Skip to Content

How Long Does It Take for a TV to Burn In?

Seeing a logo imprinted on the side of your screen can be devastating, especially with new sets. Unfortunately, it’s bound to happen with static images, but how long does it take for a TV to burn in?

A burn-in can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to appear on a brand new TV screen under extreme conditions. However, other users might go years without noticeable damage, especially while using the built-in anti-burn display settings.

How can you predict when your TV might burn in, and what factors do you need to keep in mind? That’s what we set out to find!

What’s the Average TV Screen Burn-in Rate?

According to a test by RTINGS, it took around four weeks of 20-hour activity on static images per day (560 hours) for an OLED device to start showing the first signs of image retention.

It sounds like such a short lifespan. However, the testing conditions are amped up in terms of brightness, and they don’t really replicate regular usage.

Plus, it’s fair to say that 20 hours a day is a bit extreme. Most households don’t even get to the four-hour mark. This average rate means that depending on how long you keep the TV turned on and how versatile the content is, it could easily last years without significant issues.

Keep in mind that burn-in is more of a gradual effect than a sudden change. It starts with reversible image retention and builds up to a permanent mark with time.

So, if you see a “ghost” print on the screen after only a few hours of usage, odds are, it isn’t a permanent burn-in — either that or you just bought a defective device. In that case, you might need to get in touch with the manufacturer for a repair, replacement, or refund.

4 Factors That Affect TV Screen Burn-in Rates

It’s usually hard to pinpoint when a specific screen might suffer a burn-in. However, what you can do is understand the factors at play and do your best to keep your screen lasting for as long as possible.

Here are the main factors that you need to watch out for to prevent a screen burn-in:

Screen Type

Between CRT, plasma, LCD, and OLED, there could be different techs at work behind the screen. However, all these TV types are still prone to image retention that turns into burn-ins.

That said, some TVs are better equipped to handle static images than others. For example, according to Samsung, LEDs are less likely to get burn-ins than traditional plasma TV screens.

So, you might want to consider this before settling on a new TV set for your home, especially if you stream content with static elements often.

Activity Patterns

One factor to consider here is where the TV is mainly used. Is it in the comfort of a home or under the harsh usage of commercial spaces? Both have drastically different activity patterns that determine how fast the screen could burn.

For one, keeping TV screens on display inside a store or an office all day long is just a recipe for disaster!

That’s not only because of the extended hours but also because images with static elements will be much more common. Meanwhile, you’re more likely to switch the channels at home continuously.

One way for stores to use screens in the display without high risk is using screen-saving features or a slideshow with varying content colors.

Display Settings

A common mistake many people make when buying a new TV is setting all the display settings to the max 24/7.

Setting the contrast to half and brightness to 75% might help keep your screen from an untimely burn-in. Similarly, it might be safer to opt for natural colors vs. vivid ones to reduce the load on the TV.

Turning off vs. Unplugging

Some new TV models have a pixel-shifter to combat burn-in with extended usage. This feature works by refreshing your pixels and shifting them to the side every couple of hours. The shift is too insignificant to be an inconvenience, but it helps keep burn-ins away.

When you unplug your TV, instead of using the remote control to turn it off, you’re basically just resetting the timer of the pixel-shifter feature. Unfortunately, this reset puts your screen at a higher risk of image retention.

Final Thoughts

So, how long does it take for a TV to burn in?

It all depends on the TV type, how often you leave images with static elements on the screen, and your choice of display settings.

With normal usage, you won’t have to worry all that much about the potential risk of a burn-in on an LCD or LED TV screen, but a few preventive tips won’t hurt.

Something as simple as varying the content and keeping the brightness level low can be enough!