burn in

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burn in

(1) To test a new electronic system by running it for some length of time. Although electronics can give out at any time, weak components often fail within the first few hours of use. For example, when a computer is built to order, it is often turned on and allowed to run for several hours before being released to the customer. See burn.

(2) (burn-in) The persistence of a faint image on CRTs, plasma and OLED TVs, all of which create a display by causing phosphors to glow. Also called "ghosting," burn-in occurs when static images are displayed continuously such as the logo of a news channel. The glass is actually etched with the color phosphors. Quite common on early computer CRTs, it also occurred on first-generation plasma and OLED TVs. Although burn-in countermeasures were later added, screens can still be burned if the same objects remain on screen for hours on end.

Burn-In vs. Image Retention
Although the terms "burn-in" and "image retention" are often used synonymously, burn-in is permanent, while image retention is temporary, and the image will disappear after some period of time. Even an LCD screen can develop image retention, which most of the time disappears if the device is turned off for several days. See CRT, plasma display and OLED.