What is it and how to resolve ghosting on the monitor

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Among the various settings to pay attention to when buying a monitor is the display response time, especially for those who want to avoid the famous ghosting on the monitor. This characteristic, which may seem confusing at first glance, basically represents the time it takes for screen pixels to transition from one color to another.

OLED screens have virtually instantaneous response due to the nature that each pixel is self-illuminating and is individually controlled, while LCD panels, including the popular IPS, take a longer time due to liquid crystal movement.

Monitors, TVs, and other display devices that rely on very long response times have a nagging artifact — called ghosting.

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What is ghosting?

Ghosting on the monitor is nothing more than the perception of a trail in moving images, very similar to the motion blur effect present in games. This image persistence resembles a ghost, which gave rise to the name ghosting.

The artifact is common in models that have a high response time, usually above 4 milliseconds (ms) — it is important to note that ghosting is not a defect, but a characteristic of LCD panels that bring high response time.

Because it is more visible on high-moving images, ghosting is one of the main problems for players, who are constantly moving objects on the screen at high speed.

Fortunately, there are ways to confirm that your peripheral has the effect, as well as some methods you can apply to reduce it.

How to test for ghosting on the monitor

It is possible to assess the behavior of your monitor and check for the presence of ghosting artifacts with just the cell phone — although they are not perfect, the results will be good enough to confirm the presence of the tracks — and the website UFO Test, the most popular tool used by specialized websites for monitor reviews.

The process is relatively simple, using the following steps:

  1. With the video signal exclusively routed to the monitor that will be analyzed, access the UFO Test Ghosting website
  2. Wait until the colored rectangle at the bottom of the website turns green and displays the message “*Ready”
  3. Open the phone camera and enter video recording mode
  4. Move the camera closer to the top of the site, in the text region, then tap and hold so the focus is fixed
  5. Bring the phone down to the test region and then take it from one side of the display to the other a few times

You can check a practical example to better understand the process in the following video, recorded by the tool’s inventor:

It is important that, while moving, the white lines that travel through the black bands between each band of flying saucers appear vertical — this ensures that the images are in sync with the camera, and ensures the accuracy of the test.

In the ideal scenario, the images of flying saucers should be as sharp as possible, with minimal presence of tracks or even inverse ghosting, the presence of a whitish track resulting from the exaggerated application of one of the techniques to correct ghosting.

How to fix ghosting

There are numerous factors that can influence the presence of ghosting in the image and deserve a check: the video cables connection, which needs to be well fixed; the application of “cinematic” motion filters in TV settings; updating video card drivers; update rates, especially low; and even proximity to panel objects.

Some monitors, in particular gamer models, also offer the Overdrive feature, which speeds up the panel to reduce response times and consequently alleviate or even eliminate ghosting when there is a good implementation of the function. You can turn on and adjust the intensity of Overdrive in the monitor settings menu.

Monitors with little-worked Overdrive solutions can present the aforementioned inverse ghosting, so be aware of the intensity of the resource — the inverse artifact is more common to happen when more intense profiles are applied. Also pay attention to the different names used by manufacturers to refer to the function, including:

  • overdrive (ASUS and HP)
  • Advanced Motion Acceleration — AMA (BenQ)
  • response time (Dell, LG and Samsung)
  • response time compensation
  • movement acceleration

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