Ya Burnt! Or How I’d Donate My Own Plasma For This Damn Thing


Now, Dead Robot, don’t step out into the street or you’ll be hit by a bla bla bla mer mer mer.

Don’t stick that in the toaster, you’ll fry your blee blee blee!

Catch this sharp free frew fraw!

It’s apparent that some days I don’t listen. When faced with a big shiny thing in my face, the world drops away and my eyes become saucers. Cherubs anoint my forehead with myrrh and lyrical lutes can be heard over the choir of (hunky) angels.

Just like the day we decided to purchase a plasma TV.

You’ve heard the #1 downfall of plasma TV: Image Burn In! The current level of technology for plasma is that it’s a “manageable” risk, meaning if you read the instruction book, you should have no worries at all. Of course, as a guy, I ripped open the box and started licking the remote in anticipation.

In the days we were researching which TV to buy, I didn’t hear (or chose not to hear) was that for the first 100 hours you must do all you can to avoid stationary images on your screen: No CNN, no Logo branded channels more than 30 min, no 4:3 aspect tv viewing (all the sites recommend viewing a squished image for this period!).

I am sure the sales agent said that nugget of information while we were in the store but all I heard was “Bler bleg bloo!” while I was saying to myself “HolymotherofbabyjesusLOOKATTHATSCREEN!” Of course, we took care when we started to watch but we weren’t diligent, apparently.

Last night while watching You Only Live Twice, during the helicopter duel, we noticed dark lines in the sky, next to James Bond’s head. Uh oh. Closer inspection of the screen on an all white channel we found this bizarre hieroglyph:

Oh. My. God. It’s the “Position #1” icon from Mario Kart! Has SharkBoy been playing it THAT much?

Number 1 from Mario Kart Wii (image enhanced)

Number 1 from Mario Kart Wii (image enhanced)

Quick! To the internet!

After a ton of reading on various web forums, including the Samsung sponsored CNet Gadget forums, I’ve en massed a few tips:

  1. The first 100 hours are critical. Do not leave anything sit on the screen longer than 30 minutes. We’re talking games, 4:3 Aspect black bars on the left and right of the video(some TVs have a “gray” option – choose that), Widescreen bars on top and below the video, any news channel with feeds. Even our Rogers Channel Guide is culprit. Note to SharkBoy: No more surfing the guide and then absent-mindedly start watching the PIP image of live TV, leaving up the guide!
  2. Check for firmware upgrades. It might be a pain to root around the back of the TV with a thumb drive, but it’s worth it.
  3. Most TVs (plasma or LCD) ship with their contrast rate blasting so that if they become floor models in stores, they look sharp and good. Surf to your settings and turn this down. Check out the brightness/sharpness too. Sometimes they’re jacked up so high your eyes bleed in oblivious bliss when you first turn on your new TV
  4. Our model (and most new plasmas) come with a few tools to prevent burn in. Scope them out as soon as you open the box. Ours comes with a nifty option that every 1-2 minutes shifts the screen around in random directions by 4 pixels. It also comes with the option to display a whole white screen or a scrolling black to white gradation bar. Samsung recommends running that for an hour at least. Don’t have any of those? Choose a blank static screen, but make sure menu items, like channel displays are turned off.
  5. There are “screen savers” out there that claim to wipe out burn in, but depending on the length of burn by the age of the TV, they might not be any help

This whole ordeal hasn’t turned me off my TV choice (ha! make funny me!). I did the research and knew the options, I just didn’t heed them, so I have no one to blame but myself really. The way I see it is that it’s new technology and sometimes you make concessions as an early adopter. With that said, this TV is still my most favorite gadget in the house.

iPhones don’t count. They’re mobile.

6 thoughts on “Ya Burnt! Or How I’d Donate My Own Plasma For This Damn Thing

  1. Phronk

    Whoa! I thought burn in was a thing of the past with new plasmas. That sucks. I hope the ease with which it showed up means that it can pretty easily fade with time, too. If it burned in it can burn out.

  2. Dead Robot

    Evil, we got rid of 95% of the burn but in bright sunlight images you can just barely see it.

    This from the Samsung Limited Warranty page (it says CRT but it’s on their Plasma TV info page):

    Be careful in the selection and duration of television formats used for viewing. Uneven CRT aging as a result of format selection and use, as well as other burned-in images, is not covered by your Samsung limited warranty.

    Replicant: I sing that song every time the husband nags at me.

  3. the replicant

    A hundred hours without video games? I couldn’t do it.
    I think you should make “Dead Robot look out for the bla bla mer mer” into a music video with a cute little robot getting into all sorts of trouble.
    Unless you have already. If so, kindly point me to the URL. 🙂

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