Plasma TV Burn-In

Plasma Burn-In was a somewhat serious problem with the first plasma display models. However, in the past years great improvements have been made to the technology, latest flat-panel plasma TVs being very resistant to the burn-in phenomenon. Today’s plasma TVs are not burn-in proof though, the risk to develop this annoying problem existing in all displays based on phosphors. However, the chance to get permanent burn-in on the latest TVs is slim to none if you don’t abuse it. You don’t have to retain yourself from playing games on your plasma nor do you have to switch the channel every five minutes. You can use your TV as you like, and you don’t even have to think about the chance of getting plasma burn-in as long as you follow a few common sense rules.

What Exactly is Burn-In

TV Burn-In
Plasma TV burn-in is a permanent disfigurement of the screen, visible in one or more places. It is caused by differential aging of the pixels, some of them producing brighter light than others. Burn-in usually appears when the same picture is displayed on the screen for long periods of time.

Plasma TV Burn-In
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As you see, burn-in has to do with pixel aging – some pixels age much more than others. Let me explain that. Any TV or screen ages in time. Its colors become more faded and its brightness decreases. Because this is a very slow process you don’t get to realize it. Since all pixels “work” the same amount of time, in order for them to age at a different pace, some must “work” more than others. The darker a pixel is, the less work it does and the less it ages. The brighter the pixel is, the more work it performs and the more it ages. This aging happens because the phosphor inside the pixel consumes itself when producing light. In a way the pixel is like a matchstick. You light it and for a while it makes a big flame, then the flame decreseas in intensity, and eventually it “dies”. You don’t have to worry that your plasma TV will age and the picture will dissapear. The average lifespan of a plasma TV is 60,000 hours. And the lifespan is the time untill the screen reaches half its original intensity. You’re very likelly to change your TV with a new one way before it gets “tired”.

With this in mind, imagine a white square being displayed in the middle of the screen while the rest is black. The pixels that make the white square will “fire” at maximum intensity, consuming themselves faster than the black pixels. After a number of days, they will be more aged than the black pixels and they will produce less light than they did initially. If at this point you would display a normal image, like a photo, or a movie on the screen, the square area in the middle would be more faded. That is burn-in. If you replace the white square in the middle with a channel logo, the whole situation remains the same. Also, it can happen the other way around too – a black square on a white background. That’s also burn-in. Even if most of the screen is aged more than a small portion of it, the result appears the same.

Burn-in vs Image Retention

Sometimes both terms are used to describe the same thing, other times they are used to describe the same thing. Most of the time, plasma TV manufacturers use “image retention” over burn-in. I won’t start a polemic regarding which is correct when, but I will tell you there are two types of burn-in or image retention.

Permanent vs Temporary

It is very likelly that a plasma TV will have a temporary image retention. This is most likelly to happen when the TV is new and the pixels are fresh. However, if you display something else on the screen for a while, the retained image will dissapear. This is mistaken by many with permanent burn-in. It is however something that should not warry you at all. It is absolutelly normal.

A real permanent burn-in is the one that is very visible and disturbing, and does not dissapear after displaying a diffrent content for a long period of time. If you managed to get this type of burn-in with a plasma TV from the latest generations, you did something very wrong with that TV. So don’t blame the TV or the manufacturer, but yourself.

Use the Anti-Burn-In Features

Most of the modern plasma TVs have anti-burn-in features. One of the most important ones is called “pixel orbiter”. Its purpuse it to prevent burn-in from appearing in the first place, and it is pretty effective at doing this. Turn it off, and you are the only one to blame when you get a nasty burn-in. With the modern, top of the line plasma TV models (like the ones made by Pioneer, Panasonic, Samsung) the chances to develop burn-in with the pixel orbiter in action are close to none. I have knowledge of only one case when a Pioneer Kuro developed burn-in, and it happened when the pixel orbiter was off.

Another useful anti-burn-in feature, is the one that makes the color of the sidebars of 4:3 content gray instead of black. It is recommended that you select this option when watching 4:3 content. Some people don’t like the lighter color on the sides though, so they leave them black. I haven’t heard of many case where burn-in occured from this. If you don’t watch 4:3 content in the majority of time, you can probably leave them black without risking burn-in.

White wash, is another anti-burn in feature. Less important than the ones above because it’s role is to fix not to prevent. And it is not very effective either. It acts by moving a white or light gray bar across the screen, performing a uniform accelerated aging of the pixels and trying to level out their brightness. While it is great to eliminate temporary image retention, against a serious permanent burn-in it has little effect. You should not bother using this every time you notice small signs of temporary image retention, since variating the content you are watching is equally effective.

Computer Use

Plasma TVs should not be used exclusively as computer monitors. No matter how great a plasma TV is at resisting burn-in, if you use it mostly as a computer monitor you will get permanent burn-in. This happens because it will always display the same thing in certain areas (like the taskbar of your operatig system). Another reason why using it as a computer monitor is bad has to do with the fact that windows have white backgrounds, wearing up the pixels at maximum speed compared to other areas like the titlebars, taskbar, menubars, etc. If however you just want to use it a few hours a day as a computer monitor and you also watch movies and TV, in other words you mix the content, it won’t be a problem. Playing games on a plasma TV is also possible without risking to get burn-in. Many owners hook up a PS2, XBox, PC and play games without getting permanent burn in. If you play all day long the same game, you might get some slight image retention but after watching a movie or TV it is likelly to go away.

Plasma TV Break-In

Break-in consists of a set of steps you should make right after you bought your plasma TV. Its purpose is to slowly prepare the TV for regular watching. During the break-in period, you will have to limit yourself a bit in regard to how you use your plasma TV. The break-in should be performed for the first 100-200 hours of operation. You can perform it exclusively or integrate it between your regular TV watching hours. During these 100-200 hours, the plasma TV is prone to accelerated burn-in because the pixels are fresh and fire at maximum intensity.

  • Select the appropriate mode when you first power up your plasma TV. Most modern plasma TVs ask if you are going to use them in a store or in your home. In “store” they are in “torch mode” having maximum contrast and brightness to overcome the extreme lighting and look good.
  • Calibrate them or use the appropriate picture mode. Some of the models have a picture mode in which they offer best picture quality. Others need to be calibrated manually to obtain best picture. Whether you select just the picture mode or you calibrate them, the brightness and contrast should not be maximum but around 50-60%.
  • Watch only full-screen content. Avoid watching 4:3 content or use the zoom function to make it fill the screen. Same for cinemascope content which is shorter than the screen and puts black bars at top and bottom of the picture. If you have to watch non full-screen content at least make the sidebars or top and bottom bars gray instead of black.
  • Don’t play games on it and don’t use it as a computer monitor.
  • Mix the content. If you are watching programs that have logo, news ticker or any other static elements don’t leave the TV on the same channel for more than an hour. Ideally avoid watching such programs in the first hours.
  • Don’t pause for long times, don’t leave your DVD menu paused on screen, etc.

You can use the white wash function, if present, for the first few hours in order to wear out the pixels a bit. Then you can watch regular content, sticking to the rules described above. You can perform the break-in in one continuous run for the first 100-200 hours if you are patient enough. If you don’t however, watch regular content whenever you want and when you’re not in front of the TV (eating, sleeping, away) leave on the white wash or a full-screen program/movie without logo or other static content. Note that if using white wash function, you should do so for less time than the recommended 100-200 hours since it wears out the pixels at an accelerated pace and it accomplishes the same thing faster. Ideally you should use the white wash for the first hour and after that watch regular full-screen content without static parts.

The break-in process is recommended. However not everybody does it. Most people probably don’t bother with it and still don’t get permanent burn-in. It is however an extra safety measure, and I think it’s worth doing it.

137 thoughts on “Plasma TV Burn-In

  1. @kate: I don’t really know. You might be able to reduce the problem a bit but if you got permanent burn-in chances are not big. Try white wash function if you have it or display static for half a day or so and see if there’s any improvement. If the burn-in is very bad, not just slightly visible, you can’t do much. The thing is, burn-in is a differential aging of the pixels. To “fix” it you have to age the other “healthy/younger” pixels. Honestly I have never heard of somebody that was able to fix a serious burn-in. The key when it comes to burn-in is to prevent it. There’s another aspect to the problem as well. Sometimes the plasma TV might get temporary image retention. That looks like burn-in but is not permanent (it goes away after watching something else for a while). This image retention is common to new (unused) models – it occurs a lot when the pixels are young (during the break-in period).

    @ARIAN: maybe to you it sounds bad but it isn’t. As I said, unless you really abuse the TV or you’re using it exclusively as a computer monitor or to play games the chances to get burn-in are small.

  2. Kyle

    Ive had my Samsung 50′ plasma tv for a little over a month now and I just noticed some burn in on it i set the contrast low until best buy comes out to calibrate it i play my xbox 360 on it and i can see some ghosted in images of ea sports and the score to game i was playing i was playing after i started that i noticed more burn in theres like a rectangle menu box to one of the games burned in and espn hd logo burned will the white was take of it or will i have to take the tv back cause i did buy the warrenty

  3. @Kyle: If you play games a lot and you don’t watch TV at least the same amount of time it is likely to happen. Pioneer and Panasonic are more resistant to burn-in, it seems. But anyway, are you sure this is permanent burn-in and not just temporary image retention? Have you done the recommended break-in? Play full-screen content without static parts (e.g. DVD, Blu-Ray) or switch channels every hour for a couple of days and don’t play games at all. If the burn-in attenuates or disappears it is just image retention and you shouldn’t be worried. If that happens, perform break-in for a while and then return to your normal usage and see if it resists better to burn in. The thing is, if you notice the burn in to attenuate or disappear after watching a couple of hours of TV on different channels then it is probably just temporary image retention specific to any new plasma TV. Also make sure you have the “pixel orbiter” anti-burn-in feature turned ON!!! Without it burn-in appears very fast even on best plasma TVs. Good luck!

  4. Ryan

    so how can i tell if its permanent burn-in or just image retention, i have been playing left 4 dead and they have static images like team health and item inventory, one of the only new hd games with out a fading hud. well i noticed lst night when watching tv,, i noticed a lil ghosting image of the inventory and weapon. its hard to see unless the screen is white. i noticed that i had my pixle shift set to 3 pixles every 4 minutes, i thought i changed it to 4 pixles every one minute like i did for my cable input. so i changed the game input to 4 pixles every minute.

    sooo my question is will this light image eventually go away, should i try using the black to white scrub my tv has? its a samsung 50in plasma.

  5. How to tell if it’s permanent burn-in or just a temporary image retention:
    If you watch regular TV programs or movies (preferably without any static parts like logos or news tickers) for 4 hours or more and you notice the “burn-in” to become less noticeable then it is not permanent.
    If you notice the “burn-in” only on black or white background but not when watching real/normal content, it is quite common. All plasma TVs get image retention more or less. The idea is to mix the content so you wear up the screen in an uniform manner. If you play a game for 4 hours, watch a movie for a few hours.



  7. @DANIEL ROBSON: It depends what plasma TV brand and model you have and how much percent of the total usage time is represented by playing games. Pioneer and Panasonic seem to be the most resistent to burn-in. Samsung comes next, but some complain they got burn-in on such a TV. The other brands are even more prone to burn-in. Regarding how you use the TV, you should watch regular content (TV,movies) more than you play games. The more likely to develop burn-in your TV brand is, the more you should decrease the percentage of time spent playing games (especially the same game) on it. I can’t give you specific percentages/hours because it is impossible to know that. Also, make sure you are not having temporary burn-in (which is quite common and not a reason to worry). Read my previous comment for that.

  8. anand

    I m doing the break in with a dvd from AVS forums…consisting of fullscreen images of different shades on an infinite loop.

    Can you kindly review these settings and let me know if its ok?

    i have picture cinema
    picture 50
    brightness 50
    color 41
    tint -4
    sharpness 42
    blacklevel light
    temp warm
    all other features off

    PLEASE some shout out to me if there is anything i am doing wrong. I am at 6 hours right now and just started the TV back up after a 120 minute rest.


    an update….am at 25 hours now…..

    using the above settings….

    one Q: when the white shade comes on, it is clean white in the center but arouind the edges i see a slight (very slight) reddish tinge….is this a concern?

    as i understand the white shud b completely white right? …..i hope there isnt anythg wrong here? ….

    can someone please reply….

    i run the break in dvd for 6 hrs at a stretch and then shut the tv for 2 hrs and then do it again….also let me know if this seems okay….

  9. anand

    thanks for your answer….i will call panasonic and see what they say….i will then report to tis forum and let u guys know what they say…..

  10. ND

    I just bought the Panasonic viera th-50pz800u and am watching nothing but TV on it. I have had the plasma hooked up for about 4 days, just watching the HD channels, but leaving it off at night. Is it too late to do the break – in, and/or do you still recommend it with this set? Apparently it has the longest life out of any plasma with over 100,000 hours. Also, I have had the picture in ‘custom’ mode due to reading other reviews which has the picture at +100, brightness at +50, color at +50, tint at 0, and sharpness at +75.

    Also, If i choose to do the white band, how long should that be run for since you say it takes considerably less time to age the pixels.


  11. @ND: Yes, you can still do the break in. It is recommended to do regular break in for 100 hours if you have the time and patience (display regular content as a movie full-screen). If you want the quick ‘n’ dirty solution with white wash do it for 15-20 hours, a few hours in a row with 15min pauses. Break-in is recommended for every TV, even the great TH-50PZ800U which is highly burn-in resistant.

  12. Joe

    I have a Samsung PN50a550 plasma. I purchased it in mid-December 2008, and probably have between 100 – 125 hrs on it. Usually, brightness & contrast <50%. Movie mode (avoiding dynamic mode) & avoiding entertainment settings. All special settings to “off” (i.e. dynamic contrast, etc.). I am avoiding games and computer use, and am using the zoom feature to fill the screen as much as possible. Only once was there temp image retention (animal planet logo), which came right off following the scrolling bar feature.

    I wish to continue my break-in, just to be cautious, prior to using a calibration DVD such as Video Essentials. When you mentioned wihite wash, I would assume you mean the all-white screen (also used to remove image retention) for breaking-in (and not the scrolling bar) I was also going to download the EA break-in DVD.

    This model is highly rated, and the picture is excellent when my room is dark. It has a relatively ineffective anti-glare screen (i agree with some of the web reviews), which has been worse than i expected following set-up in my viewing room. No direct sunlight on the screen, but back and windows (& lights at night) visible. Following break-in and calibration, i will need to set-up a custom setting with a higher contrast, brightness and black level,just for daytime viewing, so hopefully, this will not significantly lessen the lifespan of my panel and increase the chance of burn-in


  13. T. Miller

    Very nice article, I learned that my problem is probably temporary, but I still have a question about it… I know very little about TV’s so I apologize if any of this might sound ignorant:

    I have a 50 inch Panasonic Plasma television that I got a month ago, and it has been working great. But tonight, as soon as we turned off the DVD that we were watching and the screen was all black, I noticed a very slight burn-in in the top left corner, the white “Pause” letters from the DVD player (I went to get a drink during the movie). Now, I understand that burn-in and image retention happens when these things are left sitting on the same screen for a while… but the Pause thing was there for no more than 5 minutes. However, the lines from the black bars that border the DVD movie were also there.

    I turned on my Xbox 360 to get onto a black screen again (a box with the channel number appeared and wouldn’t go away) and I noticed then after getting onto a black screen from there that the Xbox’s dashboard had also left a very slight ghost image on the screen. It was on the screen for maybe 30 seconds at most…

    These things become impossible to see when something is on the screen, and I can only see them when I get up close to the TV to look for them, but it’s still bothersome because the TV is so new and I don’t want it to get ruined. Burn-in was the first thing I asked about when I got the TV and I made sure that it is on the right settings to avoid this kind of thing from happening. The brightness is never above 50, I’ll double check the contrast when I turn it on next to make sure it’s okay.

    Some details I should mention are that the TV had been on for about 6 hours, a friend was playing a game on it before we watched the movie. Could the plasma in the TV have been hot and caused this? We turned the TV off and are going to see if it’s any better tomorrow, and I’ll try playing a full screen movie to see if that helps too. I might just be worrying too much, and probably am. This could happen constantly with plasmas and maybe I just didn’t notice it before. I just saved a lot of money for a while so that we could get it, and it’s our first HDTV so I’m hoping to baby it enough to keep it lasting for a long while.

  14. @Joe: If you keep using it like that for about 100 hours more, you should be pretty safe. Remember however that even after break-in it can still get a burn-in if you “abuse” it with static content for long periods of time. Also make sure the pixel orbiter is activated (if you have that option).

    By “white wash” I was referring at the white scrolling bar. However, the white full screen works as well. The thing is, the white full screen may actually be white in the middle and light gray around edges. So it will not age the pixels at exactly the same rate. If the TV manual has a section on burn-in or break-in recommended by Samsung follow their recommendations over mine.

    Don’t worry about higher brightness and contrast. If you need it to look good just do it. The TV reaches half intensity after a few thousand hours and you are very likely to change it until that happens. With average to heavy usage it will easily last over 10 years. So don’t worry about aging.

  15. @T. Miller: Yeah, you are worrying too much. What you are describing is perfectly normal. It is the temporary image retention I was talking about. If you activate white wash for a few minutes you will see it goes away. But don’t activate white wash all the time just because you notice a bit of temporary image retention when the TV is black. Just change the channel or the game you are playing and that temporary image retention will go away after a while in a natural way.

    The most important permanent burn-in prevention method is to have pixel orbiter enabled (if you have it) and just mix the content / change channels / don’t use the TV just for playing the same game. That’s pretty natural and requires no special attention or care. If plasma TVs would get burn in easy, everybody would end up with burn in. Plus, you have a Panasonic and if it is one of the newer models it is extremely unlikely to end up with serious permanent burn-in on it. Pioneer and Panasonic are the most resistant to burn-in.

  16. Jim

    thanks for all the time and thought you put into these guides.

    I’m just getting into my new Panasonic Z85U 50″ plasma…watching the Weather Channel now is breathtaking.

    HDMI cables seemed to make a big difference over the component. Waiting for my Samsung BD2500 blu-ray player to get here from Newegg so I can start watching movies. It streams through wireless from Netflix too, very cool.

    The Panasonic is a beautiful, beautiful set. I’m using Custom, picture 100, brightness and color 50, tint 0 sharpness 70 and it’s spectacular. Like the people will step right off the screen.

    Using full screen for the first 100 hours is something I’ve read on other sites, so i’m doing that.

    I am so happy with my Panasonic, I paid $1500 for it and it’s the best investment in entertainment I’ve made, maybe ever. Hell, if i watch 300 movies at home instead of going to the theater over the next 3 years alone, a distinct possibility as I can easily watch a couple flicks a week, I’ll have paid for all of it, even considering the streaming or movie channel monthly costs.


  17. @Jim: Nice, I’m glad you like your TV so much. If I manage to find the time I want to review that model (and PZ80U). I will invite you to comment on that review, if you’d like that.

    @Sigi: I can’t be sure but from what I’ve read around the internet it could be a problem with the circuit board. I recommend you find a popular HDTV forum and ask there. Good luck!

  18. Dan

    I am planning on getting a Panasonic Plasma TV for watching Blu-ray movies, sports, and mainly video games. Is a Plasma TV the right choice for me? Will I get burn-in from watching extended hours of sports (sometimes more than 4 hours depending on the game/sport) with the score box/ticker displayed on the screen? Will the HUD from my video games be burned-in to the TV if I play for more than a few hours? I prefer Plasma due to the black levels and color accuracy, but I’m not sure if what I’m doing will be worth getting a Plasma for.

  19. @Dan: Depending on what plasma TV brand and model you buy, the time it takes to develop permanent burn-in can vary considerably. Most resistant brands are Pioneer and Panasonic and Samsung. 4 hours is not a lot of time so you’re safe. You can even play more. The important thing is to mix the content. If you play 4 hours, make sure you also watch TV for a few hours, so what is displayed on the screen changes. If you played the same game all day long, next day watch some TV. You get the idea. You probably won’t play a game for 4 hours in a row. When you take a short break just switch to a TV program. There’s a high chance you won’t get permanent burn-in even if you’re exaggerating with this, however that is my advice if you want to take the safe path.

  20. shash

    great post a lot of good info just one thing…
    how long can i play an xbox game at one time? i play games such as call of duty: world at war and fallout 3
    i think theres a fading hud setting for COD: WAW but am not sure about fallout… so how long can i play it at a time and how long should i do something else in between?


  21. @shash: It really depends a lot on what plasma TV brand you have. Pioneer and Panasonic are the most resistant. The key thing is to mix content and don’t play the same game more than you display other content on the screen (other game or TV). Play a game and after a couple of hours switch to something else and see if you notice any image retention (which is temporary). After you’ve noticed that some image retention developed and you switched to something else, see how much it takes until it becomes unnoticeable. The speed at which the image retention develops should help you figure out how much it is safe to play the same game and how much you should watch something else. Note that you could get temporary image retention very fast (1-2 hours), but the TV may handle longer times, as long as you do eventually display some other content. Experiment and see what you come up with. To also give you a specific answer, 2 hours of playing one game followed by 4 hours of different TV programs or other games is probably a safe bet. However, if you have a TV that is highly burn-in resistant for example, you could play the same game for 2 days in a row, then watch TV for a few hours and notice the temporary image retention went away. Most important thing is to always have “Pixel orbiter” function enabled. Otherwise even the best TV will develop burn-in fast.

  22. shash

    well its one of the new 50 inch samsung plasma PN50a550 which i think is one of the best of samsung ( apart from the 62 inch version of it obviously). is there a limit to playing if there is no gaming hud? and yes pixel orbiter is on.


  23. @shash: I gave the HUD as an example of a static image. It can be something else that is static as well – crosshair, a TV channel logo, a news ticker on a news channel, etc. If you have absolutely no static images in the game, you can play how much you want without any risk.

    From what I have read (and I remember) experiences of PN50A550 owners vary. Some say they played a game for 5 hours and got little temporary image retention which went away after watching TV a while or using the white wash. Others say they get more stubborn image retention after about 2 hours. My previous advice is still valid: test and see. Play a game for 2 hours, display a black screen, if you notice image retention switch to TV and see how much it takes until it goes away. Repeat the process increasing the time you play gradually (by an hour or so). I say to use a black screen to see the image retention because it is much more obvious on black background than any other color.

    Good luck and please let me know what you discover.

  24. Howe

    Hi, great information here. A very good resource.

    My question is about the pixel orbiter on the TH42PZ800.
    Does having the tv set to HD mode 2 defeat the pixel shift function?

    I do alot of gaming and enjoy seeing more screen that the HD mode 2 provides (the full 1080 pixel for pixel image).

    I recall from my last plasma, the Samsung PN42A450 using the just mode defeated the pixel shift.
    Is this the same on the panasonic in HD mode 2?
    thank you.

  25. dj

    I have a samsung 50 plasma i purchased in spet of 2008. i just got a ps3 and now im playing video games on it. maybe 1 to 2 hours. last night i was playing ncaa 2009 college football on it for about 1hr. and now i notice a little burn in with the espn logo, the aviator, and some other static displays. i havent had time to try and fix it just yet. i wanted to know what to do and how long does it take to get a permanent burn

  26. @dj: If it is one of the newer generation Samsung models, just watch TV or movies for a few hours and it will go away. I assume that bur-in is visible only with the TV off or displaying solid white or solid black, right? That’s temporary image retention as I have explained above. Don’t worry about it. You don’t get permanent burn in after just one hour. Just make sure the pixel orbiter is turned on.

  27. M. Gregory

    Just a heads up for those curious about playing video games on a plasma TV. I just fell victim to burn in from playing video games for to long and displaying certain things in the game. This is NOT just a caution to take. Make sure there is nothing displayed in the game that can create burn in.

    Being a new TV. I was curious does anybody know if there is any type of burn in that does disapear even after a week or so? I was thinking it could be a long shot. But hoping for the best anyway. Thanks….

  28. @M. Gregory: If it is not permanent burn-in, it will go away after watching TV/movies for a while. If you played a lot, and the burn-in is permanent and not just a temporary image retention, I don’t think it can go away. I have never heard of somebody that managed to fix permanent burn in. Make sure you have pixel orbiter turned on and use the anti-burn-in white wash / white fill if you have that feature. If you don’t have that feature, buy the Pixel Protector DVD and play the anti-burn-in chapter.

  29. Paul

    I have a Samsung HP-T5054 that is about a year old. In the beginning it was easy to rid the screen of burn in but now that it is older I am having difficulty removing the USA network log from the screen. I have tried leaving the white screen on for at least 6 hours but the image is still there. Is the black to white scrolling feature better than white screen? Is there any other methods that work better?

  30. Matt

    First off, great website.

    I have a TC-P46G10. I havent noticed any burn in yet but was wondering if channel logos (i.e. NBC, ESPN, etc) will cause permanent burn ins. My roommate is really bad about turning off the tv before he leaves for work (which is after the time I leave so there is no one left at our place to turn it off). If the same logo or ticker symbol (ESPN’s bottom line or MSNBC) is left on all day will that cause a permanent burn in?

    What would you say is the “worst case scenario” in terms of leaving the same image/channel/movie on the screen and having permanent burn in (not temporary burn in)? 5 hours, 8 hours, 1 day, several days?….just curious so I dont have to worry about my roommates poor habits.

    Also, I have a PS3 and have set the screen saver to go on after an hour. However, the screen doesnt go black or have a rotating image like a computer or DVD player, it only dims the screen and still has the motionless images behind it. Is that dim screen enough to prevent a burn in if left on for long periods of time?

    Like I said I have the TC-P46G10 which has the pixel orbitor, but I didnt know how effective that really was.


  31. @Paul: The white scrolling bar works well, however if in the manual the manufacturer recommends a certain technique use that. Unfortunately, you probably have permanent burn in (since it developed over a long period of time) and it is harder or impossible to remove. You can try the scrolling bar maybe you are lucky. You can also try pixel protector DVD though I don’t think it is better. What you can do is reduce the time you spend on the same program. Mix channels so you don’t have the same logo displayed all the time. Good luck.

  32. @Matt: Panasonic is the best TV you can get in terms of burn in resistance. Pioneer TVs are better at the moment, however Pioneer exited the TV business so Panasonic remains to rule this market.

    Logos and tickers can generate permanent burn in. It is just a matter of time. It will probably not develop permanent burn-in after a day, but if your roommates have this bad habit, it will happen frequently and that is where the danger lies. Mixing content and switching channels from time to time has always been the easiest and most effective anti burn-in technique.

    Regarding the “worst case scenario”, I can only give you an educated guess. By no means should you take this as a rule or accurate information. From what I have read on forums and from what I’ve heard from Panasonic users, permanent burn-in doesn’t happen easily. Their experiences vary a lot. On average I would say it takes weeks. I am pretty confident you will not get permanent burn-in even if your roommates leave it on the same channel as long as you watch other programs normally for a comparable amount of time. As I have said, Panasonic plasma TVs are pretty resistant.

    One thing you must understand is that permanent burn-in is something that happens in time. You don’t get permanent burn in in a day unless the TV is extremely sensible to this problem. Permanent burn-in, as opposed to temporary image retention develops because the initial image retention is aggravated continuously day after day, bit by bit. It is like you would have a small wound and every day you would scratch it or open it. Because of that, the wound would not have the time it needs to heal. Wound = burn in. Healing = mixing content and switching channels. I hope you’ve got the idea.

    Best thing you can do to figure out how resistant your TV is to burn-in is to test it. Like cutting yourself and waiting to see how much it takes for you to heal. Leave the TV on a program that always has the logo in the same place and every few hours see if the temporary image retention has appeared. It will be visible only with the screen displaying fullscreen black or white. When you get a fairly visible temporary image retention start the “healing” process. Switch the channel every hour or every couple of hours, displaying any other channel except the initial one that caused the image retention. Every time you do that see if the image retention disappeared. That way, you can see how fast you get image retention and how fast you can heal it. It will give you a rough estimate of how fast these processes happen. Note that permanent burn-in could be much much harder to develop compared to temporary. However, finding out how much it takes to get temporary image retention helps.

    Dimming the screen helps but only because it slows down the process. Pixel orbiter is EXTREMELY important. If you turn it off you’re asking for trouble. There are reports of Pioneer and Panasonic plasma TVs in showrooms displaying the same channel for weeks or months and getting no burn-in or just minor burn-in. If pixel orbiter would have been turned off, the story would have been different.

    Make sure you break-in the plasma TV and calibrate it. Breaking-in the plasma TV will make it more resistant to permanent burn-in.

  33. tom smith

    when playing my xbox 360 what setting do you reccomend I have my pixel shift on. I currently have it on 4 every 4 minutes is this sufficient? thanks for any help and advice you can give

  34. G-unit

    Just bought a Panasonic PZ800a what are the ideal settings for the break-in?
    Also whereabouts is the pixel orbiter located? i want to make sure it’s been turned on. Looked for it in the settings but to now avail.
    Please note i live in Australia.

  35. @G-unit: Settings don’t matter much fro break in. Just make sure it is in “home” mode not in “store” mode and reduce the brightness and contrast to about 50-60% (that’s where it looks best). The key is to change programs/content often so you don’t have static images displayed. Also make sure the content displayed is fullscreen. About the pixel orbiter, I don’t know where it is located because I don’t have this plasma TV. I suggest checking the manual.

  36. Mark

    Thinking about buying a new 50′ samsung plasma…but i am worried a lot about this burnin and ghosting. It seems to be a thing of the past but I play video games and watch a lot of sports…will this be a problem for me?

  37. @Mark: Really now, how should I know?! It is clear from this guide and the comments I already replied that this possibility exists. But if you actually do get burn-in or not is a matter of how much you play games. Sports won’t affect you unless you watch the same channel all the time. If you want to be safe, buy an LCD. Samsung has great LCD TVs.

  38. Ron

    I’ve got a Samsung 50″ Plasma and I am very happy with it, but I am getting a coppery colour matrix look in the top right hand corner and only when flesh tones or neutral colours fall into that area of the screen. When there are blues or greens there is no problem.

  39. Ron

    Sorry for my confusing description, no it doesn’t appear to be logo burn in. I have the “Pixel Shift “setting on.
    It is a constantly shape changing grouping of pinkish pixels and it spreads across the top right corner of the screen but only when certain flesh colours, yellows and neutral tones pass across that area. When darker colours, for instance, black, blues and greens pass through that section of screen they don’t appear at all. I’ve seen other websites that say the TV may be in need of a slight voltage adjustment by a technician. Any thoughts?

  40. Garth

    I have a samsung PN42b450Does the pixel shift setting only work when all the images on screen are still,or when some are moving and some are not?I can’t tell the difference!

  41. @Garth: Pixel orbiter is not visible. It moves to fast for you to notice it, otherwise would be stressful. It always works as long as it is enabled, no matter what you have on screen (static or moving images).

  42. robert hurtos

    i really like new lg50s60 new plasma 100 000hrs of life picture looks better than panasonic 1080p comparable
    my question is would you go with ppanasonic or lg seems lg is really trying hard really hard. what about burn in thay say it is not issue anymore but i dont know all i know lg has the best picture in my eyes

  43. Jerry

    For the brains our there, ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Me with no brain matter, have a question, i have been givan a 50″ plama. Reading all the “comments” conserning bad burnin, I have it on the plasma screen even when switched off very visable ! and when on still visable !!. In other words “permant” my question when is “permant” does that mean “permant”, “permant” ? or is there a solution ?. Might be a stupied question !! bus as said no brains at all…..well if i do think at all i use the wrong body part. I there is a solution what sotware can be used
    Many thanks !!

  44. @robert hurtos: Buy the TV you like not the ones reviewers usually recommend. If you already like a TV, that’s the one for you. Burn in, is and will always be a possibility with plasma TVs. Panasonic models are probably the most resistant, however that doesn’t mean you will get burn-in on an LG. Just keep in mind what you’ve read in this guide and the comments above and you’ll be safe.

  45. @Jerry: “permanent” means “permanent”, “permanent”. As in “it doesn’t go away and it can’t be fixed”. You will find lots of recommended approaches to “fix” it. However, none of them works in my experience. Never heard of somebody eliminating burn-in completely. In the best case, some managed to reduce it a bit by using white wash or other similar techniques.

  46. alex

    I have a Philips plasma that has half inch thick darker line (2 inches from left edge) from bottom to center then curved to the right to the edge. This dont look like 4:3 screen image retention because it only go to the center and curved right. Do you think this is burnin? Also does burnin image visible when the tv is off?If burnin is caused by phosphor aging, it should be visible only when tv is on when pixel is activated. is it correct?


  47. Jason

    I have had my Panasonic TH-42PZ80U for about 4 months, when I bought it I asked many questions including burn in, breaking in a tv, along with many other tech questions. The Sales person at the store which I will not name told me that the tv didn’t need to broke in and that I should be ok with my xbox 360 and dvd’s or regular tv and that burn in was a non issue with the newer plasma tv’s.
    This evening while I was getting ready to play my 360 I happen to be near the tv when it can on, I notice a ghost image on the screen. I then brought up the menu to make sure my Pixel shifter was on, which it was, I have only two options with it, Automatic, and manual with 1,2,3&4. there is no off. I have it on Automatic. I then ran the “White Wash ‘ Feature. (Maybe I didn’t run it long enough) But it really didn’t seem to help all that much.

    This is my first plasma tv. I thought I was getting all the facts concerning LCD vs PLasma, but it seems that certain information was either not known by the sales man, or he were trying to get the sale and told me what ever I needed to hear. So now I have some concerns with my expensive investment.
    So two questions

    1) during this break in period, the 100-200 hours ( which is also not anywhere in the manufactures manual of operations) is this for 24hours/day 4-8 days non-stop? or is this over time 8 hours here 3 hours there? Can this be done 4 months after purchase?

    2) Based on the age of my tv, do you think that this is more of a temporary issue that I have or more serious burn in?

    Other info
    I probably play my 360 an avg of 4 hours a night during weekdays, with differant games most are not very static, lots of movement, But I do play some that have score box in a corner or some sort of stat bar, or is a board type game like Catan. During the weekend I watch more tv than play xbox.( still around 4 hours maybe 5 of xbox time ) I don’t notice any images while I’m watching tv or movies. The image that I’m noticing doesn’t seem to be severe. I only really notice it when the tv is on but the screen is dark and I’m right next to the tv.. it is not there when the tv is off.(didn’t know if the image would be there if tv is off).

    Thanks for any help/suggestions you may have for me.

  48. stacy

    I’ve had my Plasma for exactly a year now! Recently while watching (on occasion) the screen will turn
    to black and white. What’s going on?

  49. @alex: I don’t know if it is burn-in or what it is. Burn-in could be visible with the TV off (generally immediately after you turn it off), but generally it isn’t. Sorry, but I have no advice to give you. Try asking on some HDTV or Home Theater forums…

  50. @Jason: Yeah, salespeople should not be trusted lol. They either don’t know much but try to seem smart or they just try to make the sale even if they have to bullshit you for that.

    1) It doesn’t matter if you do it continuously or over time. What matters is that you calibrate the TV, display the picture fullscreen (so you “wear out” the entire screen uniformly) and if the image has static parts (e.g. channel logo, tickers, etc) switch the channel often.

    2) You said that it is visible only when you are close to the TV and on black/dark background. That is actually quite common. Every single plasma TV gets this. It is most likely just temporary image retention from the game you just played. Unless it is visible when watching regular content (as a shadow over the image) there is nothing to worry about.

    Also, the way you use the TV doesn’t sound abusing to me. As long as you mix content you are pretty safe.

  51. Ron

    FYI the problem is in the logic board, serviceman is replacing it this week, will let you know if that fixes pink pixel problem.

  52. Kyle

    You are a man/woman of great patience “” answering the same questions over and over again :) I found your article very informative as I am about to purchase a tc-p50s1 from panasonic. I will be printing out your article for my roommates to read.

    Thanks much!

  53. Ron

    It was the logic board, it was faulty and caused the pixels to misfire. It took about an 10 minutes to replace. Working perfectly now.

  54. Art

    I own a Samsung PN42A450 for 7 months now. I think I have way passed the 100 hours break-in period.

    My setting is brightness 50, contrast 50 with dynamic off.

    Last week I was playing PS3 Street Fighter 4 in training mode for around an hour then turn off the TV right after. The next day I found that a small square (in very light pink color) burn-in appear on the top center of the screen. The burn-in is from the time counter box of the game and is only noticeable when the screen is white.

    I tried to turn on white scroll and full white screen for a few hours but the burn-in not seems any better.

    Could that be permanent? Can it be fixed?

  55. @Ron: thank you for letting me know.

    @Art: if it is visible just on white background it isn’t a big deal. it probably isn’t permanent and if you watch regular programs for a while it should go away. however if you play the same game all the time and don’t watch TV much it will get worse.

  56. Thad

    Just bought a LG 50PG60 from a box store, it was floor model. I notice that about the top 3 inches and the bottom 3 inches are different from the rest of tv, I really tell when the back ground goes to white. I guessing I have a burn from them running the DVD all day on the tv, does this every have a chance of going away? Will white washing it help at all

  57. @Thad: If it really is burn-in, I am afraid there’s nothing to do. LG models are not great when it comes to burn-in. White washing will not help. It can help reduce or eliminate temporary image retention but not permanent one. You should never buy a plasma TV that has been on display.

  58. Mike

    Thank you for your accurate and informative info on Plasma TV’s. I have been in the “biz” for a very long time, and have sold Plasma sets since they were first available. Regarding burn in… What you say is correct in every way; but I think you may overly frighten people with your break in advice. I keep it much simpler by telling them the out of the box factory setting is way to “hot” and that we display them, and they will enjoy their new set better if they tone things down a bit. I do warn them they are most vulnerable to burn in during the first 100 – 200 hours of use, but as long as they do not do anything silly (a static image for hours and hours on end), they have nothing to worry about. I also ask the question, “Did you ever get burn in on you tube TV’s?”. Almost always I get the answer “No”, or they say “I don’t know”, because they don’t even know what burn in truly is. If they say “No” then I can assure them they will NEVER have to worry about in on a new Plasma (with a caution about side bars). If I get that glazed over look indicating they don’t even know what burn in is but are merely parroting junk they have read or been told by their “expert” friends, then I can educate.

  59. @Mike: Thank you too, Mike. Many of those who read this guide plan to play games on the TV. Some also tend to watch the same programs over and over again (e.g. sports) so they don’t mix content too much. While burn-in is not a big deal anymore and most people would never get permanent burn-in, I know that some use the TV in such way that would eventually generate burn-in. Playing the same game 6 hours in a row daily might sound unrealistic to some but others do it (I know people like that). That’s why I prefer to advise towards extra care with burn-in. In my experience it is not possible to fix burn-in so I think prevention is very important.

  60. Troy

    I just had a panel replaced in my TV almost two months ago. The Samsung technician came out and replaced it and left. I didn’t realize/think to treat this as a new panel. A few weeks ago I started to notice a darker image (albeit very light) of a 4:3 box. When I watch HD I can notice a lighter image on each side of the TV on lighter colors such as whites and blues. Of course Samsung will not cover this under the warranty. Do you think this is temporary or permanent burn-in? I have tried to whitewash the screen for about 20 consecutive hours which didn’t do anything. I am now ensuring everything is viewed in 16:9 ratio. Am I out of luck?

    TV Model: Samsung FPT5084X/XAA

  61. Denis

    I have just purchased the Samsung PN50B540 and I am completely happy with it. I have noticed however that my DVD player has a setting for light contrast and dark contrast. I was using light contrast for the first 100 hours or so and had almost no ghosting. The other day I tried out the dark contrast which presented considerably darker blacks. It looked pretty good but it seemed to be more sucseptible to ghosting after I was finished. Is this because the pixels were darker and weren’t used as much? Should I leave the DVD setting on the lighter contrast?

  62. Curt

    I just bought a 42″ Panasonic TC-P42S1 a week ago. On the second day of use, I played a game called Trails HD on my xbox 360. I played it for 4 hours that day, in 1 hour intervals. At the end of the day, I changed the input to a black screen to check for burn-in. I noticed a ghosted image in the top left corner of the screen. I can only see it from 2-feet away when the screen is black. I can’t even see it when I am watching something else on the screen. I ran the white scrolling bar for about an hour and it was still there but a little more faded than before.

    5 days later after regualr use of the TV, it is still there. I haven’t played the game since the incident. I was wondering if this will ever go away? It is kind of anoying but I can barley see it and it doesn’t show up when something else is on the screen.

    One more question. What is a safe contrast, brightness, and sharpness setting for the first 100-hours of use?

    By the way… I have been playing Halo 3 in 2 hour intervals with the contrast, brightness, and sharpness set very high and haven’t noticed any burn-in after I have turned the game off; just potential ghosting that goes away in seconds.

  63. @Denis: Settings on the DVD player don’t really matter. Just keep the setting on the TV itself at around 50%. Use Google to find the perfect calibration settings for your TV, or use a calibration DVD to do it yourself. Don’t worry that much about burn-in. With normal usage (not sitting on a single channel most of the time) it is close to impossible to get burn in. The key is to mix programs and for the first 100-200 hours it is recommended to watch content in full-screen. The image retention you get is temporary and is visible on pretty much any plasma TV.

  64. @Curt: Don’t play games in the first 100-200 hours of use. You could get away with it, but do you want t risk ending up with permanent burn-in? You have all the time to play after you break-in the plasma TV.

    The image retention you have is temporary. It will probably go away in time. Even if it doesn’t, you shouldn’t be worried about it since it is not visible when something is displayed on the TV. EVERY plasma TV gets ghosting that is visible when the display is black. It is not a reason for worries.

    You don’t have to set the contrast in a way it looks faded/bad. Use Google to find the optimal settings for your TV or use a calibration DVD to calibrate it yourself. “Safe” is at about 50% but if it looks better at 60% that’s ok.

    What you should keep in mind is that you should not play games and you should not stay on the same channel for a long time in the break-in period. If you are impatient, play a full-screen movie in loop when you don’t watch TV so the 100 hours pass. Performing the 100-200 hours break-in significantly decreases the chances of getting burn-in.

  65. Scott

    I hope you’re still looking at this. Great article!

    Our Samsung plasma (this years model 720p) seems to be holding on to faint letterbox burning. It’s noticable only on white or black screens. The thing is, we broke it in for 100 hours and only watch letterbox DVDs every now and again, maybe once a week. Other than that, it’s on zoom and watching full screen cable hours and hours the rest of the week. So, by all indications we’ve treated it well.

    What I see is very faint (like the beginnings) horizontal lines as thick and exactly where the letter box would be on a DVD. It’s more prominent on the bottom of the screen than the top. The edges of the discoloration is blurred, probably from the 4 pixel shift every minute. I’ve ran the scrolling burn in removal overnight and did not get much results. I’m running a full screen all white static wash right now in hopes it does better.

    The only thing I can figure is what little DVD letterbox viewing we’ve done is slowly chipping away at the even aging. Oddly enough, what looks to me like burn in looks slightly darker (on white) than the rest of the screen.

    I’m at a point where I’m not sure if this is discoloration on the panel that just happens to be nearly perfectly where letter box would be, or if it’s really a slow burn in. It stands to reason a couple hours of letter box, every now and again, over time will cause burn in as the letter box areas are 2 hours or so in the hole on the aging process every time you watch a movie. If you think of it like having 2 banks, one for the letter box areas and one for the rest of the screen, you’re adding pennies to the rest of the screens bank all the time but leaving 2 cents out of the letter box bank each time you watch a movie. That 2 cents adds up.

    That said, do you have any advice. I don’t think I’ve abused my TV, but I’m not sure that matters at this point.

  66. @Scott: Since it is visible only when the screen is black, you have nothing to worry. It is a temporary image retention common to all plasma TVs. Unless you are able to notice it when there’s a movie on the screen, you have nothing to worry about. The way you’re using it is safe and watching DVDs with letterboxing now and then will most certainly not end up in permanent burn-in. Don’t abuse it with white wash. Just watch it normally as you do now.

  67. cs2mil

    I have had a 50 inch samsung plasma for about 9 months now and had no problem with burn in or image retention. I had the tv professionally calibrated by bestbuy and i do not play video games on it much. For the last few days i have noticed that when i watch a baseball game with a static score bar at the top of the screen, i has a slight image retention of that bar even if i only watch the game for around 4 minutes or so. Why is that, what can i do to prevent any damages

  68. Dman

    Geezus, was gonna get a plasma but after reading this and other articles, its clear i’m gonna get a lcd. I would hate to constantly be weary of the plasma burn in. I play alot of xbox 360 games with HUDS that don’t move too often, and watch alot of movies like blu-ray etc which all have black bars at the top bottom. How i would hate to make them grey lol. Gonna go LCD LED all the way. Blacks are as good as the cheaper plasmas and you never have to worry about the tv at all. I would much rather have piece of mind and ease of use over darker blacks…

    I would hate to worry about burn-in. Or have to do some stupid cause of image retention. lcd’s have none of these problems

  69. Ed

    Great site and forums ! My question is more as to burn-up than to burn-in. I’m building an addition to the house as a family room with a hot water radiant floor and a gas fireplace heater enclosed in a stone faced, wood framed box that mimics a real stone chimney. We intend to use the gas fireplace only occasionally on a low setting, just for ambiance, since the floor provides for heating the room, but the fireplace is a heater, also capable of heating the room by itself. Budgets being what they are, we plan to forego installing a boiler for the floor this year, and just use the fireplace for heat, most likely on its higher setting. As you can probably guess, my wife wants her new 42″ Viera plasma on the chimney above the fireplace. I’m making every attempt to vent as much heat as possible from inside the enclosure, insulating the wall section immediately behind the proposed TV location, and mounting a mantle shelf as a deflector below said location. But I still maintain that although it’s a great viewing location (except maybe for the height), the TV probably can’t live in the elevated temperature. Maybe when the fireplace is in occasional use, but not when in regular use as a heater. In case this isn’t a no-brainer – the temperatures from the heater are somewhere near 300-350 degrees at the front (a blower directs most of that away from the chimney and out into the room), and around 150-200 degrees inside the enclosure behind that is passively vented so far, but to which I can add a fan. The manual says operating conditions are 32 to 104 degrees, a high temperature which seemed to me could be reached on a hot summer day, especially at ceiling height. Makes me wonder if I might be blowing smoke. Yours and anyone elses thoughts? Thanking you!

  70. @cs2mil: I assume that image retention is visible only when the TV image is black or white. Correct? If that is the case it’s probably a normal temporary image retention. However 4 minutes is the unusual part here. If you have watched that specific program with that specific score bar for a long time, then it might be turning into a burn in. In that case you should mix the programs more. That is, watch other programs as well.

  71. @Ed: It is certainly possible to install a HDTV over fireplace. You just need to make sure you isolate the wall well enough and that no hot air is going to rise from the fireplace. If you can do that, and manage to maintain a temperature for which the TV was rated then it’s OK. Keeping an electronic device (TV in this case) at a high temperature can reduce its lifespan. If you’re not sure what you are doing, I recommend hiring a professional installer for this job. As a rule of thumb, if the wall and air is more than slightly warmer, it will probably become too hot. Keep in mind that the TV will heat up by itself and if it doesn’t have the possibility to eliminate that heat it will build it up.

  72. Matt I just read this entire blog from top to bottom. Great info. I have no questions! Actually I have made several key point notes that I will take with me when I go out shopping. It looks like your top suggestions are to 1) Have the pixel orbiter turned on. 2) Break in responsibly. 3) Mix Content. 4) De-tune to 50-60 percent Brightness and Picture. 5) Avoid the games during break in. 6) If you have a gray sidebar option for 4:3 ratio, then use it. Thanks for being the guru on this and for keeping me on track for Plasma. It seems like the way to go for me. It also seems like Panasonic is the way to go!

  73. Ben Nygate

    Hi I dont know if you have described my problem which seems to be that the picture is fine but on the inside of the black glass at the front of the TV the inside surface seems to be flacking away so when the TV is off the glass looks a mixture of patches of dark grey and black. I would appreciate a diagnosis .
    I have a Panasonic viera 37 inch about 4 years old Thanks in advance.

  74. @Matt: I am glad it helped. Good luck with your purchase!

    @Ben Nygate: I don’t really understand what you mean, but it looks like temporary image retention. If it isn’t visible when the TV is on then there’s nothing to worry about.

  75. enoch

    Hi, I am considering purchasing a Panasonic because what I hear is that they are the best in the 42″ size. I saw a G10 at bestbuy and I think I am hooked.

    Some questions I have regarding Panasonic plasmas are:

    1. What is the best 42″ model to own (affordability not taken into consideration)

    2. After using my PC or playing PS3 on it, if I get temporary burn-in, how long do I need to watch TV or Video to make it go away?

    3. Is there a way to dim the white in the windows when using it as a computer monitor?

    4. Are plasmas more or less prone to breaking than LCD’s if being moved a lot? I know they are more heavy than LCDs.

    5. Should I wait until Black Friday to purchase my Panasonic plasma?

    I hope I can get all these questions answered as soon as possible.

  76. @enoch:

    1. TC-P42G10 (as you can see from the top on homepage)
    2. At least as much as you played games, though I would recommend more.
    3. Don’t use it as a computer monitor for long periods of time. Doing so just until you get in a game is OK but actually using it as a computer monitor is not recommended. Consider an LCD TV if you need to use it as a computer monitor. You can dim the whites in the windows by changing your operating system theme, making it have less contrast. How you do it exactly depends on your OS.
    4. Probably the same. As long as you don’t drop/hit them you can move them as much as you want.
    5. During Black Friday you can find some great deals, however from my experience from past years, high-end models as G10 won’t have their prices reduced as much as low-end ones.

  77. Sam

    I have a fairly new Panasonic 42 inch plasma. Is pixel orbiter automatically turned on as a feature? I most certainly wouldnt turn it off, but am now concern if its something that has to be turned on manually…..I have some “ghosting” from video games. It doesnt appear serious or deep, but its making me question Plasma vs LCD. I’m going to try the white wash and other documented techniques for light ghosting, but will be annoyed if can’t get the ghosting off and find that the pixel orbiter was something I unknowingly had to activate myself…..

  78. @Sam: It should be on by default. Just check in the settings. Also don’t exaggerate with white wash and all that as it will not make a big difference. Just mixing content is the best way to go. Also, if it is just temporary image retention (visible only when screen is black) don’t worry at all.

  79. Shane

    My t.v. is three years old and just sarted leaving a blue burn in image at the top of the t.v.. It goes away after the t.v. is off but then comes back after the t.v. has been on for a while. I am not really sure if this is permanant or temporary. I can get it to go away if i change the channels, but if I watch a show for a period of time it comes back. Is there anything i can do?

  80. @Shane: I don’t think that is burn-in. Burn in is always visible on any program and is not bluish but just like a faded shadow. You might want to ask a TV technician to take a look at your TV set because it could be a video board problem.

  81. Jim

    I’m curious as to why a TV logo such as NBC would burn in when there are commercials that make the logo disappear for 3 minutes every 15 minutes? Samsung PN50B450B1D

  82. Mario

    HI, first let me say how awesome your site is and how helpful it was in helping me choose plasma. I have Panasonic P50S1 that i got from best buy about 3 weeks ago. I started using it with MW2 on PS3 but limited my playing time to no more than 2 hours a day 4 days a week. I have also seen a lot of 4:3 and 16:9 sources. Ive tried to limit my game playing to no more than hour straight and then watched some tv. But right now i see some image retention where the Team Score would be and where it show the amount of bullets. It can only be seen from very close and is most visible when the contrast/brightness is high. I ran the White wash and some Break in slides for about an hour and though the IR has become less visible its still there. Did I ruin my set? What is the likelihood that i have permanent Burn-In?

  83. Nick


    I have a 50″ Samsung Plasma. I use it an average ammount for games/tv. I noticed recently that when I have white on the screen I see a ghosting image (may be retention) but also the white is not a sharp white. It’s sort of greyish/red spread all over the screen. I tried the whitewash feature and when it’s on the white screen it looks terrible.

    Any help appreciated!!

  84. Danco

    I bought my Panasonic plasma TH 42PY8P somewhere mid April. I was careful during the break in period -or I thought I was – reduced contrast, zoomed TV, and yes played PES on my PS3 for 1-2 hours at most. I recently discovered when I am veryyy close to the screen, when the background is black some ghostly images, mostly letters from the TV menu or from the game itself. They are not visible when I watch standard TV (or I canโ€™t detect them) or when the TV is off. I read what you have described before that it is normal. Then I watched blu-ray movie for 2 and a half hours and the black bars remained when I turned off the PS3 (were not visible after few hours of standard TV. My biggest concern is then when I turn the TV on and change from TV to HDMI, the letters from the menu are always ghostly presented โ€“ and the TV menu is on the screen onlu 3-4 seconds. Can this become permanent burn-in problem? It happened a lot that I was playing PS3 (one game) for a couple of hours and then turning off the TV immediately, so I was not mixing the content immediately. My TV does not have the option of pixel shifting :(((( (or I am not able to find it). Shall I be concerned for my future playing and can I clean the ghostly shades with pixel protector?


  85. @Jim: Because most of the time it is displayed on the screen and if you watch the same channel for a long period of time, eventually it will burn-in (even with the short breaks). That being said, maybe it is just a temporary burn-in, which is quite normal and not dangerous.

  86. @Mario: Have you done the break-in in the first 100-200 hours of use? You should! You didn’t ruined it since it is only visible from close and not easy to see normally. Do perform the break-in for 100-200 hours. It helps decrease the chances and speed of getting burn-in.

  87. @Nick: If it is visible only on black or white but not over normal content (e.g. a movie) it is just temporary image retention. If white isn’t white, then maybe you need to calibrate the TV (we have a guide about that on the site).

  88. jedi

    I love your article very much. Very good information…..
    I have a fairly new Panasonic plasma 50 inch. If I didn’t switch on my TV for couple of days or 1 weeks. (Holiday trip). Do I need to run the Break In disc or Burn In disc when I switch on my plasma tv?????

  89. Kevin

    Hi, I purchased my Samsung PN50B650 about 2 months ago, don’t believe I even have 100 hours on the TV. I went online on a forum and found optimal settings for my tv, which increased the contrast to 99. These settings also told me to change the format from 16:9 to screen fit. When on screen fit I realized that I cannot change the pixel orbitor, it is grayed out. Today while up close to my tv I could see the ESPN logo and bottom scroll bar in the screen when the screen is black. I do watch ESPN everyday and no more than 2 hours. By reading your responses, this seems like temporary image retention. After just minutes of the scrolling white wash, the image seemed to fade. I have now taken your advice and corrected my settings. I guess my question is will this affect the image of TV at all or should I just go on watching the TV normally with the settings you have provided? Also should you ever put the contrast at a high level?

  90. @Danco: Don’t worry. If it is visible only when the screen is black that is perfectly normal. Plus, you don’t play that much. Unless you see the image retention when there’s a movie playing (or some other content) and it has been playing for a while, there’s nothing to worry about.

  91. @Kevin: Do the break-in for 100-200 hours as instructed in the guide above, then you can use 99% contrast. I assume you’re using cNet’s picture settings and the brightness is 48%. That is good because the brightness being medium it will help reduce the chances of burn-in (after you performed break-in). Also you said nothing about playing games (biggest burn-in generator) and 2 hours on the same channel is really not going to give you permanent burn in. Do perform the break-in properly though, as it will significantly reduce the chances of burn-in in future.

  92. Tye

    I have a 50′ samsung plasma and I am about 100 hours in the break-in and it still will hold images from logos and ESPN when I watch for 20min. My concern is will I be able to watch sports,news and whatever with out seeing the last chan. image or is that just the way plasmas work??

  93. Ross

    I’ve been going back and forth for the past year or so on LCD vs Plasma due to plasma’s lower price point, superior black levels and ability to handle motion but after reading this post, I’m going LCD ALL THE WAY. It seems like unless you are a videophile and have a plasma set up exclusively for movie viewing, its not worth the trouble. I want to get a TV that can be used for mixed viewing (light sports gaming on XBOX 360, movies, streaming video from Hulu, over-the-air DTV) and see that LCD is the way for me. I’ll just have to pony up for a 120hz or 240hz TV … thanks a lot for your help. I almost bought a plasma and now know which way to go!

  94. Christopher

    Thank you for taking the time to answer all of our questions. Really appreciate the effort you make to help us become more educated consumers.

    I’m a gamer, Xbox 360 and PS3, and I also enjoy Blu Ray and HDTV content. I really would like to purchase a plasma TV and from your comments I gather that a plasma TV isn’t appropiate for the content I enjoy.

    I typically game from 2 – 6 hours at a time and there is no question that the TV will be used more for gaming than for watching Blu Ray movies, sports, etc – most likely at 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 ratio.

    Originally I was looking to purchase the Pioneer Models: PRO 101 FD or the PDP 5010 FD, with the 2009 Panasonic models as back up if I can’t locate the Pioneer’s.

    Is it your opinion that the amount of gaming I enjoy puts the Pioneer and Panasonic models at risk for burn in? With Pioneer and Panasonic being reputed for their anti burn in properties I thought this type of gaming would be safe.

    Thanks again,

  95. Will

    Thanks for the information. I have read about half of your Q&A, and intend to read them all, but I would like to get an answer from you regarding my specific situation, which may be unique here.

    I just bought a Panasonic TC-P46U1 and absolutely love the picture. Without cringing, please note. I bought the floor model. That is not the worst part. The worst part is that this floor model was displaying Madden 10 demo on it for who knows how many weeks, BUT I was given a 10% discount and am still able to return for a full refund within 90 days. I noticed the EA Sports image as well as the Madden 10 logo burn at the store. Quite confident in my research, I took it home anyway, set it up knowing that I would either see an attenuation or full reduction in this image retention over time, or would be exchanging it for another model within the 90 days. As soon as I turned on the TV on a black screen, I could read the burned logos as if they were typed on the screen. After making the recommended picture adjustments, and playing a movie zoomed to remove any bars, I immediately noticed that the images were still there, but were more difficult to see, and I only spotted them a couple times during the movie when that area was very dark. After 2 days, the image is still present, but is very difficult to see. I can see it best on the green “Movie Preview” screen on a DVD. I have not tried the white wash yet. I plan to do that for a bit tonight. Another note. In this burn or image retention, the center of the image seems most prevalent. The edges seem to be vanishing faster. The center as I mentioned almost seems to have a light yellow appearance. They too are reducing though, as they almost appeared white and I could clearly read Madden 10 when I first turned the TV on.

    Knowing that this TV was set up for maybe weeks, playing the same constant demo in a 24 hour store, and knowing the minimal results that I am seeing so far, what are your thoughts on if this is temporary or permanent? I will trust your expertise and keep it if you think I am safe, or I will return it immediately if you feel that this may be permanent damage. I REALLY like this Panasonic Plasma and hope to keep it.


  96. Gary D

    I bought a panasonic 42″ viera 3 years ago, i do have some of that burn in on the sides, i only notice it when i’m watching a hockey game…”ie white “, can this be fixed?

  97. Zak

    I just bought an LG 50PS30 and to be safe i turned on the automatic shutoff for 2 hours (i like to fall asleep to the TV) knowing that burn in is a problem and thinking that 2 hours is not that much. But this morning when i turned on the TV, i noticed the letters “Law and Order: Crim” ghosted into the center of the TV(the letters were black and the surrounding was white so I’m assuming whatever part was white is actually what is ghosted) I’m scrubbing it with static now and hopefully that works. I think it will, but i was looking through the menus for a “white wash” feature and I couldn’t find one in the TV’s features. Do I need to buy a program if I don’t have this ability? Does this TV even have this feature? help!


  98. san

    hi,, i just bought the new Panasonic G series 42″ Plasma TV.
    I tested my new blue ray disc and run in the GI Joe movie.
    After bout sometime, i found out that there;s bout 3 pixel width, vertical pixel is change to completely green.
    i went back to the shop and they change me a new set.

    Back home, I plug in the cables and configure the tv. Watch blue ray disc again.
    and after another 2 hour.. the same thing happen again. this time is red color, straight vertical line in the middle of the screen.

    can anyone let me know wht happen? should i send it back to the panasonic service center?


  99. SRI

    I have 50′ Samsung PN50B860 plasma. It’s their latest plasma. i got this TV for it’s stunning picture quality. I have one of the TV channel with static logo watch for 4+ hrs and turn off the tv over night and come back in the morning turn it back on at this time i did see some solid Image retention before actual channel comes up. once i the channel is up and running i don’t see this image at all. however after watching other channels for quite some time and turn off the tv for a while turn back on , this time i do see faded image retention not intense like before but again once the channel comes up it goes away. i even turn the scrolling function overnight to see whether this is get’s washed but no luck it is certainly getting faded. if keep watching this static logo channel for 4 + hrs and switching back to other channel for other programming for same periods of time is there chance that this static logo eventually turn into permanent burn in my plasma? please let me know i’m very concerned.

  100. @Tye: Do you see the image retention when watching actual content, or only on a black screen? ANY plasma TV retains images and their “ghost” is visible when the screen is blank (black or white). It’s just the way they are. Unless the image is visible over actual content (e.g. a movie) you have nothing to worry about.

  101. @Christopher: You better get the Samsung UN55B8500 LED LCD TV. Looks as good as the Panasonic TC-P50V10, with it’s only problem being the poor viewing angle. See complete UN55B8500 review for more info.

    If you still insist to get a plasma (I wouldn’t recommend that), the Pioneer models have the best resistance to burn-in (as long as the pixel orbiter is enabled). Panasonic comes after them.

    However, considering the gaming to movies ratio, and especially if you play the same game most of the time, it is possible that burn-in will appear at some point.

  102. Rob

    I have a smallish living room so went out last year and bought a Philips 32inch Ambi light TV, unfortunately I sat a rather large subwoofer and erm /cough burnt the screen, I have a lovely round circle :0).
    Honestly its horrible to view now for bluray and was simply a great viewing TV. I love ambi light for night times, even with a small 32 screen i can view it in full 1080p blur ray glory, spot most detail and not get sore eyes!

    So heres my question as I have ruined my lcd and simply cannot afford another ambi, I am thinking of 42 inch plasma, My kids view sky tv alot and as it has static channel logos’, is there a risk that they could become burnt in?

    thanks in advance

  103. SRI

    I also have another question. after the break-in period can i reset picture to it’s factory settings
    ( torch mode) without any risk of burn -in or Image Retension.

  104. Larry

    I just received the EAProgramming break in dvd disc from Evangelos. Unfortunately, my Samsung 58b650 already has 140 hours on it. Is it too late to still run the breakin disc ? I’ve not noticed any color issues except for one.

    While watching a totally black screen during credits or in a movie anywhere I’ve noticed black vertical bands about 3 inces wide 5 or 6 inches from the edge of the screen towards the middle. It was originally on both sides of the screen same place but now seems dominant on the right side. As I said, this only seems visible on a totally black screen. Otherwise, all’s well. Any thoughts as to what this is and how to correct it ?

    Thank You.

  105. @Will: If it is visible only when the screen is black or white it is temporary. If it is visible when you have actual content on the screen, like a movie, then it is permanent. From what you say it seems it is permanent. You may manage to reduce it but it is unlikely that it will completely go away. For 10% less it is not worth it to have a TV with burn-in. My suggestion is that you send it back and get a new set. Only you can decide if it’s OK to keep it or not. What I can tell you is that, if it is permanent as I think it is, the chances of disappearing entirely are slim.

  106. Ahmed

    I got a 50″ Samsung about 3 weeks ago. I’ve read some of these comments regarding plasmas and I do notice often that after playing Wii, I will have the logos and info remain on a black screen. Or an ABC logo after watching tv. It can sometimes be there the next day too, but it’s really only noticeable when the tv is on but with a black screen……..otherwise you don’t see it.

    However, it is discouraging and I may switch to LCD!


    Dude, I wish to thank you for all the advice here and all of your great answers. I don’t have any questions for you, However, I must commend you for your patience with all of the same questions from these folks who have obviously not taken the time to simply read your answers to prior questions. I must have read atleast 25 questions that were the same in nature as the one before it. You somehow patiently answer them all. Folks give this poor guy a break and read this list of Q/A’s before posting the same question over and over again so we that want new info can not have to read the same stuff over and over again. No offence but it is strictly just pure dis-respectful lazzines to not. I now because of this post have amuch broader understanding of what one needs to do to limit the Burn-In Problem that is associated with any Plasma set. Thanks for that as I had no idea before I found this site.

    Take Care,

  108. PK

    I have a insignia 42inch plasma which is said to be made by samsung and it has a type of burn in screen saver that scrolls black white and gray and it has pixel shift. i was playing madden 2010 and the scoreboard is a kinda ghostly image on it which as u stated is image retention should i be worried? And is pixel shift the same as pixel orbit? Should i run that image scrolling screen? i need help =( im panicing ive only had this tv for about 2 and a half weeks

  109. @Rob: I don’t really understand what you say happened to your Philips TV, but getting to your question, it depends on the plasma TV and how much your kids watch their favorite channel versus how much you watch other channels. There is no clear answer here. As long as you guys watch other channels as well, it should be OK.

  110. @Gary D: It’s unlikely. You can try the “white wash/scrolling bar” (name varies from manufacturer to manufacturer) function if your TV has it, however don’t overdo it, because totally eliminating image retention is not likely to happen.

  111. @Zak: Are the letters visible when you watch a movie or actual content? If they are only visible on black or white fullscreen, don’t bother with it because it is normal. I don’t know if the TV has white wash, but you can buy a DVD that has something similar (some calibration DVDs do). However, it is easier to just watch TV normally and it is very likely that it will go away.

  112. @SRI: You can use “torch mode” and not end up with burn-in if you change the channel/content relatively often, so you don’t get logos or static images displayed for a long time (days). “Torch mode” doesn’t generate burn-in, it just accelerates the process and makes it visible sooner. Also, unless you have the TV in an EXTREMELY bright room, or in a store where it has to compensate for ambient light from hundreds of spots, I strongly suggest against it. Not just because it ages the pixels at a faster pace, but also because the picture will not look as good as when you have it turned down and calibrated.

  113. @Larry: No need for break-in, anymore. Regarding the slight temporary image retention, it is normal to see it when the screen is black. You don’t have to do anything. If it not visible over actual content it is not a problem.

  114. @PK: Pixel shift is the same as pixel orbiter. Regarding the image retention, it is only an issue if it is visible when you have actual content on the screen, not only over black fulscreen. If that is the case, mix the content – watch TV at least as much as you play games. Also, if you play games a lot, you should have bought an LCD or at least a plasma that has good burn-in resistance (Insignia are not some of the best plasma TVs out there).

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