Monday, 10 August 2015

Do you have trouble with LED backlit screens?

I am one of the many people who do not get on with LED backlit screens. LED backlit screens are a relatively new phenomenon, introduced mainly because they consume far less electricity than the older CCFL types and CRT screens. Unfortunately for many people LED screens seem to cause a lot of health problems.

For me, the overly bright light from the screens causes pain inside my eyes and blank spaces in my vision, just as if I had been staring at the sun. After only an hour of LED screen use, this effect takes weeks to go away. This is politely known as "eyestrain". Other people apparently experience insomnia and mood changes.

Even more unfortunately, the industry has switched to making *only* LED backlit screens, long before the technology was ready to be used by everyone. This means that a large group of people are no longer able to buy a screen at all and are relying on old devices, while they wait for the industry to solve the LED screen problem.

I, for example am currently relying on:

                     - 5 year old phone, on its second battery,
                     - a 6 year old laptop (much repaired with parts from ebay),
                     - a secondhand CCFL apple cinema screen from ebay,
                     - I have no television, because I can't find one
                       that works for my eyes at all.

It's no longer possible for me to go to a shop and replace any of these items because only LED backlit products are available and I can't use any of them.

I was thrilled recently to see that someone on ebay is selling brand new CRT tvs again. So sensible!

It would be wonderful if the rest of the industry would step back a bit, and start selling the older CCFL screen technology. Even if they only did this for just for a few more years, while they get LED backlit screens working properly, it would be a real lifesaver for those of us who are currently excluded from the use of screen-based technology.

Screen-makers! We need your help. Please listen up!


Here are some tips that I have received:

It seems that Eizo do still make just one model of CCFL backlit monitor, although it's very hard to find that out because the backlight type is not specified on the web advert. The monitor is called DV2324-008. 

It is also possible to watch tv from a Humax box on a CCFL computer screen over a network connection by upgrading the firmware in the Humax box. This installs a samba server on the Humax box and allows it to be controlled remotely from the pc without having a tv set. We have set this up and it works. 

A friend has directed me to this BenQ Flicker-free technology white paper. I've no idea whether it is the flicker or the blue light that is the problem for me. I have done a lot of experiments to try to figure it out, but with no success so far. I suspect that the wavelength is at least part of the problem as I have the same trouble with undimmed blue LED backlit mobile phone keypads. 

For the technology luddites amongst us, John's Phone is a true classic. No LEDs in sight, standby time of three weeks. No text messaging unfortunately, or I'd be buying two right now.

TTFone produces nice, basic mobile phones with old school screens and user interface. The TT800 is the only one with non-LED screen and it instead has something called a Chroma screen, which I am waiting to hear more about.