Professional Public Display monitors are designed to perform reliably for long periods of time. Commercial LCD screens are rated for their operating times with more expensive screens running for longer periods of time. NEC for example have monitor ranges that are rated for 12/7, 16/7 and 24/7 operation. Even displays rated for 24/7 use will benefit from a few hours downtime each day. Although there are few applications that actually require 24/7 operation there are some common guidelines that help ensure you get the maximum lifespan from your monitor whatever the application.
To start here are a few tips for keeping your monitor running trouble-free:
- Avoid static content. LCD screens are still prone to image burn if they are displaying static content for hours on end. This is a characteristic of LCD technology and is common to all manufacturers and screens. You should try to vary the content every few minutes to allow the screen to refresh. If your design does not allow for this try to build in some pixel shift so that every few seconds/minutes the frame moves up/down/left/right by a few pixels. This slight variation may be enough to stop a static image burning itself into the screen.Some monitors may have a IRFM (Image Retention Frame Motion) function that will move the image in this manner to avoid retention.Ultimately try to make use of moving text and images rather than static content as movement is the best way to avoid image persistence. It should be noted however that if you are showing static content for a long period of time, showing a short moving sequence for a few seconds will not be enough to counter the effects of the static image. When switching to moving content ensure that the sequence runs for the same amount of time as the previous static image. Image retention is not covered under warranty by most manufacturers.
- Keep within operating temperatures. Try to keep your screen well ventilated. Ambient temperature around the screen should be kept as low as possible. Avoid a build up of heat from static air or enclosed spaces. If you can keep your monitor operating at a comfortable room temperature it should last for many years. Ensure you keep your monitor free from dust to avoid internal heat build up. You should also avoid the opposite extreme of getting to cold. Condensation, or even frost, is obviously not good for electronics.
- Control the brightness. If your screen is located in a relatively dark area you do not need to run it with full brightness and backlight. Reducing the brightness of the screen will not only prolong the life of the panel but reduce the running cost and save money.
- Avoid high contrast imagery. As with static images, high contrast content can cause problem for LCD panels in the long term. White on Black text may look sharp but it creates a difference in the voltage between electrodes in the LCD which can accumulate over time leading to image retention on the screen.
- Avoid bright background colours. Bright screens use more power and are more prone to image retention. With an LCD a black screen is merely the absence of light so if you use black or dark colours for the majority of the screen you will be using less power and reducing the chance of image burn.
Even with all of the above in place it should be understood that a screen running 24/7 will inevitably age quicker than one running for just 8 hours per day. If possible you should use any power saving features of the screen. Leaving the monitor on, even with a blank screen, decreases the overall lifespan of the screen. Switching it off for a few hours a day can considerably extend the life of the screen. However over time non-uniformity of the backlight or image retention are common and not considered by many manufacturers as a defect if the panels have been exposed to continuous use.
Most of the monitors that we sell are rated for 50,000 hours of operation, which is over 5 years. Provided the screens are installed correctly, taking into consideration temperature, dust and content, you should get many years trouble free service from your professional public display monitor.