If you’re wondering what that annoying dark mark on your 4K TV is, you might be dealing with something that display experts call a “burn-in.”
Burn-in happens when you leave an image fixed on a screen for too long e.g. when you pause a movie to go and fix yourself lunch. There may also be instances when gaming logos and ad banners can cause your screen to develop burn-in marks.
Recent advancements in technology are more efficient at preventing burn-in marks from happening. However, there certainly isn’t a shortage of complaints and inquiries online asking:
Do 4K TVs get burn-in?
We uncover that question (and more) in this article. We also provide a few tips and techniques on how you can prevent burn-in from happening to your 4K TV.
Stick around to learn more.
- Do 4K TVs Get Burn-In?
- Types of 4K TV Display Technologies
- Do 4K LED TVs Get Burn-In?
- Do 4K QLED TVs Get Burn-In?
- Do 4K OLED TVs Get Burn-In?
- How Can I Prevent Burn-In on My 4K TV?
- Is Burn-In Covered by Warranty?
- How Can I Fix Burn-In on My 4K TV?
- The Bottom Line
Do 4K TVs Get Burn-In?
In a general sense, yes.
Televisions that are capable of displaying 4K resolutions can get burn-in. However, the answer may vary depending on the type of display technology that your 4K TV uses.
Different display technologies have fluctuating vulnerabilities when it comes to burn-in. Some displays may be ultra-sensitive to burn-in, while others may be completely invulnerable to them.
Types of 4K TV Display Technologies
Nowadays, 4K televisions typically come in three types: LED, QLED, and OLED.
Let’s take a look at what makes each of these display technologies different from the other.
4K LED TVs
LED is one of the oldest display technologies available today — it’s also the most affordable by far. They don’t offer the best images when compared to OLED and QLED displays; however, they can still provide exceptional brightness, color, and depth when paired with an LCD panel.
4K QLED TVs
QLED technologies can be considered the mid-tier display technology in the industry. QLED displays are essentially an LED display that’s been enhanced by quantum dots — these are nanoparticles that work to super-charge the brightness, color, and depth of your display.
4K OLED TVs
Although its name might bear the LED acronym, it functions in a completely different way than the traditional LED and QLED screens. It doesn’t need the help of an LCD panel to create vivid and clear images on-screen.
Instead, every single pixel on an OLED TV is its own LED light. This allows for crisper videos and less light bleeding into the black spaces on the screen.
Do 4K LED TVs Get Burn-In?
Recent 4K LED TVs are equipped with preventive technologies that fend-off burn-in. However, it’s still possible for your 4K LED TV to develop burn-in marks, especially if you leave it on a single channel for hours on end.
It’s also possible for your 4K LED TV to get burn-in if you play video games with static logos and other elements (e.g., game maps, compasses, item library) displayed on-screen.
Do 4K QLED TVs Get Burn-In?
Curiously enough, 4K QLED TVs are the least affected by burn-in and afterglow. So, no matter how long you choose to display a photo, video, or logo on-screen, it won’t leave behind any annoying dark marks.
How is this possible?
Well, 4K QLED TVs — like the SAMSUNG QLED Q60A Series — have inorganic quantum dots that fight against burn-in by bouncing residual images and graphics off the screen.
LED and OLED TVs don’t have the same burn-in obstructing technologies which is why they are more susceptible to it.
Do 4K OLED TVs Get Burn-In?
Burn-in on your 4K OLED TV is less likely to happen, but it is possible, especially if you’re someone who likes leaving the TV on a single channel for long periods.
Luckily, most burn-in cases that happen to 4K OLED TVs are image retention and are temporary. Meaning, they may disappear after your TV is given a little time to rest.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to immediately notice image retention before it becomes a permanent burn on your screen. So, you can still act to prevent it from happening.
How Can I Prevent Burn-In on My 4K TV?
Fortunately, burn-in isn’t a predetermined consequence and there are ways you can prevent it from happening to your 4K TV.
Here are a couple of examples:
Avoid Watching Channels with Static Elements
There certainly is value in watching the news on television. How else are you supposed to keep up with what’s going on around the world and your community? Still, staying on the news channel for long hours every day can very well land your 4K TV in burn-in ville.
News channels typically have static elements (e.g., logos, news crawlers, and banners) that can easily burn into your screen, especially if you put them on every day.
Limit the amount of time you spend on the news (or sports channels) where they display a ton of static images. This will help preserve the longevity of your 4K TV.
Avoid Unplugging the Power Cord
You might be unaware of this, but most TVs have an auto-refresher feature that shifts entire images by a few pixels on your TV. This helps offset static images that could burn into your TV screen.
This feature only functions when the power cord is plugged in. So, even if you’re not watching anything, keep the power cord plugged to activate the auto-refresher feature on your TV.
Avoid Watching in 21:9
Also called the “cinematic format” the 21:9 format places two black blocks on the top and bottom areas of your screen. While there’s nothing wrong with using this format for an hour or two, leaving an area blank much longer can result in burning in.
As much as possible, utilize all available areas on your screen to prevent burn-in.
Is Burn-In Covered by Warranty?
Both image retention and burn-in are not covered by warranty for most of the popular 4K TV manufacturers.
In fact, according to display experts from LG, image retention and burn-in are not covered by warranty simply because burn-in is a result of a user going over the recommended viewing conditions of their television.
Another popular 4K TV manufacturer — Sony — shares the same sentiments. Company experts say they only provide warranties for manufacturing and product defects. Burn-in results from consumer usage and, therefore, doesn’t meet their criteria for coverage.
How Can I Fix Burn-In on My 4K TV?
Unlike image retention which is temporary and can go away after some time, burn-in is a permanent condition. So, there’s nothing you can do to fix it — except buy a new TV.
However, there are ways you can reduce its appearance on your screen, so you won’t have to stare at black spots the entire time you’re watching TV.
Here are a couple of tips you can try out:
Play With the Brightness
Try lowering your brightness to below fifty. This could potentially reduce the appearance of burn-in on-screen and can also help prevent further damage.
Use Color-Changing Videos
Playing a color-changing video from YouTube or some other source that can help remove some of the effects of burn-in from your screen.
The Bottom Line
It might not be as common to get burn-in on your 4K TV anymore, but it’s still a possibility.
Burn-in is an inevitable event, especially if you don’t take the extra precautions needed to prevent it from happening.
Watching videos and shows with static elements in them for hours on end will result in burn-in marks developing on your 4K TV screen. So, as much as possible, avoid watching long hours of television every day.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.