This may not come as a surprise to regular OPM readers, but wee Meiksy has a serious problem. Admittedly, I’ve got many serious problems. A fact anyone who reads my monthly Meikle-hammering 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 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 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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