There’s really no justice in this world. You spend a month’s income on a brand-spanking-new LCD television or shiny new laptop, only to find several months later that there’s an odd little speck of something that won’t come off: dead (or possibly sleeping) pixels.
True, most people won’t notice. Your spouse is annoyed that you keep talking about it. Though it could, quite possibly, send you into the crazyhouse, take heed of these DIY fixes for that bad boy in the name of your wallet and your sanity.
A dead or “stuck” pixel on your screen is a spot that is either always lit or always dark. This usually happens because the liquidy goodness in that television (hence the name LCD, or liquid-crystal display) has built up too much in a certain part of your screen like a clogged artery. Usually, this can be fixed, and it should certainly be expected in a TV or computer monitor “made” of liquid.
If your pixel is dead, there’s no bringing it back, much like dead…anything, really. But if it’s just stuck on an off-color, massaging it gently with your fingers (your pinky is a good choice) has proven effective for many.
- First, turn your TV to an all-black or all-white tone, to properly identify the miscreant pixels.
- Wrap your finger inside a washcloth or piece of clothing.
- Apply pressure as directly as you can to avoid squashing working pixels nearby, but, of course, don’t push so hard you puncture the TV; we doubt that’s covered under your warranty.
The related tapping method is also a possibility; tap several times on the pixel lightly with a pen or Sharpie top (remembering to place some cloth between it and the screen first of course, to avoid the risk of permanently scratching the screen).
Sweat it out
So you know how people try to sweat their sicknesses out, sitting in their apartment-turned-sauna in sweatpants and a hat? There may just be something to this in the LCD world as well. Though it’s not recommended to bake your laptop into oblivion (another thing that probably isn’t covered in your warranty), getting the juices flowing behind that screen isn’t an altogether bad idea. Some report stashing your ‘top in an unventilated area helps. Set your computer so it doesn’t fall asleep, and close the computer partially. Now leave it alone, for several days if you have to. The combination of no ventilation and constantly being on might get things swirling in the right direction. Be warned, however – operating a laptop in such conditions could potentially pose a serious fire hazard, so it might be wise to keep a close eye on your machine during this procedure.
When in doubt…
Go for your warranty if all else fails. Some manufacturers have warranties that may allow for x number of pixels dead = replacement TV. It’s probably not that serious, and the definition of “defective” certainly varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but you might as well have it in your arsenal.
In the future
Before you freak out and start seeing things that might not be there, use downloadable software to determine where your wayward pixels are. Almost all screens have stuck and/or dead pixels. In fact, you can count how many you have with a nifty little application (OS X).
Even better, there is some software out there to help unstick those suckers. JScreenFix is one, with a Mac OS X widget called PixelFix out there as well. It’s unlikely that software can do the trick, especially if a more direct method has already failed, but there’s certainly no harm in trying.
NOTE: The software is circa 2002 and does not work properly or install on Snow Leopard.