HDR is the new TV craze. It’s bright and beautiful. But now that we have it, we’re noticing all kinds of weird issues, like burn-in. Does HDR cause burn-in on your TV?
And, what is burn-in anyway?
HDR produces beautiful images by creating incredibly bright images alongside detailed dark shades. But it does so by using more energy. So does this cause burn-in?
HDR is part of the equation but not the entire answer. Although it doesn’t help, therefore, in that sense, HDR causes burn-in.
However, to give you a more in-depth answer, we will have to dive into the question at hand.
Let’s start by educating you on what burn-in is. Then we can take it from there.
What Is Burn-In?
Let’s say you’re watching a great documentary. As with many documentaries, they usually have a bar near the bottom describing who the person on TV is, along with their name and other factors.
But now, when the scene changes, you see remnants of that bottom bar. It seems it left a ghost that won’t go away.
That’s what burn-in does. Essentially, as the name suggests, it burns a previous image into the fabric of the monitor.
Burn-in images do not go away. Therefore your monitor is ruined.
Does HDR Cause Burn-In?
As the name suggests, “burn-in” permanently burns a picture into your TV. So, why does it happen?
Is burn-in caused by a bright or overly hot OLED TV? Therefore asking the question, “does HDR cause Burn-in?” is a very valid concern.
Considering HDR gets its source of brightness from the electricity it pulls, you can conclude that HDR causes your TV to get hot. However, that’s not entirely accurate.
But to answer the question, HDR by itself or a hot OLED TV does not cause burn-in. Burn-in is caused by a couple of issues when combined with HDR.
For example, burn-in most often occurs with static images. So, if you’re an avid gamer that loves first-person shooters that utilize a heads-up display (HUD) on your TV for the duration of your game, chances are this HUD will cause burn-in.
So, why does this happen? Let’s continue breaking it down.
If you have an OLED HDR TV like the LG OLED C1 it automatically enables Dynamic Tone Mapping (DTM.)
DTM analyses images on your screen to give you extra HDR and brightness within the given image. So, if you’re playing a video game with a HUD displayed on screen, chances are this HUD will become brighter.
Although this in itself is not a bad thing, after all, HDR is doing an excellent job at giving you a brilliant picture.
A simple fix in this case
If you have the LG OLED HDR TV, using the “Logo Brightness” feature to reduce the overall brightness will minimize your chance of any burn-in from happening.
However, we should mention that sometimes “Logo Brightness” is not enough, especially if you’re one of those gamers that play all day and night.
It’s only when an image is static that burn-in occurs. So even if you’re playing thousands of hours but changing games, your risk of burn-in reduces drastically.
To fix the issue once and for all, you’ll have to turn off DTM. This will allow HDR to continue giving you amazing color but reduces the overly bright HUDs, logos, and other static images that cause burn-in.
Let’s say you’ve purchased an LG OLED TV with HDR because you want those brilliant colors, but now you feel you’re at a loss. Don’t worry. We’ve got you.
OLED LG TVs offer a setting called HGiG. Essentially HGiG allows for three levels of DTM. You’re given the option for “on, off” and “HGiG.”
HGiG keeps your DTM turned off but will brighten areas as intended by the developer. Instead of brightening all things at once.
A couple of other things you can do to help reduce burn-in is to enable the auto screen-oof timer. Also, if possible disable any static images or icons such as taskbars within computer OS systems.
Is HDR Bad For Your TV?
HDR was created to improve the visuals you watch on your television. Therefore, this improvement is great for your TV.
Nevertheless, people wonder if HDR is bad.
HDR is a great feature that everyone should use if they can. Even though HDR is not bad for your TV, it pulls a lot of energy. However, that should not be a concern.
That’s like saying, “Don’t plug in your TV because electricity is bad for it.”
Does HDR Reduce TV life?
HDR is a powerful way to brighten every image through your screen. So, does this mean it’s reducing the quality and life of our TVs?
To keep it simple, yes. HDR reduces your TV life, in a sense.
For example, OLED TVs have a guaranteed lifespan of about 100,000 hours. That’s quite a lifespan.
In other words, to watch 100,000 hours of TV, we have to watch 10 hours of TV every day for the next 10 years. That’s a lot of TV watching.
It sounds like you’ll have that OLED TV for a long time. However, this is how HDR reduces lifespan.
HDR reduces the amount of brightness by about fifty percent. Fifty percent is noticeable enough that watching TV from that display becomes distracting.
In other words, your TV becomes unviewable.
If you reduce fifty percent of your lifetime hours, which is 50,000 hours, you have about five years of quality life in your OLED TV.
However, even though technically you can continue watching TV for another five years, will it continue to be bright enough to enjoy watching it, or will getting a new TV be better at this point?
Does HDR harm OLED?
If HDR is a factor that causes burn-in, can we conclude that HDR is harmful to OLED TVs?
However, let’s take a step back. Even though HDR is a factor that causes burn-in, burn-in is still relatively rare.
With that said, we’ve also concluded that HDR will shorten our OLED TVs’ lifespan.
To make matters worse, HDR is not evenly distributed across your TV, which means once your TV starts going out, parts of your screen will go out before the rest.
Nevertheless, HDR technology is new. We haven’t had them long enough to conclude how bad HDR truly is without leaving room for speculation.
Your Valid HDR Burn-in Questions, Answered
Even though HDR by itself is not the only thing that causes burn-in, we can conclude that HDR is a very powerful new technology.
However, with every new technology comes a power greater than life itself, and that’s death. Or at least as close to death as any new product comes close to: wear and tear.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be afraid to use a brand new gadget just because it might succumb to its wear in tear as time goes on.
So, let’s power up our new HDR OLED TV and live a little.
James Quintanilla is a technical copywriter. Although his experience allows him to write on many topics, he loves to focus on tech and travel. As a freelancer, James has worked on projects with Pointer Clicker, Lonely Planet, and the Travel Channel. When he’s not writing or planning his next adventure, he’s watching a scary movie.