You Asked 11: throwing shade on OLED, TVs vs. PC monitors

On today’s episode of You Asked: Who else wants a big, dumb TV? Can sunlight damage your OLED TV? Why do TVs and monitors look better at the store than at home? And, a recurring favorite: TV vs. PC monitor?

OLED shade

Aerial view of an underwater waterfall near Mauritius on a Sony A95K OLED.
digital trends

Sanders asks: As a Sony A95K owner, should I be concerned about direct sunlight damaging my TV over time? I’ve read some sources that say this may be a thing for OLED in general. My TV gets maybe two hours of direct sunlight a day. I usually close my window blinds, better to be safe than sorry. But if I don’t need it, that would be even better. have a nice day.

you too have a nice day! Have a nice, sunny day. But what about your OLED TV? How long is it okay to sunbathe for A95K?

This sent me down a real rabbit hole. Do a search on this topic yourself, and you’ll see lots of people on forums and information sites claiming that sunlight affects OLED screens.

Unfortunately, no one was citing an actual source for this information, so I started looking for scientific studies. I specifically found one that showed that direct UV radiation was seen to reduce the luminescence of OLED panels – but the paper did less to describe in layman’s terms how to solve the issue. More information was given about what the actual conditions of the study were.

On Sony’s website, it casually reads, “Keep the TV out of direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can change the characteristics of your TV screen and may appear as non-uniformity. But, maybe Sony is just covering its tail.

Still, I’ve seen enough to believe that exposure to direct sunlight can be a risk for OLED TVs. But… what kind of performance? What kinds of circumstances create that risk?

As far as I can tell, the damage is caused by heat generated by exposure to the sun. Black materials absorb more light, thus converting more of that light into heat.

But what I don’t see discussed is how direct the light should be. I also don’t see any information about whether it’s UVA or UVB light, or both, and I also don’t see any information about how long or frequent the exposure has to be to cause harm.

I was somewhat relieved to learn that it was mostly UVB light that caused the problem since home windows filter out most of the UVB light, but only 25% of the UVA light.

So, yes, there’s a lot I don’t know. But I know that it is the heat that causes the problem, and I also know that the heat produced will be directly related to how direct the sunlight is. I would be more concerned if your TV is having direct sunlight through the window, rather than if the light is diffused into the room through the window. If it’s afternoon, the sun probably isn’t shining directly into the window. But it depends on what direction your window faces, and how tall the houses or trees are in your area, I think the A95K could get direct sunlight when the sun is low on the horizon. If it’s really direct sunlight, I’d probably draw shades to be safe. But you can also try to find out how much heat is being generated by leaving the windows open, and after being in the sun for about an hour, go and check how hot the screen is. If it’s very hot, you probably shouldn’t let the sun hit the screen. If it’s not even really hot? I would worry less, but, again, is it worth the risk? I have to let you decide.

showroom shine

A couple shopped for a TV at a retail store.
Eurilux/Getty Images/Eurilux/Getty Images

Shawn writes: There are always things on display in the showroom. Those videos look very lively there. Everything is vibrant, spontaneous and colorful. But at home, I haven’t been able to recreate that. I use Gigabyte M32U.

Can you explain this a little? What matters most? Resolution? frame rate? bit rate? file format? Panel technology?

I’ve been hearing this question a lot lately. “It looked so much better at the store! Why don’t I see him at home?” I think you’re asking about monitors, but this is true for both monitors and TVs.

I think there are two factors at work here. One of these is to link the lighting conditions in the store with the settings of the TV or monitor. In most large retailers, TVs and monitors are lined up next to each other under a flood of cool color temperature lights. Because it’s so bright, and because the color temperature bias in those locations is so great — meaning, it’s on the “cool” side of the Kelvin scale and has a lot of blue in it — TVs are usually kept in their vivid modes. Furthermore, the brightness is usually cranked up to the absolute maximum, while the white balance of those displays is also as cool- or blue-biased as possible. That’s the only way the screen can look good in those lighting conditions.

Those lighting conditions are not what most of us have in our homes. You can try the Vivid Picture preset on the TV or the Daytime mode on the monitor and see what you think, but I know a lot of people feel like it’s too harsh or harsh. This is because the TV becomes a super hot point-source of a lot of blue light, and it damages our eyes over time.

But most TVs also come with a power-saving Eco mode turned on by default. This is how TVs meet EU regulatory rules for power consumption, and in the US, this is how TVs can get really low power cost figures on the Energy Star label. To get the TV closer to the lighting you see in the store, you’ll need to turn off that eco or power-saving mode.

So, your best move is to turn off Eco Mode. Sometimes it’s hidden in the TV or monitor’s menus (and not always under picture settings), or under general settings. And once that’s done, choose a picture mode preset that you like. Those changes should make a dramatic difference. However, there is another factor as well.

Depending on which retailer you go to, it’s possible that they may be playing HDR content on those displays. This is what unlocks some of the contrast and color brightness these new HDR displays are capable of. And I wonder if you’re actually getting HDR content on your display. HDR on PC is an absolute mess. Additionally, picture settings and calibration are more taken care of at the signal level via the PC.

Anyway, there are tons of gorgeous HDR videos on YouTube. I like Phil Holland’s channel. Jacob and Katie Schwartz. Eugen Belsky’s stuff is amazing, as is Jennifer Gala’s – she also runs HDR Superchannel. Take your PC out of the mix, grab a Chromecast with Google TV or another cheap HDR-capable streaming dongle, plug it into the HDMI port, and watch some of those HDR videos and see what you think.

It’s not like TVs and monitors are on specials at stores and you’re buying fewer units. It’s a combination of display settings, environmental lighting, and the quality of the video on the screen that makes the difference.

dumb tv

Google TV home screen on Hisense UX.
Zeke Jones /

Ralph from Scotland asks: What’s the point for me to spend a lot of cash on, say, a 65 to 75-inch TV that I want to last for the next decade, but where the software will rarely be updated? Wouldn’t I be better off buying a really good low or medium priced unit and relying on the heavy lifting being done by a dongle that gets updated regularly?

This begs the question, is it really possible to find a good big screen TV that’s up to the task?

We feel you here. We’ve talked about whether a dumb TV would be a smart idea, and Very Many people like the idea of ​​buying a dumb TV and relying only on a streaming box or streaming stick that is easy to update or replace over time.

However, as things stand right now, no one is making dumb TV. Even the cheapest TVs now usually have some kind of smart TV system built in. Thus, not much of the money you’re spending is going to that smart TV system – they all have it anyway. No, the more you spend, the better the picture quality should be.

The only platform that comes close to allowing a “dumb TV” experience is the Google TV platform. I believe your best bet is to purchase a TV that has Google TV, and consider your preferences from there. Which one is more important? Size or picture quality? Because you can get a very big TV for very little money. But it is a very large screen so the picture quality is not that good. Or, you may put your budget into picture quality, but you may find that you have to choose a smaller screen. I always encourage people to find the sweet spot between size and picture quality because TVs with really good picture quality at larger screen sizes tend to cost a lot more. Very of money. Also, since you want this TV to last, I’d put some of that money into the solid build quality that usually comes with buying a higher-end TV.

TV vs PC Monitor

LG OLED Flex TV lg

A YouTube viewer writes: My son wants to install a 48 inch TV in his computer room. He wants to watch movies with the Fire Stick and play the Nintendo Switch. Should I buy an OLED TV or monitor? I would like to authenticate this in the future and get it 120Hz 4K.

I would say that, if watching TV and playing the Switch is the primary use right now, all day TV is the way to go. TVs have advanced picture processors that render TV, movies, and even YouTube videos better than a monitor when the source is something like a streaming stick or streaming box as opposed to a PC graphics card.

Also, as much as I cringe at how crappy TV speakers are, monitor speakers, if they have them at all, are usually pretty bad. However, I don’t know if parents like you can also bring a sound system for yourself, in which case audio is not a concern.

The argument in favor of a PC monitor would be if the PC were the primary source – especially if your child is going to be playing a lot of games in the ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio, or if they’re doing a lot of productivity work. Still, if you’re looking to get a 48-inch OLED TV, even with a 21:9 image with letterbox bars at the top and bottom, that image is going to be much larger. And, as I said, if TV, movies, and the Switch are the primary content watched, a 16:9 TV screen will be better off than dealing with pillar box bars at the edges of the image when using ultrawide. monitor. Just remember, TVs only come with HDMI, not DisplayPort connections. This may not be an issue, but I wanted to highlight it.

So, 48 inch OLED TV would be my choice. Well, a great option. I would recommend the LG C2 or C3. Or, heck, if you want to shoot for the moon and go broke, check out the LG OLED Flex — it’s like a TV/monitor hybrid with RGB lighting and the ability to have a curved or flat screen. I Love the thing is that.

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