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Tricks & Tips

Misbehaving Pixels

July 11th, 2008

Pixels are small dots of color on LCDs, or flat screens, that make up the big picture. The most annoying problem with new LCDs is that they often arrive from the factory with problems with one or more pixels:

· Dead pixels. These are pixels that are permanently set off (not emitting any light at all). They show up as black dots.

· Stuck pixels. These are pixels that are stuck emitting a single color (they appear as red, blue, or green spots).

· Hot pixels. These are pixels that are stuck emitting bright white light.

If any pixels on your LCD screen have any of these problems, you may notice a bright or black spot on your screen that either may not go away or may change over time.

Testing for misbehaving pixels:

· To test for stuck or hot pixels, use a partially black web page, or anything with a black background, and move it around the screen looking for red, green, blue, or bright or white spot.

· To test for dead pixels, repeat the same process with a completely white area (notepad works).

· Dead pixels cannot be revived, sadly. Stuck or hot pixels are another story.

A DIY solution
that often works is to use a program or web page specifically meant to cycle every pixel through their color variations very quickly. This often has a tendency to jolt a stuck pixel back to life.

Pixel problems don’t bother you? Enjoy! If you do discover problems, the LCD manufacturer often will replace the screen for free. However, some manufacturers have a “minimum dead pixel” policy. Samsung is one manufacturer that has a “zero dead pixel policy”.