Why Images Burn Into LCD and Plasma Displays, and How to Fix It
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Updated by Gavin Phillips on May 30, 2017.

Have you ever been watching something on the TV or the computer, had to step out for a bit, but “a bit” soon turns into minutes, hours, maybe even days? You return to your screen only to see an image burned into the display and, no matter what you do, it just won’t go away. Sadly, it’s happened to me on a few occasions.

Why do images get burned into displays? Why can’t manufacturers just prevent LCDs and plasmas from doing that? And if it’s happening to you right now, what can you do to fix it? Fortunately, in most cases, you can minimize or erase image burn AMOLED Burn-In Can Be Avoided! And It's Easy! AMOLED Burn-In Can Be Avoided! And It's Easy! AMOLED burn-in can be reduced with the right tricks. This article lists the apps and options for saving AMOLED screens. Read More as long as it hasn’t been burning too long.

LCD and Plasma Screens: A Primer

Back before flat-screens and crystal displays, most TVs and monitors featured CRT (cathode ray tube) technology Everything You Need to Know About Television Technology Everything You Need to Know About Television Technology Before the days of mobile devices and laptops, our entertainment needs were mostly filled by one source, the television. Read More . In CRTs, each individual pixel comprises a red, blue, and green phosphor component; depending on the intensity of each phosphor component, the pixel appears to the human eye as a unique color. When a particular still image remains for too long, the intensity of each phosphor component diminishes at an uneven rate, leaving behind a ghost image on screen. This is known as image burning.

But LCDs and plasma screens don’t work in the same way that CRTs do. Instead of using cathode ray tubes, LCDs use liquid crystal to display colors (hence liquid crystal display) and plasma displays use plasma, of course.

what is lcd burn in

Plasma displays make use of plasma, a gaseous substance that contains a bunch of free-flowing ions. When the plasma isn’t in use, the particles in the plasma are uncharged and display nothing. However, when we introduce an electric current, the particles become excited and begin to collide into one another, releasing photons of light. The whole process is somewhat more complicated; you just need to know that plasmas utilize phosphor material (like CRTs) to translate those photons into images.

Unlike CRTs and plasmas, LCDs do not use any phosphor for image production. Instead, LCDs use a backlight of white What Is The Difference Between An LCD And An LED Backlit LCD Display? What Is The Difference Between An LCD And An LED Backlit LCD Display? This subject is complex because it’s simple. The differences between LCD and LED are subtle, which can make it difficult to understand the difference. It’s an important distinction, however, because it can significantly impact image... Read More which is then filtered using crystals to extract particular colors per pixel. Although LCDs don’t suffer from the same kind of burning as CRTs and plasmas, they do suffer from something similar: image persistence.

Why Do LCD and Plasma Screens Burn In?

Before we can fix burned images, we need to understand why these images burn in the first place. LCDs and plasmas don’t suffer from burn-in as seriously as CRTs do, but static images can leave an imprint on both displays if left alone for too long. So why do they burn?

what is lcd screen burn

First, let’s tackle plasma. Remember why CRTs burn? When a still image remains on screen for too long, the different phosphor components in each pixel wear out at different rates, leaving behind a ghost image. Plasmas can also suffer from phosphor deterioration. Plasma burning occurs when pixels on the screen become damaged due to long exposure; the phosphor loses its intensity and only shows the light that it was repeatedly fed: the still image.

I mentioned that LCDs don’t technically suffer from burning, which is permanent. Instead, they suffer from image persistence, which is temporary. When a still image remains on screen for too long on an LCD, the crystals that display those colors “get stuck” in their spots. When the display tries to show a different color, the crystals want to stay in that spot so they don’t move enough, resulting in a color that’s slightly off from the intended color. That’s why you’ll see a ghost of the still image from before.

Fixing LCD and Plasma Screen Burn Ins

There are some ways you can fix both plasma burning and LCD image persistence. However, depending on the length and severity of the image burning, some displays may be beyond repair, so keep that in mind and don’t get your hopes up too fast.


The best fix for screen burning is to prevent it in the first place. Don’t leave your screens paused or on a still image for too long. The actual time length required to burn an image into the screen differs from screen to screen, but my personal rule of thumb is that I’ll turn off my displays if I plan on being away for more than 15 minutes.


Another prevention method is to reduce screen contrast as much as you can. Most screens aren’t calibrated correctly Monitor Calibration Made Easy With These 5 Online Tools Monitor Calibration Made Easy With These 5 Online Tools You should calibrate your monitor regularly so your screen displays colors correctly. These are the best sites for monitor calibration. Read More , often putting too high of a setting for contrast and brightness.

Lower contrast means that the lighting across your screen is more even. This helps to keep burning out of your screen, especially for channel logos that sit in the corner while you watch your TV.

what is lcd burn in


If you already have a burned screen, you can try turning on white static for 12 to 24 hours. The constant moving of white-and-black across your screen in random patterns can help remove the ghost image from your screen. Unfortunately, this won’t work for extreme cases. Some TVs will have a built-in pattern swiping option that basically accomplishes the same thing (by filling your screen with random patterns).


The best tool that I’ve found for fixing ghost images is JScreenFix. Though the original program design was to help fix monitors with dead pixels How To Find & Fix Bad Pixels On Your LCD Screen How To Find & Fix Bad Pixels On Your LCD Screen Bad pixels often occur on brand new screens. Since a single bad pixel can become a great annoyance once you know it's there, any new display with a warranty on it should be checked for... Read More , they now have a JScreenFix Deluxe which uses advanced algorithms to repair burned screens and prolong plasma and LCD longevity. There is a free version available, but if you want to run the program for more than 20 minutes at a time, you’ll need to purchase a license for $25 USD.

For LCDs, since image persistence is temporary, you can just turn off your display for a few hours. If that doesn’t work, try the above recommendations.

The Best Way to Prevent Screen Burning

Having an image burned into your LCD or plasma screen isn’t the end of the world. With a few simple tools and tricks, you may be able to wipe it out and restore it back to almost-new condition.

However, the best way to avoid image burning is to prevent it altogether, so don’t leave still images on your screen for prolonged periods of time (as long as you can help it).

Image Credit: LCD Monitor Via Shutterstock, Plasma TV Via Shutterstock, White Noise Via Shutterstock

Explore more about: Computer Maintenance, Computer Monitor, Television.

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  1. FX
    October 28, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Well that sucks for a day trader like me that has static charts up 24/5....

  2. Piotr Grochowski
    July 29, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    My ale-l21 phone with IPS LCD has image persistance that shows the inverse; if black was shown for a long time, that area is temporarily faintly lighter, and if red is shown for a long time, image persistance is faintly cyan. Explain this in LCD? Not OLED or AMOLED.

  3. Glenn Pearl
    October 1, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    How would you get JScreenFix downloaded to your TV set? I guess you would need to activate internet.

  4. Roderick Caesar
    April 13, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Does the fixes work on ips lcd displays on phones as well and do they get fixed permanently?

    • michae;l
      August 10, 2016 at 5:11 am

      can u watch a t show and it go away

  5. Anonymous
    July 3, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    i play games and my ui got stuck in my screen, very annoying

  6. John B
    September 18, 2013 at 12:01 am

    @Victor Ong:

    LED televisions are still LCD. In fact, the full term is LED-LCD. Instead of using a standard backlight, the liquid crystal is fed light from LEDs. So, all of the information in the article pertaining to LCDs will still pertain to your "LEDs" in question.

    I hope this helps!

  7. Keith Swartz
    March 27, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Good read! Good to know! Thanks.

  8. Victor Ong
    March 26, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    What about LEDs?

  9. vineed
    March 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    wow this is some thing new to me...thanks for adding to my knowledge :)

  10. macwitty
    March 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks!!! Maybe we can fix our old laptop where a "ghost" have moved in. At least it is worth a try

  11. Adrian
    March 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Really good article, I didn't think modern TVs suffered from a version of screen burn.

  12. Scott M
    March 26, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I still use screensavers and only use my plasma TV for movies so I think I'm safe.I worry about people leaving CNN and its crawl on all of the day.

  13. Ken Gaming
    March 26, 2013 at 7:57 am

    LOL watched CNN for too long

  14. Kirby
    March 26, 2013 at 4:17 am

    So that means screen savers are still useful even in this age of LCDs and plamas for those unanticipated moments when we leave our TV or computer for too long.