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August 13, 2017

Samsung’s TV Warranty Suggests Limiting Your Viewing of Certain Stations/Programs or Else!

Filed under: Business,Electronics,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 1:28 pm

While reading the warranty for a recently purchased Samsung HDTV, MrConsumer did a double-take reviewing one particular section.

But first, you have to understand a little about the screen dimensions of high definition televisions vs. the old-fashioned cathode ray tube ones. Old TV screens were more boxy — almost close to a square. They were 4:3 perspective. That is, left to right, the screen was only slightly wider than it was high. High definition television screens are usually 16:9 — much wider than high — more like a movie screen.

If you watch a standard definition TV channel, or an old television show that was not shot in high definition, you usually see black bars left and right of the picture:

black bars

Those programs are in 4:3 format and when viewed on a 16:9 screen, there is space left over on the left and right — thus the black bars. In some cases, if a program was only produced in HD, but you are viewing it on a standard definition channel, you will see black bars on all four sides of the picture.

Now back to the Samsung warranty. In its own separate section of the warranty, Samsung warns purchasers not to spend more than 5% of their TV-watching time viewing standard definition programs or channels! What? A TV manufacturer is telling users what they can and cannot watch on their own TV?


Samsung 5% warranty warning

The warranty actually says that you shouldn’t watch standard definition programs and channels (unless you stretch and distort them to fill the screen) for more than 5% of the time each week. That means if you watch 20 hours of TV a week, you can’t watch more than one or two episodes of your favorite old shows a week without potentially voiding part of your warranty.

The problem, they say, is “burn-in” — where something that is constantly on the screen and not moving causes the image to be seared into the display permanently. Think of the old pong video game where you had a white box on the screen for hours at a time. That could get burned in to the old cathode ray screens. The same problem exists for LCD and LED TVs apparently, but to a much lesser extent.

We asked Samsung why it manufacturers televisions that cannot support SD programs and SD channels in their original 4:3 format without potentially damaging the TV and voiding a part of the warranty? Here is their (non-) answer:

“Samsung is committed to the highest quality and most immersive TV viewing experience for all consumers. We provide customers with guidance to ensure the best performance of their devices. We encourage consumers to enjoy their preferred content on their TV while understanding the suggested ways to get the most out of their product.” –Samsung spokesperson

The spokesperson did note that the company offers a lifetime warranty against burn-in, but only on last year’s high-end SUHD line, and this year’s premium QLED line.

We also wondered if other manufacturers were cautioning viewers to limit watching standard definition TV. Sure enough, on LG’s website, they have a similar warning:

LG burn in

So kiss goodbye your old episodes of “I Love Lucy” and “All in the Family” as well as watching the entire array of standard definition channels, like 2, 4, 5 and 7 for any significant length of time.

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  1. My husband has been telling me those things for years and I thought he was nuts. He also told me not to let an image stay on pause for a long time or it would do something to the screen.

    Comment by Nancy Sing — August 14, 2017 @ 7:42 am
  2. Since you are to limit SD watching due to image burn in. And they also mentioned scroll bars and stationary logs. The scroll bars are on just about every news and financial channel out there. And those darn watermark logs on the screens in the same locations when they broadcast. . Does this we we should limit our viewing to 5% a week on these channels too. Good bye FOX, MSNBC, CNN, FNN, TWC, because of their scroll bars. And not watching any channel that puts their watermark logo on the screen, there going almost all the rest. Best of all with all the less television watching you will be doing now, your 5% of the time got reduced even more. Looks like you buy a new TV, you have a new room decoration which you can not use.

    Comment by Joseph — August 14, 2017 @ 8:40 am
  3. Looks like we’re being encouraged to leave the TV off, lest we somehow void part of the warranty by actually using it. Aren’t there laws about reasonable use?

    Comment by Shawn — August 14, 2017 @ 9:44 am
  4. Well, at least there haven’t been any reports (yet) of the TVs exploding or burning, like their washing machines and their phones!

    Comment by Sunny H — August 14, 2017 @ 12:01 pm
  5. The problem comes from a lack of design effort on the part Samsung to address those conditions.

    We purchase, as a courtesy, a significant number of TV sets for inclusion in our RV business. As a direct result of those and similar games, we advise clients to avoid Samsung products.

    If they insist on Samsung we give them a list of retailers and a price on installation that comes without ANY warrant except what is offered by Samsung & the selling dealer.

    Comment by WhyMeLord — August 14, 2017 @ 12:30 pm
  6. Burn-in can happen to ALL LCD/LED TVs, doesn’t matter what the brand is. I know that it is the ‘in thing’ to hate on Samsung but shouldn’t you be glad that they spelled it out in the warranty?

    Comment by gert — August 14, 2017 @ 2:43 pm
  7. Burn in happened on my old CRT tvs/monitors too, but it took years to even notice when the screen was off, and even more to notice when the screen was on. The way this is written implies it happens after one or two days of normal watching. What about the very top/bottom black bars that are often visible on dvd/bluray? Some movies are more than 2 hours long? Now I’m stuck taking a break to finish LOTR or a Harry Potter? Honestly they should include a pixel ‘test’ mode that will ‘recondition’ the screen by cycling all the leds through different colors and modes. It’s fun to watch on phones/tablets/monitors, it could be come the new tv screen saver!

    Comment by jt4703 — August 14, 2017 @ 5:26 pm
  8. I’ve never seen a TV screen with burn in so I do not know how prevalent this issue is among consumers.

    I suspect that other manufacturers have issues with burn in, so it is nice to see a manufacturer warn against and provide warranty for the issue.

    Comment by Wayne — August 16, 2017 @ 3:50 pm
  9. I can’t be the only one who remembers the early sales pitches claiming flat-panel technology was immune or more resistant to burn-in than CRTs.

    Comment by Joe Eee — August 17, 2017 @ 8:28 pm
  10. so i buy a samsung and watch only Hd channels that all have the watermark on them. the watermark burns itself into the tv will samsung tell me i should not have watched those stations and void my warranty.

    will the networks stop.putting thoses stupid logos there or will this end up in court when some pissed off consumer who bought a tv to actually watch it filed a lawsuit when a burn in occurs and samsung says tough luck charlie.

    Comment by rich w. — August 19, 2017 @ 6:33 pm
  11. I can’t help but wonder if they made some sort of a design trade off that made the burn-in issue re-emerge. I have LCD monitors that are over a decade old, which sit with a windows desktop showing on them and parts of it never, ever change. Consider the Start button on a Windows computer. Forever in the same place and unchanging. Have you ever seen a monitor with this burned into it? I haven’t.

    Comment by Artie — August 24, 2017 @ 2:02 pm

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