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We've started our biggest test yet! To try to better understand how long a TV should last, we're running 100 TVs through an accelerated longevity test for the next two years. Read more about it here, or watch our first video about the test here!

How Long Should A TV Last?
Our 100 TV Accelerated Longevity Test

Updated

Our 2 Year Accelerated Longevity Test

We’ve bought and tested more than 375 TVs over the past nine years with our goal of helping you find the best one for your needs. We keep the TVs in our lab until they’re no longer popular, comparing and retesting them with major firmware updates and newer test methodologies. It keeps our reviews in the best state for when you buy a TV.

Despite all this, there’s a huge hole in our reviews—a fundamental flaw we haven’t been able to fix. Today we’re changing that with the biggest test we’ve ever done. And the goal of it is to answer what seems like a simple question—how long can I expect my new TV to last?

To try to answer this question, we've decided to run 100 TVs that we still have in the lab from the last 2-3 years through a grueling 2-year accelerated longevity test to see how long they last. Each TV will run for either 20 or 15.5 hours per day, for a total of 126 hours per week, turning off eight times a day to simulate normal use. Every two months, we'll take uniformity and brightness measurements to see how they age over time and to look for any uniformity issues or change in brightness over time. We'll post updates to this page and our YouTube channel, keeping you updated every step of the way.

Goal

The main goal of the longevity test is to get a better understanding of how long modern TVs should last. To do so, we're running an accelerated test with 100 TVs over the next two years. We're looking for any issues with the TVs as they age, including whether or not brightness decreases over time, uniformity issues (burn-in), or any outright component failures. As this test deals with a very small sample size of each model (one unit of each model), the goal of this test is limited to wider trends; we can't draw any conclusions on the reliability of specific models or even specific brands. We want to know how long a TV should last, and we want to push the TVs to failure, so we can perform a tear-down to determine the cause of failure and better understand which components on a TV are most likely to fail.

Burn-In

Although it's not one of the primary goals of this test, we're hoping to better understand how newer OLED panels compare to the older generation of OLEDs. It's generally accepted that burn-in isn't as much of an issue as it used to be, but it's unclear just how much better the newer OLED TVs are. With new panels, new heatsinks, and even brand-new panel types like QD-OLED, there are a lot of unknowns.

We've already explored what types of content are most likely to cause burn-in in our real-life burn-in test, which only used LG C7 OLEDs, but only one of those TVs was at the max brightness. This time there will be multiple models of OLED TVs, all displaying the same content, and all of them will be at max brightness.

Given the intensity of this test, it's highly likely that these OLED TVs will still experience burn-in, but we're looking to see how the different OLED technologies compare and how they compare to the old C7s. Do heat sinks reduce the likelihood of experiencing burn-in? What about QD-OLEDs like the Samsung S95B OLED and the Sony A95K OLED? The goal here isn't to determine which content is most likely to burn in; instead, we're looking to see how these different technologies compare given the same content and the same test conditions.

Component failures

Aside from burn-in, TVs are also prone to failure for many other reasons, and this can occur with any TV, whether it's an OLED, QD-OLED, or LCD with an LED backlight. This test will simulate multiple on/off cycles per day to test that circuitry. Heat impacts the components in any TV, so we're also looking for failures from things such as blown capacitors or other failed components. We're also looking for any change in brightness, as even non-organic LEDs have a limited lifespan, and their brightness is likely to decrease over time. We're hoping to better understand how these components fail and to look for any trends across brands or across specific panel types.

Our tests

Test Setup

For this test, we've used our existing inventory shelving to set up all 100 TVs. A new electrical subpanel and surge protection system was installed to ensure each TV is powered properly and properly protected. Each TV is connected to a Yodeck media player via HDMI, and each streamer is connected via ethernet to a central server. It allows us to control the content being displayed on all 100 televisions at once. The Yodeck streamers also support HDMI-CEC, allowing us to remotely control the TVs, turning them on and off according to a fixed schedule.

TV Settings

For the duration of this test, each TV will be set up according to our recommended pre-calibration settings for that model, but with the brightness at max. We'll also spot-check these settings to ensure that nothing changes over time due to a firmware update or other bug that could cause the settings to change. For the OLED TVs in this test, we'll enable all panel-saving features, including pixel shift features and additional burn-in prevention mechanisms, like LG's logo luminance adjustment feature.

All TVs are on the latest firmware available at the start of the test, but their Wi-Fi connection is disabled for the duration of the test so that they don't receive any unattended firmware updates. If any significant firmware updates come out during our test, we'll still retest these TVs; however, we'll take additional measurements before and after applying the firmware update to track any changes to the peak brightness due to the firmware update.

Schedule

Update 11/18/2022: After we launched our two-year longevity test, a few users were quick to point out a major flaw in our schedule. It didn't allow Sony OLED TVs to run their compensation cycles, as Sony TVs only start this process after the TV has been off for four hours. We've adjusted our schedule to make sure this process has time to complete.

Each TV is on for a total of 20 hours per day on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and they cycle on and off multiple times per day. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, they're on for a total of 15.5 hours, to allow time for all OLED TVs to run their panel compensation cycles. We power cycle them because we want to also simulate repeatedly power-cycling the display to wear down those components and see how they age over time. We also want to give the TVs time to cool down between runs to simulate a heat cycle on the internal components.

During this time, the TVs are on standby but still receiving power. It's especially important for OLED TVs, which have an automatic compensation cycle that runs after several hours of usage. Our schedule is designed to ensure that those compensation cycles have enough time to run properly.

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

Time (24 h)

TV power status

Cycle length (h)

00:00 ON 1.0
01:00 OFF 0.5
01:30 ON 1.5
03:00 OFF 0.5
03:30 ON 1.5
05:00 OFF 0.5
05:30 ON 1.5
07:00 OFF 0.5
07:30 ON 9.5
17:00 OFF 0.5
17:30 ON 1.5
19:00 OFF 0.5
19:30 ON 1.5
21:00 OFF 0.5
21:30 ON 1.5
23:00 OFF 0.5
23:30 ON 0.5

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Time (24 h)

TV power status

Cycle length (h)

00:00 ON 1.0
01:00 OFF 0.5
01:30 ON 1.5
03:00 OFF 0.5
03:30 ON 1.5
05:00 OFF 0.5
05:30 ON 1.5
07:00 OFF 5
12:00 ON 5
17:00 OFF 0.5
17:30 ON 1.5
19:00 OFF 0.5
19:30 ON 1.5
21:00 OFF 0.5
21:30 ON 1.5
23:00 OFF 0.5
23:30 ON 0.5

 

Startup

We started the test with a soft launch involving all 100 TVs on October 21st, 2022. The initial soft launch phase ran until November 4th, when we shut them down temporarily. The goal of the soft launch was to make sure that everything was working properly and that all of the TVs were running as planned with the programmed schedule. After the soft launch, a few changes were made to our test setup, so a new set of uniformity photos were taken for most of the TVs. The full test started on November 16th, 2022, and will run for approximately two full years until the end of 2024.

During the startup phase, the Sony A80J, A80K, A8H, A90J, A90K, and A95K, as well as the Vizio OLED 2020, developed severe image retention after only two weeks on the test. We ran the compensation cycles on affected TVs and tried different methods to remove the image retention, including running a few videos designed to remove it. We were eventually able to remove most of the image retention. The LG OLED TVs also showed signs of image retention when we stopped the test, but it cleared very quickly, and no additional action was required. A few users were quick to point out that this was due to a flaw with our original schedule; it didn't allow time for the Sony TVs to run their compensation cycles. We've adjusted our schedule to make sure this cycle has time to run.

Test Results

Every two months, we'll take uniformity and brightness measurements on each TV. We take a series of uniformity photos (50% gray, 100% red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow) and measure the peak brightness in SDR with a 10% slide and a 100% slide.

The uniformity pictures are then processed and added to the review, and a graph is updated showing the brightness at 10% and 100% over time. All 100 TVs are updated at the same time, ensuring that the results on the website are always comparable.

TV Failures

If a TV fails completely during our testing, we'll remove it from the test, and a post-mortem will be done to attempt to determine the root cause of the failure. We'll dismantle the TV and look for failed components, from power supplies to board failures to blown capacitors; we want to know exactly what caused the TV to fail, although it won't always be possible to determine the exact cause.

TV List

This is the full list of TVs we'll be testing over the next two years. Note that this is a closed test; as we buy new TVs to review, we don't plan on adding them to the longevity test. The only exception to this is if something truly new and groundbreaking comes out. We might make an exception then and add it to the test, but the results for that TV wouldn't be comparable to the rest of the test.

Amazon Fire TV 4-Series LG QNED99 8k Sony X800H
Amazon Fire TV Omni Series LG UP7000 Sony X80J
Hisense A6G LG UP8000 Sony X80K
Hisense A6H LG UQ8000 Sony X85J
Hisense H8G LG UQ9000 Sony X85K
Hisense H9G Samsung AU8000 Sony X900H
Hisense U6G Samsung Q60/Q60A QLED Sony X90J
Hisense U6GR Samsung Q60/Q60B QLED Sony X90K
Hisense U6H Samsung Q60/Q60T QLED Sony X91J
Hisense U7G Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED Sony X950H
Hisense U7H Samsung Q70/Q70T QLED Sony X95J
Hisense U800GR 8k Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED Sony X95K
Hisense U8G Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED TCL 3 Series 2020
Hisense U8H Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED TCL 4 Series/S435 2020
Hisense U9DG Samsung QN800A 8k QLED TCL 4 Series/S446 2021
Insignia F50 QLED Samsung QN85A QLED TCL 4 Series/S455 2022
LG A1 OLED Samsung QN85B QLED TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED
LG A2 OLED Samsung QN900A 8k QLED TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 QLED
LG B1 OLED Samsung QN90A QLED TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED
LG B2 OLED Samsung QN90B QLED TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED
LG BX OLED Samsung QN95B QLED TCL 6 Series/R648 2021 8k QLED
LG C1 OLED Samsung S95B OLED TCL R745 QLED
LG C2 OLED Samsung The Frame 2021 Toshiba C350 Fire TV 2021
LG CX OLED Samsung The Frame 2022 QLED Vizio D3 Series 2021
LG G1 OLED Samsung The Terrace Vizio M Series Quantum X 2022
LG G2 OLED Samsung TU7000 Vizio M6 Series Quantum 2021
LG NANO75 2021 Samsung TU8000 Vizio M6 Series Quantum 2022
LG NANO75 2022 Sony A80J OLED Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2021
LG NANO85 2020 Sony A80K OLED Vizio OLED 2020
LG NANO85 2021 Sony A8H OLED Vizio P Series Quantum 2020
LG NANO90 2021 Sony A90J OLED Vizio P Series Quantum 2021
LG NANO99 8k 2021 Sony A90K OLED Vizio V Series 2022
LG QNED80 Sony A95K OLED Vizio V5 Series 2021
LG QNED90    

Results

As we've just started this test, we don't have any results yet. We'll update this section every two months with a high-level overview of the latest data. Results for individual TVs will be posted to the respective review.

Limitations

There are a few limitations of this test, and we need to be careful about which conclusions we're drawing. The goal of this test is to better understand the reliability of TVs in general and which components are the most likely to fail. With such a small sample size, we can't answer questions about the quality or reliability of a specific model. Even if a certain TV breaks in our tests, that doesn't mean that that'll be your experience with that TV. Conversely, even if a TV doesn't break in our test, it doesn't mean that yours won't. It's also important to remember that this test is meant to be an accelerated torture test; it doesn't represent normal daily usage, so even if a certain type of TV breaks after a year, that represents many years of normal usage. Depending on the outcome of this test, we might be able to have a better understanding of the reliability of specific brands, but it's unlikely, and this isn't one of our goals.

This test is also unlikely to catch early failures. Since all of the TVs on this test have gone through our review process, at the very least, they already have dozens, if not hundreds of hours of use. It means we don't have any data on which brands are more likely to produce "lemons", or TVs that fail during the initial return period, as we would have already returned or exchanged those units. Since our TVs also have to travel a much longer distance than most TV buyers before they reach us, early failures due to shipping damage are more common for us, so our internal data on that isn't relevant to most buyers.

Conclusion

TVs are among the most reliable consumer electronics on the market. Whereas most people change their phones or tablets every two to three years, it's common for people to hold on to their TVs for 5-10 years or more. But how reliable are TVs in general? What about burn-in; is it still an issue? We're hoping to be able to answer these questions and more over the next few years as we run these 100 TVs through our accelerated longevity test.

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