LCD Screen Burn - A Warning
August 22, 2004

Note:  All the images in this article can be enlarged to 800 x 600 in a new window by clicking on the thumbnails.

Ever hear of screen burn on a LCD monitor?  Chances are that you haven't.  Most people believe that LCD screens can't get screen burn.  Do a search of the Internet and you'll see hundreds of articles comparing LCD to CRT (cathode ray tubes) monitors and you'll find that one of the advantages of LCD monitors is that they don't suffer from screen burn like CRT monitors do.  Well, I also believed that LCD's couldn't get screen burn until about 2 months ago when I made a horrifying finding.  There was a afterimage on my Dell 2001FP LCD monitor in the exact shape of my Windows wallpaper.  Did my LCD just get screen burned?  Noooo!!!!!  It can't be!!!!

Ok, no more dramatics.  Although I titled this article "Screen Burn", what my LCD monitor actually experienced was something that is not very well known called temporary image persistence.  Basically, the image "persists" on the screen even when a different image is displayed.  Sounds like a euphemism for screen burn to me.  But the difference between LCD screen burn and CRT screen burn is that, LCD screen burn *might* not be permanent.  I say might, because I have found several instances where LCD screen burn could not be reversed.

So this is what happened to me:  I got a pair of Dell 2001FP's back in December to use in dual view mode so that I could more efficiently work.  One day in July, I open a full screen webpage that was mostly light gray and noticed that there was a black horizontal "smudge" on the otherwise gray page.  I thought that the webpage must have some sort of background on it so I moved the browser window around to see if the smudge would move.  No it didn't!  Uh oh...  Next I thought there was some dirt on my LCD screen so I tried to wipe it off.... but no dice, the smudge was still there!  Crap.  Then I noticed that the smudge was exactly in the same spot as my wallpaper image which I had been using for over 6 months.  Ah.. that must be it.  You can see the wallpaper I used in the thumbnail below.  The part of the wallpaper that caused the mark on the screen is the black horizontal section just above the turquoise section.  The corresponding "smudge" can be see in the other image which uses a solid blue background.  All the pictures have these weird fine lines in them which are artifacts of my digital camera taking a picture of the LCD screen.  These fine lines are not visible normally.  The smudge is the wide horizontal marking on the screen.

Click image to enlarge