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Can Playing Video Games On a Big Screen TV Ruin It?

Can Playing Video Games On a Big Screen TV Ruin It?

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Are you wondering if playing video games on your big-screen TV can ruin it? We have answers!

In the past, video games were notorious for doing a lot of damage to TVs. However, that was in the era of CRT phosphorus displays — years before widescreen TVs staged a hostile takeover.

Over the years, the advancement in TV technology ended the hostility between TVs and game consoles. Modern HDTVs no longer have phosphorus screens and are now better equipped to support game consoles.

This article explains the threat your Xbox or PS4 poses to your TV screen. 

Do you want to learn how to protect your TV while playing video games? If so, then keep reading!

Can an Xbox Or PS4 Damage a TV?

PS4/ PS5

Yes, but the chances are very slim.

Before HD and 4K TVs, televisions were made using Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT). In CRT TVs, each pixel contains RGB phosphor components.

These TVs were notorious for having image burn-ins on their phosphorus screens. 

Screen burn-in is the discoloration or ghostly imprint of a previously displayed image that remains on your screen after you change channels and even when the TV is powered off. 

Burn-in images result from the same image being on the screen for long hours.

For example, when the background image of a particular game or game figure stays on screen for a long time, it can leave a burn-in on the screen. The burn-in happens because specific pixels are overused compared to others, reducing their intensity.

The video games made before the advent of HDTVs had static images on their loading or start screens. Hence, they often caused screen burn-ins, which could permanently damage a TV screen. 

In comparison, most games on Xbox and PS4 now have animated start and loading screens. On Fortnite, you can even create a custom animated loading screen. 

How to Make Custom Animated Fortnite Intro/Loading Screens (FREE TEMPLATE!)

Also, the TVs after CRT television are built differently. Unlike their predecessor, LCD, LED, and DLP TVs do not use phosphorus displays that are more susceptible to burn-in. Most modern HDTVs can display static images for long hours with zero consequences. 

However, there are plasma TVs that still use phosphorus displays. They are still very susceptible to screen burn-in from video games. 

OLED TVs are also susceptible to image retention and burn-in. They do not use backlights; individual pixels emit light, which increases the risk of burn-in. 

For LCD and LED panels, burn-in occurs differently. As individual LED pixels reflect light, they slowly decay. Overused pixels (which continuously display a static image) decay faster and die. In LCD panels, the overused pixels continue to receive the same amount of light even after the image signal changes.

How To Protect Your Big Screen TV When Playing Video Games On It

Image retention or burn-in often results in irreversible damage. Hence, you need to identify ways to prevent its occurrence.

Do you spend long hours playing video games? In this section, we’ll explore the different ways to prevent your game console from damaging your TV.

1. Enable Screen Move

man is holding a romote control while sitting comfortably on the floor and watching tv with his girlfriend

Screen Move (or Pixel Shift) is a setting on many modern TVs. When the TV is left on for an extended time, this setting changes the screen at regular intervals to stop retention. 

It is often enabled by default, so you don’t have to activate it yourself. However, you may turn it on or off from the Settings menu.

2. Adjust To Low Brightness

man adjusts the sound setting of TV

Since static images on-screen over a long period cause burn-in, a low-brightness setting can significantly help.

Screen brightness usually has three settings: ‘Off,’ ‘Low,’ and ‘High.’ We recommend leaving it at the default ‘Low’ setting.

This function subdues the brightness of fixed elements like subtitles and channel logos.

3. Turn Off The TV 

Turn off TV after using

If your video games display still or static images on the screen for long periods, we advise you to turn off the TV after gameplay. 

Use the power button on the control panel or remote control to turn it off, then leave the TV off for six hours or more. This move will reduce the risk of image retention.

4. Switch To Wide Mode 

Playing game with TV in wide mode

Sony lists this setting as a way to prevent screen burn-in from black bars. 

When your screen and video aspect ratios do not match, the TV automatically fills in the screen with black bars, which are displayed throughout the runtime of your video game. Switching to wide mode will fill the screen with the image and eliminate black bars.

Go to Settings > Display > Screen > Wide Mode. Here you can select your preferred wide mode: Full or Zoom.

NOTE: The settings’ names and locations may differ for various TV brands and models. Consult your manufacturer’s manual to navigate your settings easily. 

5. Display Static on LCD and Plasma TVs

Playing game on TV with console

Image burn-in can be reversible if corrected early. If you notice a burn-in on your plasma, LCD, or OLED TV screen, display white static for about 12 hours or more. 

The continuous motion of monochrome patterns across your screen can eliminate the burn-in on your screen. However, this solution only works for mild cases. 

6. Use Pixel Cleaning 

A man playing game on TV with console control

This is a screen-saving option in LG’s OLED TVs. You’ll find it under Menu > Settings > Support > OLED Screen Saver. 

Pixel Cleaning examines and changes each pixel to detect image deterioration and prevent burn-ins. 

While you can do it manually, we don’t recommend using this option regularly. Consider it a last resort when there is an apparent problem.

An OLED display repairs itself almost daily, so using the Pixel Cleaning function can diminish the TV’s lifespan. 


A couple playing game on TV with console controls

Before big-screen HDTVs emerged, video games had a sour relationship with CRT and plasma TVs. However, the advancement of technology has brought good changes.

Video games can no longer damage your TV screen as much as they used to in the past. LCD, LED, and other new display technologies do not use phosphor components and are less susceptible to screen burn-in. 

If you play many video games, we still advise that you display them using low brightness settings, enable pixel shift, and take other precautionary measures outlined in this article. 

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