Backlight Bleed: What Is It and How to Fix It

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backlight bleed
While the best ultrawide monitors or the best curved monitors can still have their problems, knowing what you’re up against is always good form. Especially for LCDs and systems that use LED backlights, problems can crop up in the most confusing or unexpected ways.

Notably notorious is something known as the backlight bleed. To understand more about this and to know more about a potentially easy backlight bleed fix, let’s start off with grasping the essential facts and then moving on to some more complicated discussion of what makes this happen.

What Is Backlight Bleed?

You might have seen this somewhere – let’s say on a public computer at a printing shop, or at your school or college, or maybe even someone’s office; patches of light strewn across the display for seemingly no reason.

What’s worse, the light seems to be of a ghostly origin. It’s like parts of the screen are brighter than others, as if a very bright light was reflecting on them, but there isn’t something causing the issue that you can see.

It can sometimes be in the pattern close to a plus sign or a cross, or it can be sporadic and random.

This is what’s known as the backlight bleed. This is when the backlight essentially escapes the panel in places, making brighter areas crop up and appear on-screen. The light wraps around the edges having come up from behind the glass and not only does it look terrible, but it can also be a huge problem for gaming.

Backlight Bleed Explained

Why does backlight bleed exist, however? The usual suspects are often issues that arise during the design or manufacturing phase, either from the get-go or from a lack of quality control that has resulted in faulty pieces that are now in your possession.

This also explains why the problem can be found in either IPS, TN, or VA panels, as long as the monitor is LCD. The extremity varies from each product to another, however, instead of between models and panel type.

Of course, since it’s a question of black uniformity, there are also cases where it’d be more noticeable to the naked eye than in another room on another day.

Hence, washed-out images, inaccurate colors, and a general strain on your eyes are all good ways to detect if your backlight bleed is serious enough to consider replacing or returning your monitor. Your mileage may vary, however, as backlight bleed is a problem with LCDs that most people have come to expect and endure, even on the best OLED TVs.

Backlight Bleed VS IPS Glow

A common backlight bleed fix that people parrot is to spring for a high-quality IPS panel (IPS stands for in-plane switch). However, IPS monitors bring with them their own problems – most specifically, something called the IPS glow.

The IPS glow found in IPS monitors is similar to a backlight bleed and the terms can often be used interchangeably by people who don’t know better.

The fundamental difference here is the viewing angle. The IPS has a glow to it that can be seen manifesting at certain angles, and it goes away once you change your viewing angle.

It’s considered to be a side-effect of having an IPS panel, and the genuine fix to it is to not have an IPS panel. Interestingly, both defects are considered inevitable and immovable to some end.

Secondly, the backlight can bleed in from anywhere, whereas the IPS glow is “confined” to the corners and is usually observed as having an orange hue or tint.

Recommendations For A Backlight Bleed Fix

A homemade remedy that you’ll come across on forums is to carefully note where the backlight bleed happens, take the bezel off your LCD and apply electrical tape to the areas you noticed it.

However, in most cases, you should be able to notice the backlight bleed right away and can claim the warranty or return the whole thing straight away. This should be the first line of action as anything else can void your warranty.

If the time is gone and so is the quality of your monitor, however, it’s good to be able to apply a quick backlight bleed fix by yourself.

The first step should be to loosen the panel a bit. The screws holding the frame in place can be untightened slightly – but only slightly – and then the difference noticed. Essentially, this is to unwarp the display.

However, it could also be a case of the display being “out of place”. When it doesn’t sit comfortably in the right and proper spot inside the frame, extra light causes backlight bleeding. Slightly twisting the display frame after the screws being loosened should be your next step if a simple untightening didn’t work.

Lastly, take the help of a microfiber cloth if these two steps didn’t work (nor the electrical tape): gently rub the affected areas with a microfiber cloth (lightly in a circular motion) to ensure that the display is completely flat, unobstructed by dust and grease.

Preventions To Keep Backlight Bleed Away

Finally, three quick tips: keep your monitor at a low brightness, preferably as low as you can without having to squint. Not only is this cool on the eyes, but it also slows down the process of your monitor degrading with time, as well as lessening the intensity of any backlight bleed that’s already present.

It’s also good to turn your monitor completely off once in a while, or as often as you can. Switching it off gives it rest instead of light being fired constantly at the screen, which also saves you from a host of other problems, such as image retention.

Lastly, physical strain on your monitor is a strict no-no. Anything can happen when hitting or banging a monitor around and about.

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