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A look into dead pixels- 2007
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on May 22, 2007

We start off assuming you know what a dead pixel and the ISO norm are. If this isn’t the case, you may first want to go to the next page before reading on.

Two years after our first article on dead pixels, we wanted to come back to the subject, partly to update the information, and also to take a closer look at defective pixels with the manufacturers themselves.

We sent them questionnaires asking them to spell out exactly what their policies are, if they were a little more lenient in practice, and also how many of their screens are affected by this problem.

This is something we wanted to delve into two years ago, but without success. Attitudes have indeed changed since and several manufacturers responded with credible information. We would like to take the opportunity here to thank Acer, Eizo, Iiyama, LaCie and Packard Bell for choosing to be more transparent.

Hyundaï also responded, however, we thought their answers were a little too optimistic.

So, we have something new. Manufacturers have answered about the real risks of dead pixels!
What percentage of screens are affected?
We asked manufacturers as well as a major on-line retailer, whom we promised confidentiality, and all we can say is that this is a significant number. The figures of this “secret” source should be trustworthy and representative.

  • Acer and Iiyama responded : less than 1 % of screens have defects – this includes all types. This means power source defects, etc.
  • LaCie and Packard Bell said : less than 0.05 % of screens have dead pixel problems. LaCie’s response is credible as their products are destined for professionals and are checked. Packard bell seemed to be a little too optimist, in our opinion, for a general public manufacturer...
  • Eizo, who checks their screens one by one before packaging, said : less than 0.01 % of screens are affected by dead pixels.

    Finally, our “mysterious informant” gave a figure of:
  • 3 to 5 % of returns on entry level models, all defects included. Dead pixels only represent 1 %, while the rest are due to backlighting and especially power source defects (for example noisy power supply ).
  • 0.3 % of returns of major brand names are due to dead pixels upon delivery.

    Obviously, they do not have the figures for dead pixels in the long term, because this is no longer their problem. We had to go directly to manufacturers for this info and they only indicate the number of screens that have this defect right out of the packaging. Either way, from our experience, this is quite rare.

    All info seemed rather coherent (except Hyundaï and Packard Bell seemed little too confident) and the real risk of dead pixels appears to be around 0.5 %.
    Should you take an optional dead pixel policy?
    Theoretically, no. A 22 inch screen generally costs around 400 euros. If 1 % are potentially defective, the cost of a fair warranty option should be 0.5 % x 400 = 2 euros. Most often, it’s twenty times this amount that brands ask for in offering this policy.

    Intentions of reassuring the buyer can sometimes go against manufacturers. After screens have been picked through by those who sign up for this option, this could mean that the left over defective ones are for those who don’t take this additional coverage. It can be illogical to believe that we (those who don’t opt for the policy) have more chances of getting a screen with dead pixels in stores.

    In the end, it’s better to have overall policies and particularly, those that are offered by on-line stores. On-line sales are protected by consumer laws (article L. 121-16), which give you seven days after you receive the product to make an exchange or get your money back. The seller cannot apply any penalties and you only have to pay the return postage fee. This is by far the best guarantee against dead pixels.

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