Bad Pixels on a New Monitor

My roommate recently bought a new computer, and with it (separately) bought a new 19" flat screen CRT monitor with some nice-sounding specs. I forget the brand, but the monitor was on sale at Fry’s and happened to be the only unit in stock which wasn’t in a previously opened package. The monitor turned out to have a bad pixel.

Figuring that it was a bad batch (considering that every other unit in stock was probably returned), he returned the monitor for a refund and decided to go for something that should be better quality. He took his business to Costco and got this Princeton LCD monitor, which looked like it was going to be a very good deal for a pretty good quality monitor. Seemingly another stroke of bad luck, the one he bought had not only one bad pixel, but several.

Costco happily exchanged it for another one of the same type, but that one had yet another bad pixel. This time it was only one, but a small defect is still a defect, isn’t it? So, upon returning to Costco again for another exchange, he planned to ask that he could test the next monitor before taking it home to avoid yet another trip back to the store.

Instead, he was informed that the manufacturer considered up to three bad pixels to be acceptable for LCD monitors, so Costco would not exchange it for another one. He decided to just return it for a refund and is now using the monitor from his old computer while he considers his next course of action.

My previous experience with bargain-basement monitors has never turned up a single bad pixel, much less three. Has my roommate just been abnormally unlucky, or are bad pixels really so common nowadays that the industry expects consumers to accept not just one, but up to three bad pixels on a brand new monitor?

I haven’t heard of a CRT with a bad pixel in a long time. With LCD monitors, though you do end up with the occasional bad pixel; guarenteeing no bad pixels on all LCD monitors would drive the price up significantly.

Each maker states that a certain # of dead LCD pixels is “acceptable” (to them). Some makers have better standards than others. Find out first what a maker’s standard is, and that will also give a Big Clue as to the quality of the brand. I am surprised that they took your returns.

In addition to warped dimensions my KDS 19 inch CRT has a bad pixel just below the center. I guess there is a reason why going with the cheapest product on the market is not always a good idea.

Well, I also have a cheap KDS 19 inch flat CRT, and it has no flaws that I can see.(Well, didn’t when I purchased it; due to my own stupidity the screen got scratch when I hauled it in the car’s trunk.)

A CRT should have no flaws - an LCD will likely have some - LCD panels it’s very difficult to create, are impossible to test before final completion, and you can’t “swap out” anything broken like you can on a CRT.

If you’re buying an expensive laptop or something, salesppl will likely let you look at a couple if you’re sure you’re buying one, but I doubt anyone’ll let you look through dozens looking for the “perfect” screen.

They will if they want my business…

No way would I spend HUF 120,000 or more on a flawed product. Better to pay more for a better quality screen or wait for the prices to come down (I read somewhere that manufacturers are preparing to virtually phase out CRT production in favour of LCD technology over the next couple of years or so) and quality standards to improve…

A quick Google search yielded a lot of complaints posted in forums about the “bad pixel policies” of manufacturers (especially Apple) but some apparently (Philips, for one) offer a replacement even if only one pixel is dead. I can’t envisage this policy of stipulating an “acceptable level of shoddiness” surviving for very long.

“that a certain # of dead LCD pixels is “acceptable” (to them).”

Sometimes they are alive, they are just stuck pixels.

CRTs don’t have pixels. If you have a dead spot on a CRT it’s probably due to a defective shadow mask (maybe a hole didn’t get punched properly). I’m surprised this wouldn’t get caught before the tube is assembled, though. I’ve never seen a CRT with a bad spot, though, and I’ve owned and used many.

My experience with LCDs has been somewhat less favorable; while both my laptops have no problems, I’ve purchased three non-laptop LCD screens, one of which (a Mag) had a bad pixel. Since Mag considered anything less than 4 bad pixels “acceptable”, and I didn’t want to get into that whole can of worms with a register person at Best Buy, rather than exchange, I just returned the screen and bought another.

I remember reading an article somewhere on the net comparing the “dead pixel policy” for several different brands.

I’ll try to dig it up because it’s quite illuminating to see the internal processes that the companies use to decide what’s a defect and what’s not.

The first two laptop computers I bought (one a Zenith ZNoteFlex and the second a WinBook) both had two bad pixels. I exchanged the Zenith at the CompUSA store from which I bought it. I had to exchange the WinBook via the mail (but WinBook paid for the shipping). The replacement for each laptop had a perfect screen–no bad pixels. When I bought my third laptop (another WinBook) I asked them to verify that it had no bad pixels before they shipped it to me. When it arrived, the screen was perfect.
I’ve read articles that explain how difficult LCD monitors are to manufacture, but that doesn’t justify my paying full price for defective merchandise. Also, once you know the bad pixels are there, they can really stand out. I think that vendors will have to drop their “X-amount of bad pixels is acceptable” policy if enough individuals and businesses routinely return LCD monitors with bad pixels. In that case it might be cheaper for LCD manufacturers to have a quality control staff to test monitors before they ship. You know—like a real high tech group whose members can turn on the computers and see if they have bad pixels.

Thanks for the tip.

We checked Princeton’s bad pixel policy and noticed that they make a distinction between “bright” and “dark” bad pixels. According to their policy, 3 “dark” pixels are acceptable, but not any “bright” pixels (defined on the page). After reading this, we realized that the bad pixel fit the “bright” definition better than the “dark” one, so this monitor was in violation of Princeton’s quality standards. The employee who spoke to my roommate just asked about “bad” pixels and probably wasn’t aware of the bright vs. dark distinction.

Costco has a good return policy, so getting a refund wasn’t a problem. I doubt they wanted to dig through all the monitors to find one without any bad pixels, though. I’m also pretty sure that if they believed it was within the manufacturer’s standards, they would have just put it back on the shelf and hope the next person who gets that unit doesn’t care.

>I’ve read articles that explain how difficult LCD monitors are to manufacture, but that doesn’t justify my paying full price for defective merchandise.

It depends on your definition of defective. A brand new house can have splinters inside the walls without being defective.

I think the real problem is that a few bad pixels can be pretty noticeable (my laptop has one bright red one near screen center) and, regardless of what the industry and the fine print say, lots of consumers might be surprised that LCDs frequently have a few. Perhaps most LCDs have some.

BTW I agree with Scissors - CRTs don’t have pixels. At least, there are no physical entities associated with them, as there are on an LCD. On a CRT, pixels are spots you make on the screen by aiming the electrons that way - there aren’t separate little parts there. Now, a color CRT has a shadow mask with holes in it - but those holes aren’t pixels in the sense of being addressed by the computer (eg “1024 by 768 pixels”).

Never had a CRT with a bad spot either, except old oscilloscopes with a burnt spot in the center.

We’re talking about monitors here, which can be flat or not and can be Cathode Ray Tubes or Liquid Crystal Displays or other technologies. Much confusion in re the terms.

This is not absolutely true. Most CRTs do have separate red, green, and blue spots which are illuminated by said electron beams. A single red/green/blue triad would constitute a colored pixel. In practice at most resolutions several triads are illuminated for each “virtual” pixel, but the spot is still a single, individually defined picture element, even if it’s made up of three electron beams hitting a group of phoshor dots. A pixel is a picture element, and such a spot can properly be called a pixel.