LCD manufacturers’ dead pixel policies explained

When looking for a new flat-panel monitor, one of the most important things to consider is the dead-pixel policy held by each company. These policies usually vary widely, so it’s worth doing some research. Or you could have the folks at Tested do the legwork for you with this article, which explains the rules popular LCD makers use to judge dead pixels and other display anomalies.

Apple ranks among the best in the industry with zero tolerance for any sub-standard pixels on its iPod and iPhone screens. The Mac maker is also more willing than most to replace a display with only a few problems, although if the replacement also exhibits defects yet remains within spec, don’t expect a second one. HP stands tall behind its monitors, too. You can swap a screen if so much as one pixel dies completely, and six or more defective sub-pixels qualifies a display for replacement.

Not all vendors are so generous. Dell holds the opinion that it takes at least six dead pixels to earn a replacement, although its premium monitors are covered by an additional guarantee. That premium pact entitles you to a new monitor if even one of your display’s sub-pixels is stuck bright.  HP also holds some of its more expensive displays to a higher standard than more mainstream models.

Reading the article, I’m amazed at that wide range of standards used by the major display vendors. Life certainly would be simpler for consumers if there were one universally accepted definition of a "bad" panel.

Comments closed
    • dashbarron
    • 9 years ago

    I bought an Ultrasharp from Dell about 6 years ago now and it’s still working without a dead pixel. I bought a Dell because the monitor tilted, swiveled, and rotated which even now seems to be hard to find on a lot of monitors; at the time the Ultrasharps were rated pretty high too, although I don’t know if people still think the world of them or not.

    • stdRaichu
    • 9 years ago

    Because, in the UK at least, there won’t be a lawsuit (unless the retailer is stupid). The monitor will just be replaced. Retailer tried to tell me that three dead pixels didn’t meet their criteria for “faulty” or “not fit for purpose” but mention the sales of goods act and local trading ombudsman and they start to take you seriously. In the UK, your contract is with the retailer, not the manufacturer, and they’re legally culpable if your goods fail.

    It’s a horrible page, but it’s got a concise description of your consumer rights: §[< http://www.monikie.org.uk/yourrights.htm<]§ Edit: reply fail, should have been a response to 29/Firestarter.

    • clone
    • 9 years ago

    I buy and sell a few displays every year, I’ve had a few that had dead pixels but call it luck or whatever out of all the displays that had the issue I’ve managed to fix all of them using the village logic fixes offered on the web.

    I’ve “massaged” 3 dead pixels back to life by pressing lightly and doing a circular motion around them and I’ve gotten 2 back to life by using an app that flashes primary colors a cppl times and the pixels started working.

    I haven’t had a bad display in years and all of the ones that had issues were from 3 years ago or older.

    I may not even be noticing them now given how high res the displays are the ones I had trouble with were all pre 1080p displays most being 720p or lower and the 4:3 displays that had problems were 1024 X 768

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve not seen a dead pixel, ever.
    That’s over the course of maybe 1000 screens at the office and several hundred screens outside the office (TV’s, mobile phones, home PC’s etc)

    Do you have a large problem with dead pixels in the states? It’s practically unheard of over here in the UK

      • SHOES
      • 9 years ago

      I have had ONE acer with ONE stuck pixel never seen a dead one myself either.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Oh all my displays the only one I’ve ever had with a dead pixel was a garbage picked projector. in the bottom left corner. I’m a lucky man.

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    I prefer having different standards from different manufacturers. If we try to make everyone conform to a standard, the standard will probably be an average in order to be fair to everyone. That means we’ll have lower tolerance than six dead pixels in bad cases, but the good cases — zero tolerance — would be gone, too.

    • ztrand
    • 9 years ago

    There’s at least one nice thing about where I live: it doesnt matter what “policy” the seller likes, if it’s borked it’s borked. A single broken pixel means display is broken and gets you a warranty replacement. It’s the law.

    (of course they will try to screw you but if you persist you will win)

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      A single stuck subpixel on a consumer monitor is not something that you will win a lawsuit over.

        • ztrand
        • 9 years ago

        Probably not in the US no, thats why I said it applies where I live.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    And this is why I stick to my IBM CRT.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      me and you baby. crt ftw

      • Krogoth
      • 9 years ago

      CRTs suffer from burn-ins, filters failing (blurring), electromagnets failing (discoloration/screen distortion), EMI, cathode ray itself dying (loss of brightness).

        • plonk420
        • 9 years ago

        never seen burnin on any of /[

    • iatacs19
    • 9 years ago

    That’s why we need more density, then no one would notice dead pixels or sub-pixels. 😉

      • DancingWind
      • 9 years ago

      Thats one sollution.
      I have SM Galaxy S phone with a dead red subpixel in the middle of the screen – result azure pixel in white background but becasue of very high density (800*480 at 4″) I dont really notice it at all.
      Considering I’ll have to backup my phone, send it to repair and maybe in two weeks I’ll get it back .. bah .. unless something else will go wrong I wont bother with it.

    • Anomymous Gerbil
    • 9 years ago

    I’m not sure if I’mmissing something here, but how is it “zero tolerance” if Apple will “replace a display with only a few problems”? Zero tolerance means.. zero tolerance.

    And they won’t replace a second borked display? “Sorry, your first display was broken, so here’s a replacement broken display.”

    Doesn’t seem like such a great policy.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, but Apple is Apple.

      • ShadowTiger
      • 9 years ago

      Read the article again…

      mobile devices have no tolerance… non-mobile do not

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        They actually have the highest allowed, with requiring more than 16 dead pixels. it’s higher than everyone else. I’m not sure why that wasn’t pointed out. Instead we get a “zero tolerance policy” which in fact it isn’t. Not the best way to explain it!

          • sjl
          • 9 years ago

          It depends. For iPods and iPhones (and iPads, I think), they have a zero tolerance policy. For regular computer displays, though, their tolerance is (officially) much higher than other manufacturers.

          To be honest, though, even though I do like my Mac, I wouldn’t buy my display from Apple. They don’t have the sort of display I want (matte, high fidelity colour, that sort of thing) – and that’s before you look at their pricing. Competitive when a display is first released, usually, but hideously overpriced after a few months.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            Exactly my point. It is the highest on their other displays. I just think we shouldn’t say “Zero tolerance, wow amazing” when it’s not the reality.

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    i don’t understand why there are policies in the first place. if its not to you liking, return it and get a new one.

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    you did not talk about how horrible samsung customer service is even though they are one of the biggest LCD suppliers

      • BabelHuber
      • 9 years ago

      Samsung has good monitor support. They even sent me another monitor I could use while mine was in repair.

      But don’t count on rSAP working on Samsung phones, and don’t count on support. My phone didn’t work correctly in my Audi and Samsung refused to provide any support whatsoever. Back to Nokia now.

    • sjl
    • 9 years ago

    I can’t help but wonder just how many (as a percentage) newly manufactured panels suffer from dead pixels or subpixels. I also wonder how many suffer from always-on pixels.

    If the numbers are sufficiently low (and I suspect that they are), I would argue that it should be a zero tolerance policy – crank up the prices sufficiently to cover the losses on the bad panels, and it’s all good. If they’re higher, then okay, I’d be willing to pay a premium to guarantee myself a no bad pixel panel; somebody who’s less obsessed could pay a much smaller premium to guarantee a no stuck bright pixel panel; and somebody with a high threshold for pain could pay the base rate for “you get what you pay for”. As yield rates improve, the premiums can decrease correspondingly – rather like insurance; the statistics are better, so the cost drops accordingly.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Most people won’t notice or care. If they can knock a few dollars off and move more of them, then that’s what they’re going to do.

      Hell, I’m using a 6 year old monitor with a big scratch and a bunch of stuck pixels, but I never see those things just surfing the internets, and that’s all most people do.

        • Duck
        • 9 years ago

        A single stuck on pixel would irritate me no end. It’s all I would be looking at.

          • ludi
          • 9 years ago

          Depends where it is and what color it is displaying. I have a cheap 19″ PVA spare monitor that I got for a Black Friday special a couple years ago and use with my laptop a fair bit, and it has a stuck green pixel. It’s relatively far to the left and only visible when the screen is displaying something relatively dark. I do notice it when using that monitor but the distraction is not that bad.

          One stuck pixel in the center of the display, or two or more stuck pixels anywhere on the screen, would start to get weird.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 9 years ago

          Little things like that distract me easily, but I just can’t see them when I’m on the desktop or a browser. I can only tell they’re there if the screen is showing all black.

          My point wasn’t that they’re invisible or that I can tune them out if I do notice them, but that most things people do with computers will mask most screwy pixels.

            • Chrispy_
            • 9 years ago

            I haven’t cleaned my home pc’s screen in /[

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