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One thing you may encounter when buying a new TV is poor color uniformity on a black background, also known as “dirty screen effect” or DSE for short. So what causes it? Is there anything I can do about it?

What is the dirty screen effect?

Dirty screen effect refers to the uneven appearance of a solid color, particularly gray, black, or white backgrounds on a display panel. It can affect anything with a modern thin screen, from TVs and monitors to smartphones and laptops. The effect is so named because it resembles a haze on the screen under the right conditions, as if the screen needed to be cleaned.

You can detect the dirty screen effect by using full screen solid colors on your TV. Under normal viewing conditions, you may only notice the effect in very dark or very light scenes. It may only be visible in a very dark room. Sometimes movement like camera pans (especially in solid colors, like the green field in a sports game) can make the effect stand out.