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What is a stuck pixel?

In an era defined by advancements in screen technology, from OLED TVs to high-refresh-rate gaming monitors, the topic of screen anomalies like stuck pixels becomes increasingly relevant. Indeed, when you buy a shiny new screen or device, there aren't many more annoying things than finding defects that may impair your viewing experience. Despite the cutting-edge technology, many users report issues related to screen pixels that are either "stuck" or "dead". While the terminology is often used interchangeably, the conditions are distinct in both characteristics and remediation. This article aims to answer the question of “What is a stuck pixels?”. We'll also let you know what the differences between a dead pixel and a stuck pixels are, how to spot a stuck pixels, why they occurr and ultimately how to fix a stuck pixel.

A bit about pixels

As a preamble to undertsand what is a stuck pixel, you should understand what pixels are. A pixel is the smallest unit of a digital image or display. Pixels are the building blocks that collectively form the complete visual data you see on a screen. They can display a wide range of colors and their states — either "on" or "off" — are controlled by transistors. Pixels can sometimes malfunction, becoming either "stuck" or "dead," affecting the overall image quality. For an in-depth understanding of what a dead pixel is and how it differs from a stuck pixel, you can read more on our article on What is a Dead Pixel.

What is a stuck pixel?

A stuck pixel refers to a particular point on a display screen that is not rendering the correct color output. These pixels are called "stuck" because they are fixed on a specific color — either red, green, or blue —the primary colors used in display technology. A stuck pixel can be distracting and appears as a bright dot on the screen, creating a discord in the uniform color output of the display.

What are the characteristics of a stuck pixel

Understanding the distinct attributes of a stuck pixel can help in both identifying and resolving the issue. Here are the primary characteristics to consider:

Stuck pixels remain consistently bright

A stuck pixel will always remain illuminated, but what sets it apart is its coloration. Unlike other properly functioning pixels, a stuck pixel displays one of the three primary colors—red, green, or blue. This consistent illumination makes it easy to spot, particularly when viewed against contrasting backgrounds.

Stuck pixels can occur anywhere on the screen

Unlike other screen defects that are localised - such as LCD bleeding -, stuck pixels can occur anywhere on the screen and are not restricted to specific zones. Whether it's the corner of your display or right in the center, a stuck pixel is an isolated issue concerning only the individual pixel in question. Its location on the screen does not necessarily imply anything about the overall health or quality of the display.

Stuck pixels can be repaired in some cases

One of the more reassuring characteristics of a stuck pixel is its potential for repair. Unlike dead pixels, which are usually a permanent defect, stuck pixels often have a chance of being fixed. This fixability is because the issue often lies in a malfunctioning transistor that controls the pixel, rather than a complete absence of functionality. Various methods, ranging from manual techniques to software solutions, can often rectify a stuck pixel.


Test your screen for stuck pixels with DeadPixelTest.org

If you suspect you have a stuck pixel and wish to test your screen, you can use DeadPixelTest.org stuck pixel test to assist in identifying the problem. Running a dead pixel test on DeadPixelTest.org, the simplest way to check your screen for dead pixels. Pick one of the colors below to display it uniformly on your screen and check for any dead or stuck pixel. If you're browsing from a mobile device, use one of our video tests for dead or stuck pixels.

Test your screenVideo test for Smartphones


What is the difference between a stuck pixel and a dead pixel?

Discerning the difference between a stuck and a dead pixel is of paramount importance for appropriate diagnosis and potential subsequent treatment. Both conditions have unique characteristics, implications, and potential remedies. Here's a detailed breakdown:

Characteristics of Dead Pixels

Characteristics of Stuck pixels

A dead pixel is inactive

Unlike a stuck pixel, a dead pixel does not display any color at all and appears as a black dot on the screen. It is entirely unresponsive because it does not receive any electrical power, making it impossible for it to illuminate.

A stuck pixel is active but erroneous

A stuck pixel is a functioning but erroneous pixel that continuously displays one of the primary colors—red, green, or blue. The pixel remains active and continues to receive power, which is why it's possible to see it on the screen as a tiny bright dot of color.

A dead pixel is permanent

Dead pixels are most often a permanent defect with little to no chance of being repaired. The issue is generally due to a complete lack of electrical current reaching the pixel, rendering it inactive. This can occur due to manufacturing defects or due to wear and tear over time.

A stuck pixel is temporary (in most cases)

One of the key differentiators between a stuck and a dead pixel is the former's temporary nature. A stuck pixel isn't necessarily a permanent defect; it can often be corrected using various methods, ranging from software-based solutions to manual manipulation.

Causes for dead pixels

The underlying cause of a dead pixel is more severe compared to a stuck pixel. It's often the result of a complete absence of electrical current reaching the pixel. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as manufacturing flaws, damage to the screen, or degradation of the components over time.

Causes for stuck pixels

The root cause of a stuck pixel generally lies in the electrical current or the transistors that control it. These pixels are stuck in a "lit" state due to a malfunctioning transistor, which is unable to correctly manage the colors that the pixel should display.

What causes stuck pixels?

Understanding the underlying causes of a stuck pixel is essential not only for effective troubleshooting but also for taking preventive measures. Here are some key factors:

Manufacturing errors leading to stuck pixels

The production of LCD and OLED panels is an intricate process involving millions of pixels. Despite the stringency of quality controls, no manufacturing process can claim to be 100% flawless. During this phase, inconsistencies in electrical currents or slight misalignments can result in pixels becoming stuck. Manufacturers often have a "pixel policy" that outlines what constitutes a defect, including the number of stuck pixels acceptable for a product to pass quality checks.

Stuck pixels can result from longevity and wear

Screens are not designed to last forever. With time and continuous usage, electronic components within the screen start to degrade, increasing the likelihood of pixels becoming stuck. Older screens are generally more prone to this phenomenon.

External factors that can cause stuck pixels

Environmental factors like extreme temperature variations, high humidity levels, and even physical pressure can contribute to a pixel getting stuck. For example, screens exposed to very high temperatures may experience an increased risk of stuck pixels.

Software anomalies and stuck pixels

In some instances, stuck pixels can occur due to software glitches or outdated display drivers. These cases are less common but should not be ruled out when diagnosing the problem. Regular software updates can help in minimizing such occurrences.

Can you fix a stuck pixel, and how?

The possibility of correcting a stuck pixel depends on a variety of factors, including its cause and the specific nature of its behavior. Here are some popular approaches:

Gently massaging the stuck pixel

A direct but gentle physical approach involves applying slight pressure to the affected pixel area. Utilize a soft cloth and a blunt, rounded object to gently massage the stuck pixel. This can sometimes help recalibrate the malfunctioning components controlling the pixel.

Reviving a stuck pixel with flashing colors

Software-based methods like our dead and stuck pixel fix videos can prove effective in resolving the issue. These programs work by rapidly cycling through a sequence of primary colors, stimulating the stuck pixel and nudging it back into normal operation.

Fix your Stuck Pixels

Seekin professional help with warranty

When all else fails, or if you're not comfortable attempting to fix the issue yourself, seeking professional assistance is advisable. This is particularly relevant if your screen is under warranty. Manufacturers often have their own diagnostic tests and can provide replacement or repair as part of the warranty terms.