This may not come as a surprise to regular OPM readers (opens in new tab), but wee Meiksy has a serious problem. Admittedly, I’ve got many serious problems. A fact anyone who reads my monthly Meikle-hammering (opens in new tab) column will immediately see. This time, though, the issue ain’t rage. Oh no. This time, it’s TVs. More specifically, it’s a truly terrible obsession with the screen uniformity of modern HD tellies that’s coming close to ruining gaming for me. Come join me on this journey of wrong-headed neurosis, gentle readers. It’ll be ever so much fun. Alright, it won’t. But at least you can laugh at me.
Go on: guess how many televisions I’ve gone through in 2015 alone. One would be a sensible answer, right? Perhaps two if I’d been burgled or thrown a DualShock 4 through my screen in a fit of impotent Destiny fury. Man, I wish I were dealing with those sort of semi-sane numbers. But no. Instead, I’ve gone through five (FIVE!) different high-definition goggleboxes in a little over four months. What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?
Dirty Screen Effect: that’s the chuffin’ problem. Known as DSE among the obsessive videophiles who frequent AVForums at 2:37am on a worryingly regular basis, it’s a particular quirk that blights most LED/LCD sets. No doubt you’ve never even heard of it until now. Be grateful. In essence, it’s a problem with the backlight on most modern flat screen TVs not being evenly spread across the panel. I won’t bore you with the specifics, but in basic terms, it means you can see vertical streaks/blotches on the screen, which become particularly evident (at least to my Terminator eyes) in panning shots. And boy, do games ever love their panning shots.
I can now barely look at that brilliantly bleached San Andreas sky in GTA 5 (opens in new tab) without cringing. Every time I move the camera across God’s ceiling, all I can see are little blobs and lines on my screen. Well, five of my screens. Some cool kids know DSE as banding, but regardless, it affects the majority of TVs. I just can’t unsee it no matter how much I scrub my balls. Eyeballs.
FIFA (opens in new tab) is even worse. Matches are just one big continuous panning shot as you ping the ball up and down the wing. Singular blocks of colour – like a football pitch or, yes, the sky – make DSE stick out like a BBQ lover turning up to a vegan convention and hurling dirty great chunks of pulled pork in everyone’s faces. Instead of celebrating that 35-yard screamer Sanchez has hoofed in, all my insane eyes can do is focus on screen imperfections.
Which brings me back to my ‘special number’. Firstly, I had a Sony KDL-40W605B for seven months of last year, and everything was just dandy. Well, aside from the fact I can remember the model numbers on televisions like they were my non-existent children’s names. But then I decided I needed a bigger screen. So I bought then returned a Samsung UE48H6400. Twice. Damn you, DSE! Next it was a Sony KDL-42W829BBU, before I eventually decided OLED would solve all my uniformity woes, and dropped a horrible sum on an LG 55EC930V.
No woes were solved. The night before writing this, I noticed some blobs on the screen while playing The Last of Us. I’m now in the process of returning that set, too. DSE, I really wish you didn’t complete me.
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