s possible for a gamer to see image retention problems on an OLED TV, but it takes very extreme usage to cause permanent damage. Plus, some settings, like transparent HUDs, can decrease the burn-in risk.
- It is possible for a gamer to see image retention problems on an OLED TV, but it takes very extreme usage to cause permanent damage.
- Video game interfaces usually have static elements/icons which can cause burn-in.
- Hardcore gamers who play for extended periods (an average of over four hours) daily are at a higher risk of burn-in.
- Games with persistent static elements, bright scenes, and skewed aspect ratios are more likely to cause burn-in.
- While a burn-in is a cumulative effect, it can be prevented by adjusting brightness levels, using transparent HUDs, and rotating window positions.
- If you’re a hardcore gamer, consider asking if extended warranties cover burn-ins within a specific period.
Why Do OLED TVs Get Burn-in From Gaming?
Screen burn-in with video games happens precisely the same way as streaming a movie or watching a news channel would.
When portions of the screen remain constant for a long time, it leaves a “ghost” mark. After some repeated abuse, the retained “ghost” image could leave a permanent pixel burn-in.
There are two main reasons why many gamers dread burn-ins on their valuable OLED TVs. After all, OLEDs aren’t exactly a minor purchase. Actually, scratch that and make it three reasons:
- Video game interfaces usually have static elements/icons.
- Hardcore gamers can play for extended periods (an average of over four hours) daily.
- OLEDs are a hefty investment that no one wants to risk ruining.
Should You Worry About an OLED TV Burn-in With Gaming?
This mix of reasons can send many gamers into a frenzy. However, it’s important to note that this burn-in rarely happens with everyday usage. Sure, every appliance has its estimated lifespan, but a brand-new OLED TV shouldn’t suffer from a burn-in with casual gaming.
For the most part, you’ll only have to worry about this effect if multiple power users use the same TV in alternating turns, and they all play the same game.
This might lead to leaving static images on the screen for 10-15 hours per day, which can be dangerous if the situation stretches on for months on end.
What Kind of Games Can Cause TV Burn-ins?
So, if you’re a hardcore gamer who could use a bit of vigilance to prevent burn-ins, you might wonder if all games are equally risky.
Well, no. Certain games can be more harmful than others, depending on interface layout, brightness level, and aspect ratios.
Let’s see how these factors can translate to burn-ins:
Games With Persistent Static Elements
The first thing to look for when you’re judging a game’s potential for burn-in is the static elements.
These could include:
- Menus and panels with tool icons
- Health, task, or score stat bars
- HUDs (heads-up displays)
- Side logos
- Mini maps
Keep in mind that static elements with vivid colors like red, orange, magenta, and yellow can leave more prominent image retention marks on the screen. Meanwhile, soft logos and icons in white, blue, and green are less likely to pose a risk.
That’s why some games come with optional transparent settings for the HUDs. Give it a shot if you’re concerned about burn-in in the long term!
Games With Bright Scenes
Many thriller video games opt to use dark scenes. Take, for instance, all the dingy nooks and crannies in Call of Duty WWII.
Meanwhile, other gameplays with brighter interfaces, like FIFA 18, can be considered high-risk. Generally, HDR video games are more visually demanding.
Of course, burn-in is just a cumulative effect of brightness and activity hours.
On the other hand, some people just like blasting the display intensity to the max since it adds to the immersive experience. However, you’ll need to keep it down a notch to avoid wearing out your TV screen quickly.
Games With Skewed Aspect Ratios
If you play a lot of games with an aspect ratio like 4:3, you might notice two black bands on the sides that make up for the aspect difference.
While the black lines (inactivated OLED pixels) won’t burn, you could end up with uneven pixel degradation on your screen with a dimmer center.
If you’re going to be using the TV set for a lot of hardcore games, you could just play in window mode and shift the window’s position on the screen every few hours.
This should cancel out both the effect of static elements and aspect ratios.
So, do OLED TVs get burn-in from gaming?
A gamer’s OLED screen could end up with a burn-in mark, especially with bright interfaces with lots of static elements. However, it’s not a major concern for casual users who rotate their content regularly and won’t mind keeping the brightness level down.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, remember to ask if extended warranties cover burn-ins within a specific period, just to be on the safe side!
Read more: Does pausing a TV damage it?