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Real Life OLED Burn In Test on 6 TVs

OLED TVs have great picture quality, however, there are concerns about their long-term performance due to the possibility of permanent image retention, commonly referred to as burn-in.

Our previous 20 hours per day burn-in test is still running and the OLED TV already has permanent retention. That test is an extreme case, using patterns with a lot of static content.

Based on your feedback and comments, we have bought 6 LG OLED C7 which will play real, non-altered content. This should give you a better idea on what to expect depending on what you watch on your TV.

We will start this test within the next two weeks and, once all the content is finalized, update this article every two weeks. We will continue to do this for one year.


The goal of the test is to provide an idea of the usage time of a 2017 OLED TV before burn-in becomes apparent, which will depend on your usage. To do so, we will replicate five different real-world conditions in an accelerated aging test. We will also independently test two different brightness ('OLED Light') settings with the same content to see the impact of this.

Test Setup

The TVs will all be controlled by a microcontroller to repeat a five hour on and one hour off cycle four times per day.

They will all be playing real content (not test patterns), from live cable TV sources, video game clips or recorded sports. The brightness of all TVs (except the one identified below) will be set to 200 nits on a checkerboard pattern, with the content described below.

The Content

1. Live CNN

CNN is played live on the TV through a cable feed. CNN is a widely watched network news channel, and we have also received concerns regarding this channel specifically. This test is considered a control, with the 'OLED Light' set to a brightness of 200 nits.

2. Live CNN (maximum screen brightness)

As above, live CNN is played on the TV through a cable feed. However, for this TV, the 'OLED Light' is set to maximum, which corresponds to a brightness of 380 nits on our checkerboard pattern. This is to show the relationship between burn-in rate and 'OLED Light' with the exact same content and over the same time period.

3. Football

Many pre-recorded football games are displayed on this TV to represent the usage of someone who is interested in a particular sport and will watch it regardless of the channel. It includes content from a variety of channels and with different teams, so overlays are located in different areas and team colors change. It includes many games to avoid too much repeating.

4. Live general channel

This test is informative for people who watch a lot of general TV, since a general channel shows a variety of movies, TV shows, sports, and news. The source is a live cable feed and should be representative for a range of general TV content.

5. FIFA 18 gameplay

The goal of the content on this TV is to investigate the effect of a 'high risk' video game - one which has some bright, static areas which remain very consistent. We have received the most concerns about FIFA 18, and so many hours of gameplay footage are used to show typical usage, including many different teams and a mix of menus and gameplay without much repeating.

6. Call of Duty: WWII gameplay

The gameplay footage on this TV is to represent a relatively 'low risk' video game. It only has small areas which are static and an overall dim image without too many bright colors. We haven't received any reports of burn-in for this game yet, so consider it a baseline for a low risk game.

The Controller

A NodeMCU microcontroller is used to control each TV at all times. It has 6 IR LEDs, which are connected to the IR receiver of each TV, to power them all on and off at specific intervals. The status and toggle times are logged via WiFi to a server, to verify accurate timing.


The results will appear in this section.

The test will begin within two weeks , as the content is still being finalized. Every two weeks we will take photos of 50% gray, 100% red, 100% green, 100% blue, 100% cyan, 100% magenta, and 100% yellow patterns and post the photos here. Every two months we will measure the color gamut and HDR peak brightness of each TV.


  • This test alone only demonstrates the effect of one of the use cases described above. It does not show the effect of changing between multiple sources (such as watching football 20% of the time, playing high-risk video games 50% of the time, and playing low risk video games 30% of the time).


The goal of this test is to provide an idea of an OLED TV's lifespan before burn-in becomes visible when watching real world content. This article will be updated every two weeks with the latest results from our real-world test, and how it should impact your buying decisions depending on your own specific usage.

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Questions & Answers

Not a question but a prediction; CNN @ 200 Nits: No noticeable burn in after 300 hours cumulative (3 weeks) but evident burn-in before 1000 hours cumulative (7 weeks) CNN @ 380 Nits: Evident burn-in by 300 hours cumulative and possibly as early as 200 hours cumulative (2 weeks) Football: No evidence of burn-in after 1000 hours cumulative Live General: No evidence of burn-in after 1000 hours cumulative FIFA Gameplay: don't know the game (or brightness setting) so no prediction Call of Duty WWII: No evidence of burn-in after 1000 hours cumulative You guys are the best for testing for burn-in in very pseudo-realistic ways - keep up the great work! p.s. please tell us the brightness setting (and eventually OLED Light setting) for all 6 tests, not just the first two CNN tests.
Thank you for your comments. Your predictions seem to align with the results of our previous test. You can expect us to report specific brightness settings much like what we've done on our first burn-in test, with updates if the settings have to be adjusted over time.
My curiosity is why only LG when you could have Sony and even Panasonic, we all know the importance in image quality and image retention, image burn in. I haven't heard of Sony and Panasonic of burning issues, only LG...
Burn-in is unfortunately inherent to OLEDs, and all three of these manufacturers utilize the same suppliers for the display panels used in their OLED TVs so the results should be similar. We picked the LG C7 since it is currently the most popular OLED TV sold. LG OLED TVs being the most popular is likely why there are more reports of burn-in for these TVs compared to other manufacturers.
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