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Old November 13 2011, 02:20 AM   #1
Spot's Meow
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Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

Hello all. There's a good chance I might be getting a new TV for Christmas and so I am trying to research what would be best for me.

Right now our main TV is a small 20" CRT. One reason I haven't upgraded sooner is that our living room is small enough that the TV size seemed adequate to me. Another reason is that the HDTVs I have come across tend to give me terrible headaches. We actually own one LCD TV (fairly small) in one of the bedrooms, and we tried to use it as our main TV when we first got it, but after a couple of days I just couldn't take the headaches anymore and had to move back to the trusty CRT.

Watching the CRT has never given me headaches. But if I use an LCD computer monitor for an extended period of time (several hours) I do start to get the same type of headache as with the TVs. The problem with the TV is that the headache comes on after only about 10 minutes or so. I have not watched a plasma or LED TV long enough to know if they give me the same issues.

So, my question is, what would be the best purchase for my situation? Other relevant information is that we will be sitting about 6 feet away from the TV and I am a cheapskate, so I would not be willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money just for better picture quality.

Would LCD, plasma, or LED be best to keep the headaches at bay? What size should we get? Am I basically just screwed and have to deal with the headaches or live with my CRT forever? I know you all have the answers, please enlighten me.
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Old November 13 2011, 02:21 AM   #2
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

I do not have the answers, and I am in fact wondering why an LCD screen would give someone a headache.
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Old November 13 2011, 02:26 AM   #3
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I do not have the answers, and I am in fact wondering why an LCD screen would give someone a headache.
After some Googling it seems that headaches caused by LCDs are not that uncommon, but of course no one really has any solutions other than to get their eyesight checked (which I have done, I have 20/20 vision with no eye issues) or to adjust the contrast and "get used to it."
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Old November 13 2011, 03:12 AM   #4
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

LED is LCD. It just uses LED's for the backlighting. As for what to get, only you can determine which ones give you headaches. I suggest hanging out in an electronics store and try the different ones out. Buy the one that does not give you a headache.
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Old November 13 2011, 04:29 AM   #5
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

sojourner wrote: View Post
LED is LCD. It just uses LED's for the backlighting. As for what to get, only you can determine which ones give you headaches. I suggest hanging out in an electronics store and try the different ones out. Buy the one that does not give you a headache.
Yes, I know that LED is LCD, but I figured that you guys would know what I meant, since most people just call it LED now it seems.

Obviously being able to "test-drive" different TVs would be great, but I hardly have the time to sit around watching TV shows in electronics stores, and who knows how that setting would differ from my own living room. I'm just curious to know if anyone here has had a similar experience to mine and found something that worked better.
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Old November 13 2011, 06:28 AM   #6
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

You did say it took only about 10 minutes for a headache to start. If we have to add in your living room as a factor, then you really may be SOL.
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Old November 13 2011, 06:47 AM   #7
RobertVA
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

Spot's Meow wrote: View Post
Hello all. There's a good chance I might be getting a new TV for Christmas and so I am trying to research what would be best for me.

Right now our main TV is a small 20" CRT. One reason I haven't upgraded sooner is that our living room is small enough that the TV size seemed adequate to me. Another reason is that the HDTVs I have come across tend to give me terrible headaches. We actually own one LCD TV (fairly small) in one of the bedrooms, and we tried to use it as our main TV when we first got it, but after a couple of days I just couldn't take the headaches anymore and had to move back to the trusty CRT.

Watching the CRT has never given me headaches. But if I use an LCD computer monitor for an extended period of time (several hours) I do start to get the same type of headache as with the TVs. The problem with the TV is that the headache comes on after only about 10 minutes or so. I have not watched a plasma or LED TV long enough to know if they give me the same issues.

So, my question is, what would be the best purchase for my situation? Other relevant information is that we will be sitting about 6 feet away from the TV and I am a cheapskate, so I would not be willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money just for better picture quality.

Would LCD, plasma, or LED be best to keep the headaches at bay? What size should we get? Am I basically just screwed and have to deal with the headaches or live with my CRT forever? I know you all have the answers, please enlighten me.
I wonder if it's the LCD itself or the florescent back light. Does florescent lighting ever cause similar problems? Do you watch TV in a dark room, and if you do have you tried turning on a lamp or two? If you are operating lighting in the room is it florescent. incandescent or LED? With the LCD displays or TVs have you tried both interlaced and progressive scan? With the LCD on the computer display have you tried different vertical refresh rates? Do you experiance headaches when you watch a film in a movie theater (or been to one like the newer IMAX ones that use digital projection)?
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Old November 13 2011, 08:01 AM   #8
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

LCD's can't change refresh rates. It's either 60, 120, or 240 depending on how new the lcd is. The higher the better.
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Old November 13 2011, 01:04 PM   #9
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

Refresh rate of the screen shouldn't be perceivable at all AFAIK. It might be the frequency of the backlight, or the frame rate of the film, or an inconsistency between the refresh rate and the frame rate that causes stroboscopic effects, or it might be a purely psychological condition.

So I'd consider the following before buying:
1. Flickering of the the backlight: For any modern monitor it should be impossible to perceive in almost any condition by any human. To exclude it as a possibility, test by adding fluorescent lighting to your room and experiment. If you have time to waste, test different placements, different objects to look at, and also test purposefully cheap lights that do flicker. If something gives you a headache, to rule out a psychological effect make sure you test the same thing without the fluorescent light and without knowing that it is missing.
1a. Try writing text for an extended period of time using white text on a black background. This should decrease the already non-existing flicker.
2. Film frame rate: Well, if cinemas don't give you a headache, you can rule that out. Still, go see some 3D films, preferably ones with many panning scenes. Those things exacerbate the effects.
3. Frame rate/refresh rate mismatch: Do looking at still images, typing on forums give you headaches? You said that on the computer it takes a longer time to get a headache – did you watch any videos online when it happened? Try writing a book for an extended period of time. No videos, no moving objects. Just the text.
3a. You could also test various settings with films with panning scenes, lot of movement and stuff. My headaches decreased when I switched from texturized video to overlay video on my Intel video adapter, but that's specific for a given hardware and operating system, and it was due to a bug that TVs should not have.
3b. Gaming with vsync enabled should eliminate the effect for games, so they can be a clue.
4. Try to convince yourself that the LCD TVs don't give you headaches, see a psychologist or something. I don't know how you deal with these things, self-convincing has worked pretty well for me so far, although it took years.

Last edited by YellowSubmarine; November 13 2011 at 02:06 PM.
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Old November 13 2011, 01:55 PM   #10
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

I hope this LCD fad goes away, as it gives me headaches.

Sorry, but it's highly probably not the LCD that gives you headaches but the environment you're using it in.

Refresh rates are noticable when you have fluorescent lamps in your room, for example. Back problems and stuff like teeth grinding cause headaches, too.
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Old November 13 2011, 06:40 PM   #11
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

You should Google if the other types (plasma, etc.) have headaches related to them.

Even if there's no known reason, people will still discuss it somewhere.
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Old November 13 2011, 06:46 PM   #12
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

How about plasma instead? The downside is that it uses more power.
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Old November 13 2011, 06:57 PM   #13
Spot's Meow
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
I hope this LCD fad goes away, as it gives me headaches.

Sorry, but it's highly probably not the LCD that gives you headaches but the environment you're using it in.

Refresh rates are noticable when you have fluorescent lamps in your room, for example. Back problems and stuff like teeth grinding cause headaches, too.
Then why does my CRT in the exact same environment not bother me? And I know the difference between these headaches and regular headaches, they feel noticeably different. The headaches from LCDs feel more like eye strain headaches, even though my vision/eyes are perfectly fine.




You guys have given some helpful information (well, some of you ). I DO in fact get headaches from 3D movies, which is why I don't go see them anymore, and from flourescent lighting, as well as reading text on an LCD screen for too long (like the Nook Color). Obviously all of these things are related, I'm just not sure still what kind of TV would help prevent it. To those of you acting like this is some sort of crazy psychological problem specific to me, why don't you do some searching on the topic and you will soon realize that it is a very real issue that many people have experienced.
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Old November 13 2011, 08:32 PM   #14
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

It still sounds like your best bet will be to sit in front of examples of the different types and see how they effect you. Better to spend a half hour or so doing this than to regret a large purchase that gives you headaches.
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Old November 14 2011, 12:28 AM   #15
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Re: Purchasing an HDTV When LCDs Give Me Headaches

sojourner wrote: View Post
LCD's can't change refresh rates. It's either 60, 120, or 240 depending on how new the lcd is. The higher the better.
...but ALL high-def content is 60 fps or under so it doesn't really matter.
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