Screen burn-in is a common problem affecting TVs, computer monitors and other display devices. Also known as ghosting or ghost imaging, it’s characterized by permanent discoloration that resembles a previous image. Even when the display device is powered off, you can typically still see the burned-in image. So, what causes screen burn-in and how do you avoid it?

Overview of Screen Burn-In

Screen burn-in is the result of phosphor compounds remaining still for a prolonged length of time. As you may know, phosphor compounds produce light, which is responsible for creating the images in phosphor-based display devices like CRTs and plasmas. While effective at creating light and subsequent images, however, these devices are susceptible to screen burn-in because they use phosphor compounds. When the same image remains present for a prolonged length of time — typically several hours at minimum — the image essentially becomes burned into the display, resulting in the phenomenon known as screen burn-in.

Once screen burn-in has occurred, it’s difficult to repair. Turning the display device off and back on typically won’t resolve the problem. Rather, the device must be dismantled and repaired internally to correct the screen burn-in.

Preventing Screen Burn-In

The good news is that you can prevent screen burn-in by following some simple steps. First, make sure you are using the right type of display device. CRT and plasma devices have the highest rate of burn-in due to their reliance of phosphor compounds. In comparison, LCDs have little or no risk of screen burn-in. Whether it’s a computer monitor, TV, human machine interface (HMI), smartphone or tablet computer, you can rest assured knowing that your LCD display device won’t suffer from screen burn-in, regardless of how often you use it.

And if you’re going to choose a display device that’s susceptible to screen burn-in, such as a CRT or plasma display device, it’s recommended that you turn the device off rather than pausing or idling the display.

Screen burn-in was once a serious issue affecting display devices. It forced countless consumers and business owners to discard their old devices and replace them with new ones. Thankfully, most LCDs and even some LEDs, however, are now protected from this phenomenon.

It’s frustrating to discover screen burn-in on a display device. Even if the device still operates, it will contain a ghosted image from a previous session, which can affect its image quality. Choosing a high-quality LCD or LED device, however, can help you avoid the headaches caused by screen burn-in.