Projection screen videogame "burn-in": Myth or Reality?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Marx, Jul 21, 2002.

  1. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    I am buying a 53" SONY HDTV bigscreen tv tomorrow. I have heard conflicting stories about whether it's a danger to play videogames on a projection tv. One salesman at BEST BUY told me, "man, don't worry. Nothing will happen." Another told me, "it's not a good idea. You will burn static images onto your tv."

    I want to hear from those of you who've played OFTEN on a projection tv. Am I in danger of burning things into the screen, or should I go about it with no worries?

    Your thoughts please...
     
  2. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Yes, CRT phosphor damage during the playing of video games is a real threat especially to RPTV and FPTV sets..
    If you turn the contrast down to less than 20%, and play in a darkened room, you should not have problems.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  3. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    I play video games often on my RPTV - but it is 12 years old, FAR less bright than it used to be, and I still keep the contrast and brightness below 50%. I have seen MANY sets ruined by video games, DVD menus, and static channel logos. The guy that told you not to worry about it, quite simply, has not earthly idea what he's talking about.

    I'd recommend not playing any games on your TV at all - not even with the contrast and brightness way down - for at least the first month or so, because just like a new car engine a TV has a break-in period. After the TV's broken in, playing for short amounts of time (
     
  4. Dave Cukina

    Dave Cukina Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey I have a 50" toshiba and I play my X-box on it all the time, I've had 7 hour sessions with Halo and as long as you keep your contrast in the 30% range there should be no problems, i can't guarantee nothing will happen but nothing's happened to me so far *knock on wood*.
     
  5. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    It also depends on the video game. Newer games have backgrounds and objects that are constantly moving, and static objects (such as score displays) are less common, or can be turned off. However, I don't recommend playing Pac Man for hours on end, as that game is full of static images.

    KJP
     
  6. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Just something I have been wondering:
    Why are video games worse than any other picture being displayed when it comes to burn in?
     
  7. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    That's a good question! I was wondering the same thing myself. I read somewhere else today that playing games and leaving a GUN INDICATOR and HEALTH INDICATOR on the screen is much like having the CNN logo on your screen for hours at a time too. What if you watch two NFL games in a row (6 hours) on FOX...with that logo/scoreboard in the upper left. Wouldn't that pose a threat too?

    Anyway, I am going to follow the advice that's been given here and avoid playing games on the set for a coupla months or so...to allow it to break in. After that, I will play sporadically, and be careful with the BRIGHTNESS and CONTRAST settings.

    Thanks for all your responses...
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Yes, it's static images that cause the problem
     
  9. Alan Benson

    Alan Benson Stunt Coordinator

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    I have to say that burn-in still scares the squat out of me, and will probably keep me from buying an RPTV until it's a completely dead issue.

    Thanks to station bugs and split screens, TiVo, video games, etc., we are seeing more and more static images on our screens all the time. Is just saying "don't watch/play such-and-such very often" or "turn your brightness and contrast down" really acceptable to most people?

    My viewing is always likely to consist of 1/2 movies, 1/2 broadcast television... I'm eager to buy something HDTV-ready, mostly for the progressive DVD, and I'd love a bigger set. But I'm still unclear what good 16:9 would do me (as opposed to say Sony's 16:9 mode) and I'm concerned that an RPTV is only asking for trouble with my viewing/gaming habits.
     
  10. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    Why is burn in more of a risk on a projection CRT TV than a regular direct view CRT TV?
     
  11. James Stierman

    James Stierman Stunt Coordinator

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    Maybe burn in was just a trick that adults used so the kids wouldn't be playing video games on the big TV all day. HAHA

    Most new games don't have any static images, and if you have a mitsubishi when you watch it in 4x3 mode, it slowly slides the picture back and forth so burn in doesn't occur as much.
     
  12. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    Yes, games are one of the common causes of screen burn-in, and I have read posts from people who suffered. And, to James Stierman, if you are watching with a 4 X 3 image with masking bars, yes, they do move, to try to miminize the risk. BUT... there is a user who just posted this morning (on another forum) that he thought this was safe... it was not. He has a Mits, and his contrast was turned down to 33%, so he THOUGHT he was immune. He says it only took a "few months." If you need a link to this, let me know, and i will PM it to you (I don't think this forum likes me to direct you to another).

    There is a FAQ on the subject of burn-in, which is invaluable, and can be found on that "other" forum. It was written by a calibrator (Mr. Bob), (and well-written), and should be required reading by all before they buy any CRT display device.

    Below are my own thoughts on this nagging problem… especially since it seems to be rearing its ugly head a lot these days.

    "Burn-In for the Paranoid, and also for the Uninformed"

    First, make absolutely certain you turn the contrast way, way down as soon as you take delivery of a RPTV. If you already took delivery of a RPTV, go and turn that contrast down now. Most experts recommend between 30% and 35% of full. This will help (but not eliminate the risk). Many people claim that it is the most effective means of minimizing the risk of burn-in.

    Second, try to get in the habit of paying attention to static images which occur anywhere on yur screen. Think of the individual pixels which make up an image, perhaps on your computer's monitor, when you display a JPG. Now, imagine that any pixel which is continuously lit for long period of time is at risk of burning that "color" (even black or gray) in permanently. Only,now, instead of pixels, they are "phosphors," since you have a RPTV. (It actually "overuses" those phosphors located and focused on that part of the screen.) The image is not "burned in" to your screen surface. It just looks that way. It is permanent, though, because those phosphors (of a particular color or color combination) have been overused. Users who have burn-in describe it as "ghostly" image which is always there, and more noticable on white backgrounds, or extremely light-colored backgrounds.

    Costs: All of the estimates I have read were more than $1000.00 This is apparently because you end up replacing the CRTs or "guns," and almost everyone recommends you replace all three at the same time, or you will end up with a noticeably uneven mix of colors. If your set is two years old, you have one very BRIGHT gun, and two much dimmer ones. Replacing all three is usually (apparently) $1000 to $1500. And, in case no one has pointed this out to you, this is NOT covered by any warranty which anyone seems to have come across. As a matter of fact, it is specifically EXCLUDED by all of those warranties.

    Examples of static images which users have reported as causing burn in include the following: the logos which appear on most broadcast and network stations now; stock tickers running along the bottom of the screen; news tickers and headline summaries; those gray "masking bars" which can appear when you are watching an image which is in a different aspect ratio than that of your own set; those black masking bars which can appear when you are watching an image which is in a different aspect ratio than that of your own set; static background images which can exist on many games (from X-Box, Game Cube, Nintendo, etc.); DVD menus (I have only read of one occurrence of this, from a user who admitted falling asleep, and the DVD reverted to the "Main Menu" after the DVD had ended); Graphics and other elements from World Wide Web pages (from users who hooked up cable modems to their televisions, and left pages unattended with the set turned on). Are these the only images to worry about? Probably not, but these are the ones I have come across, to date.

    So, what can you do? Vary the signal, as often as it is practical (without ruining your enjoyment of the set). If you look upon it as a compromise, and take reasonable precautions, and pay attention to those guidelines you will PROBABLY be okay. Pay attention to how often you have black masking bars, or gray masking bars, because the format you are watching is not 16 X 9. Solution? Whenever you can stand it, use a "stretch" or "zoom" or "theater wide" or "cinema wide" mode to fill the entire screen.

    Pay attention to the logos, which so many stations insist on placing in the corner. Solution? Minimize the watching of stations which leave them there non-stop. NOTE: I did not say "don't watch." I said minimize… without destroying your viewing pleasure. Minimize the bright ones (History Channel), and relax a BIT more if it is a only a "transparent one," such as the Discovery Channel has.

    If your DVD has a "moving" screen saver which comes on when no signal is coming from the set, make certain this is turned on. Also, try not to fall asleep with a static image left on (at the end of a movie, for example, or while watching that ESPN, with the static band at the bottom).

    And, as for your sports (and stock ticker channels, and home shopping network, and CNN), which tend to have the horizontal bands at the bottom, VARY the signal. Try not to leave one channel on for hours on end, without occasionally changing to watch A DIFFERENT sports channel, even, because their horizontal band is probably a different color, and different size, etc.

    Be very wary of that contrast. If you do a true calibration, you sill discover that it should be set lower than you probably think, anyway, for maximum detail and the best viewing enjoyment. Also be aware that you may set the contrast low, and not realize that YOUR SET requires it be set low on each and every input, separately. So set it low for all settings. Check it, to make certain it stayed there. Also, be wary of "Audio Video Reset Buttons." They can set it right back to "normal" with the flick of a button. I read recently posts from a user who thinks one of his kids hit this button on the front control pane, and these same kids also watched a lot of Cartoom Network. That logo is now on his screen. And, be wary of "Iris" or "room lighting auto adjust" types of controls. They will ignore your contrast setting, and often re-set it back to 100%, regardless of your own customized choice.

    Do NOT let this cause you sleepness nights. There have been people who have stated they went more than ten and twelve years with no burn-in problems on Rear Projection TVs. However, there have been others who experienced it in as little as two months. Lower that contrast (it will get you a better picture, it will prolong the life of your CRTs, and it will reduce the risk of burn-in.) Vary your viewing. Fill that screen whenever you can stand to. Be wary of logos (you can’t avoid them, but you can avoid leaving them on the screen non-stop). Be wary of those "masking bars" (you can’t avoid them, but you can avoid leaving them on the screen non-stop). Be wary of games (make a mental check of what is being displayed, and whether any part of it is static). You do not have to "ban" stations, or even games. You do have to become educated, and exercise some caution.

    We are already seeing an increase (I believe) in the cases of burn in, recently, due to the proliferation of logos. A saleperson told me recently that they "used to see this all of the time," ten years ago, and then, they "rarely" saw it. More customers were warned, the technology improved, and the number of cases went down. However, he said it has been increasing in the last year, due to the logos which have appeared.

    I read this morning of a brand new case (I see one new case about every two weeks, on the three public forums I frequent). This case was posted on a different public Forum. This was a person who HAD his contrast low, warned his household, and minimized the logos, etc. But… he hated all of the stretch modes. So, he changed his habits "a few months ago," and watched with masking bars. A lot. All of his 4 X 3 stuff (which he admitted was a lot). He thought the gray masking bands were probably a minimal risk, almost neglible. He also thought the fact that his contrast was set down meant he would have no problems. So, he watched a lot of 4 X 3 on his 16 X 9 widescreen set, and decided not to use the Zoom or the Expand or the Stretch. Guess what type of burn-in he just found, yesterday, on his set? He can see the lines separating the masking bars from the main image on both the left and right sides of his screen. His set is 15 months old. He said he only began watching with the masking bars "a few months ago."

    Other recent cases I have read about involved the Cartoon Network, and the Fox logo, and TNT's logo.

    No one can eliminate the RISK altogether. But, if you take reasonable care, you can still enjoy the set, and not experience the "permanent burn-in."

    All of the above are merely based on things I have read, mostly here. I am not an expert. I just searched the forum extensively, to see what the actual causes seemed to be (I went back one full year, and searched ALL of the various forums).

    By the way, burn in is just as much a risk if you purchase a 4 X 3 RPTV. Just slightly different locations on the screen (grin). And, burn in CAN occur on direct view sets. It is just much more rare, on these.

    Burn in used to be quite common on the early computer monitors, especially the older, single-color ones (often they had an amber screens). This was pre-Windows, in the days of DOS, and text-based word processing. It was often a (green) flashing cursor which caused it. It is so rare today on computer monitors, and screen savers are almost never needed, due to the improvements in monitors. As a matter of fact, by the time they were added, they were virtually unnecessary. Of course, that did not stop hundreds of companies from profiting from the misconception that they were necessary .

    On RPTVs, though, this phenomena is real.

    If any of this is inaccurate, I apologize, and I urge anyone who knows better to chime in. Sorry for the length.

    -Bruce
     
  13. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    Also, why do we worry MORE about burn in when watching a 4x3 program on a 16x9 TV than watching a LETTERBOX movie on a 4x3 TV? WhyTF are we so worried about BURN IN!?!?!
     
  14. Alan Benson

    Alan Benson Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the excellent overview, Bruce. I wish I could say it conforted me, although the opposite is probably the case. I'm doubly convinced now, with my particular viewing habits, that I'd be a high-risk candidate for burn-in... I watch lots of 4:3, have a TiVo with static menus, and a brightly lit room. Stretch mode is unacceptable to me: just as I consider OAR essential for films, I'm not going to settle for having everything else distorted. Time for me to start saving the bigbucks for a 40" direct view, I guess... [​IMG]
     
  15. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    Ken:
    >>>>Also, why do we worry MORE about burn in when watching a 4x3 program on a 16x9 TV than watching a LETTERBOX movie on a 4x3 TV? WhyTF are we so worried about BURN IN!?!?!
     
  16. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    It would take several HOURS for an image to burn in anyway. I've left my monitor on for several hours with a still image and it has never burned in. There's no need to worry about burn in. The task bar in our Windows machines are always down there. But do we see it burn in? NO!!! IMO, Burn-IN is a Myth. The only times I've seen burn in are on the green screens on the ATM machines at the bank. Like I said. You need to have a still image on the screen for several hours. Probably might take a few days for the burn in to take place.
     
  17. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Ken,

    Turn your contrast to 100% and leave an image on your screen. Burn-in can occur in minutes under cerain conditions! There are many people who have 4:3 sets with severe burn-in that have no idea the condition exists on their set. Why? It's the USED area of the CRT that burns. They only view material through the burned portion of the phosphor so they never see evidence of the burn. Hardly a myth. Regards.
     
  18. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    Ken:

    >>> It would take several HOURS for an image to burn in anyway. > I've left my monitor on for several hours with a still image and it has never burned in. >There's no need to worry about burn in. >The task bar in our Windows machines are always down there. But do we see it burn in? NO!!! >IMO, Burn-IN is a Myth. > The only times I've seen burn in are on the green screens on the ATM machines at the bank. >Like I said. You need to have a still image on the screen for several hours. Probably might take a few days for the burn in to take place.
     
  19. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got my new SONY 53" HDTV. I am going through the settings, and I am guessing the PICTURE setting is the CONTRAST, right? Anyway, I have it set to 50%, although I am reading here that people are suggesting setting it to 33% at the least. I don't want to compromise picture quality, and I don't typically watch TV for hours on end, so I am hoping 50% is good enough. The brightness is also at 50%, by the way.

    Now, when I start playing games on the set, I will likely turn those settings down.

    Incidentally, anyone else have a SONY HDTV? I am buying a Prog-Scan DVD player tomorrow and was wondering what the best settings are? Should I activate the Prog feature on the DVD player or on the TV?
     
  20. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    This is one reason why I won't buy a projection TV (I've also never been to pleased with the picture quality.) I want to get a 16x9 direct-view set, but haven't been able to find one worthy of replacing my 40-inch 4x3 Mitsubishi. I don't get why some (like the 38-inch RCA) still have gray bars on the sides instead of black; I couldn't watch anything that way and I wouldn't want to stretch it either, so whatever set I get HAS to have black on the sides for 4x3 pictures.
    My current TV has the contrast set in the lowest possible position, which seems to be where it has to be to keep whites from 'blooming'. The worst thing I show on it is video games (I like the old ones!) but don't have them on long enough to cause burn-in. This problem was first noticed on home sets when stores would leave the original Pong games on all day, if I'm correct.
    I have an arcade Donkey Kong game and its monitor has the screen for the first level burned-in permanently. When I got it the screen was set too bright, I've adjusted it much darker since then. (Has anyone seen those new arcade games with projection monitors? Talk about suicide!!)
     

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