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LG OLED TV at US retailer shows burn-in

An LG OLED TV, sold at a US retailer, has shown signs of burn-in despite likely being on the shelf for only a year and a half.

The Dolby logo is clearly visible at the center of LG's OLED TV. 

Image: Cho Mu-Hyun/ZDNet

An LG Electronics' OLED TV on display that was being sold at a popular retailer in the US has shown signs of burn-in.

The TV, sold at Fry's Electronics store in San Jose, had the Dolby logo clearly "burnt-in" on the centre of the screen, ZDNet can confirm. The burnt-in TV was on display throughout the month of March.

The revelation is part of a concerning pattern where LG's OLED TVs are showing similar burn-in defects. 

The TV in question is the LG OLED 65E7P that was launched in 2017 as a mid-tier model. It has since dropped in price as LG has released newer TV models over the past two years.

The TV is at most a year and a half old, but units still on sale are likely to be younger than that as manufacturers mostly keep inventory low and produce new batches depending on demand. The South Korean electronics giant no longer manufactures this particular TV model however.

LG has previously said its OLED TVs can last 30,000 hours, or around 10 years with an average daily viewing of eight hours, without burn-ins.

LG has not made any fundamental changes to the way it manufactures OLED panels since the technology was first commercialised by the company in 2012.  

The company is expected to start sales of its 2019 OLED TVs in the US this month. Some of these models are already on display ahead of sales.

As LG moves more into the OLED TV market, reports of burn-in have concurrently risen. The company's TVs have shown signs of burn-in at previous enterprise offerings as well as at trade shows.

Burn-in refers to permanent image retention usually caused by leaving a static image on the screen for a long period of time. The images are "burnt-in" and are permanently visible, like smudges, when playing other content.

LG and other OLED vendors have attempted to control the problem with software, such as a pixel refresher feature which moves static images to prevent burn-in. But by vendors' own admission, the use of refresher can shorten the life span of panels and is not a fundamental solution.

The OLED TV in question was at most over a year old but suffered burn-in nonetheless. The Dolby logo is clearly visible in its center. 

iImage: Cho Mu-Hyun/ZDNet

The burn-in issue first occurred in 2015, in its home country of South Korea, when LG's OLEDs installed at N Seoul Tower showed signs of burn-in

The issue occurred again early last year, with LG's then-months old 2018-model OLED TVs installed at Incheon International Airport showing signs of burn-in, forcing the company to replace them with LCD TVs.

The company's OLED TVs that were on display at SID Display Week 2018 also suffered from burn-in.

A test of LG's OLED offerings by TV review site Rtings, mimicking casual viewing patterns, also showed signs of burn-in after clocking-in 4,000 hours of display time.

Despite these issues of burn-in, an LG spokesperson has reiterated the firm's previous stance, saying: "Under normal TV use as a video display or games display, OLED technology does not suffer from permanent image retention".

Burn-in to a lesser degree is also visible above the Dolby logo.

Image: Cho Mu-Hyun/ZDNet

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