27" Screen bleed saga- actionable?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by apophasis, Jan 15, 2010.

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  1. apophasis macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    Hi all, first post here. [edit to add spacing- sorry all!] I am on my second i5 27"; the first had a big scratch in the glass and another _behind_ the glass. As I was setting up the replacement, I described the screen bleed I was seeing to the rep and was told that it was a defective screen, don't worry, the next one will be perfect.

    Next one arrived, and had similar issues, thankfully not as severe. I went to the local apple store and after a long negotiation persuaded the "geniuses" to take a 27" off the floor into a darkened back room so they could see what I was talking about. Which is:

    The screen bleeds light at the edges, irregularly. In a dark room, while trying to display solid black, the edges of the screen are hazed with white light. It's uneven, and is different between different units- So far I've seen three 27" iMacs in the dark, and they were very different- which brings up the point that the quality control in these is very inconsistent. My current unit is the best. The one in the Apple Store was the worst- terrible, in fact. And not only is the bleed there, but if you get slightly off-axis it becomes rapidly more intense, so that if your viewing angle is maybe 30 degrees to the right of center, the left half of the screen is pretty bright grey instead of black.

    The "geniuses" at the store said it looked terrible, and they thought it was defective. They said I could get a replacement screen, but I might get one that was worse than my current unit.

    I called Apple, and was told to send in a movie of the issue, and a capture data file from a program they sent me. I did so. Then, for nearly a month, the rep I was supposed to be talking with simply refused to return calls or emails. I can't help thinking that they were just running out the clock on my time to send this one back, but I don't know.

    I finally got with a rep who has been responsive and finally talked to engineering about it. She told me today that it's a feature of the technology. (I'd call it a bug, personally, a REALLY BIG HAIRY BUG, but whatever...) She said they'd send me a new one, and I said that there's no way I'm taking another one sight unseen because it looks to me like this is a lottery. So they're going to send a new one to my local apple store, and I can look it over in the dark before making a decision.

    However, based on my research, it seems that this is just how these displays are. If I had known this, I would almost certainly not have purchased this computer. Instead, I believed Apple when they said the monitor has a 178 degree viewing angle with minimum color shift. That is a huge misrepresentation.

    Now, I have a very expensive computer that I can't use in the daytime in a bright room because the screen is a giant mirror. Before getting this thing, I had no position on the glossy screen issue, by the way. Now, I understand the problem. This screen is difficult to use in bright light for any purpose, and is totally impossible to watch a movie on or do video editing work on, due to the reflections. So it needs to live in a dark room all the time.

    But in a dark room, if you are trying to watch a movie or edit video, or do any sort of graphic work, and you need to deal with dark content, surprise! The edges of the screen glow, and if you shift your head a little, the pattern changes pretty quickly and intensely. Is that a full moon rising? A fog rolling in? Dawn breaking? Oh, no, that's just that damn glow from my defective LED screen.

    Rather than the ultimate display I thought I was getting, I have a $2k disappointment that is actually optimal only in a narrow range of conditions with a narrow range of content, and is very problematic otherwise.

    I feel that Apple falsely advertised this display. Black is in the gamut, and should display perfectly. It does not. This monitor in fact has radical color (luminance) shifts with viewing angle whenever fairly dark content is displayed in a dark viewing environment.

    This looks to me like very fertile ground for a lawsuit. What say you?

    [Edit to add: I'm not contemplating suing Apple, thanks. I meant class action.]
  2. djcorrosive macrumors regular

    Feb 22, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm not even going to bother reading the "great wall of text"

    enter key is your friend
  3. JimKirk macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2009
    No point unless screen is yellow

    All lcds suffer from this. It is called spotlighting and is very common for LCDs. Google it.

    There are some worse than others. It will be a lottery
  4. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Have a few lottery replacements. If they can't get it right after 3 or so tries then surely they'll offer you a refund anyway.

    You can try and sue the crap out of them if you want. Sounds like a fun and productive use of your time. :p
  5. cmaier macrumors G4

    Jul 25, 2007
    I'm a lawyer, and I won't read it either. It makes my eyes hurt. :cool:
  6. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Indeed, I've never seen an LCD panel without some level of backlight bleeding. My i7 has very little in comparison to my prior 24" iMac.

    But judging by the tone and verbosity of the OP's rant he has plenty of time to file frivolous lawsuits so go for it.
  7. Sir Cecil macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2008
    Same old tactic by the anti-Apple brigade. Get a new poster to plant a "dissatisfaction bug" and watch it grow and grow and grow. Then a few additional newbie pals will show up to fervently stoke the fire for a couple of weeks, coming out with stuff like "Apple is covering this up and there isn't one 27" without this fault!" or "They've extended waiting time for orders to two weeks to correct this problem on the production line", or "Don't get a replacement, get a refund!" and, most importantly "Try this test". Then they sit back and laugh as the lemming-effect takes over. The trick is to find something that COULD be construed as a fault if brought to the attention of people. Better still, if there are genuine cases or batches of faulty items, these can be enlisted to help in creating a much wider perceived catastrophe. Mention of a "Class Action" in this scenario is a good ruse as it clubs the impressionable audience together in what they sense is a common good against the evil empire.

    It's actually a well-worn tactic in guerrilla marketing circles. Some companies allocate a substantial budget for such services. With the right approach, many thousands of a competitor's sales can be affected. Practitioners actually document their results and present them to their bosses, just like a reputable PR company compiles a set of monthly press clippings for its clients to show how many times they've inspired a newspaper or TV show to mention a product by name.

    One of the better examples of it was with a beauty product, where it was spread on forums that a woman had a particular skin reaction that was noticeable only under certain lighting that might be found at non-domestic venues. A few accomplices kept the ball rolling and soon hundreds of women joined in and reported that indeed, under specified lighting conditions, they too looked terrible, describing their looks in detail and sending in photos of spots and red cheeks. They were only too happy to believe their ugly imperfections were the result of a combination of the product and lighting. The blameless product was actually withdrawn eventually, but re-released without changes of any kind to anything but name. Since then, there has been not one such complaint.
  8. gospel9 macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2008
    Backlight bleeding is common though it should not be too significant. By that I mean you should not be able to see it outside of a dark static background.

    Unlike the "yellow screens", this isn't something I would be worried about; the bleeding, if any at all, are usually located in tiny corners of the display.

  9. Ecoh macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2009
    My iMac is very good displaying a dark screen in a dark room. I do most of my work in a dark room and have not been bothered by any noticeable bleed. The display has a slight yellow gradient though.
  10. Pachang macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    I love it how everyone's excuse for everything is "shut up dude every monitor is like that. Every monitor has some sort of yellow tinge. Every monitor has some sort of backlight bleeding" etc

    I'm on a 2005 apple cinema display which to me has no yellow tinge, no bleeding, no dark spots around the edges and is pretty much perfect.

    Since I want to know whether I'm just too ignorant to tell if my screen has problems or my screen really is just that perfect I go to an apple store. The first 27" iMac I find has no yellow tinge but it has an OBVIOUS backlight problem because there is a dark striation running horizontally on the bottom half of the screen. The next iMac I look at has a yellow tinge in the bottom right hand corner.

    I know 2 samples isn't big enough to make a meaningful statistical analysis but it is curious how apple seem to have gotten crapper at making their lcds over the years.
  11. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    My PVA iMac Core Duo 20" is perfect as well. I don't get any blackbleeding on it. I think it is the best display I've owned to date.
  12. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    I love it how comments get twisted. I don't recall anyone saying "shut up dude" in here much less "Every monitor has some sort of yellow tinge" although I may have missed it.

    I've seen some pretty darned good displays as well but I still contend the absolute perfect display does not exist.

    Apple doesn't make LCD panels and never has. :p
  13. slicecom macrumors 68020

    Aug 29, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    Well you can add me to your sample list. At work we have a 30" Apple Cinema Display, 2 23" Apple Cinema Displays and a 24" Apple Cinema Display, not to mention I have a couple Dell 2407's at home, NONE of which have the screen issues (yellowing and backlighting) my 2 (soon to be 3) 27" iMacs have had.

    I'd also like to add that I've been here WAY longer than Sir Cecil and am certainly not a part of some sort of anti-Apple conspiracy theory. I wonder if he also thinks we didn't land on the moon?
  14. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Sure, call Sir Cecil's theories wacky. Meanwhile you think you've been to the moon.
  15. 09iMac=Fail macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2009
    Wow, it sure didn't take this thread long to get totally derailed. OP seems to have some legitimate grounds for frustration.

    I have 3 monitors in the house that display the grey bars beautifully - Samsung, View Sonic, and MBP 15". Is it too much to ask for the same level of quality in the new iMacs?

    What is with all this garbage being spouted off lately that says, "The monitor doesn't cost $10,000, so don't expect it to be perfect." No one on these boards expects a perfect $10,000 monitor in their iMac, however they do rightfully so expect a monitor that doesn't have obvious flaws.
  16. Sir Cecil macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2008
    In not one post have I said problems no longer exist. I have said that there are those who are milking the subject for no other purpose than to cause dissatisfaction and to further their own agenda. Look at the poster's name above, to get a good idea of the mentality we are dealing with here.

    My iMac is numbered as a 5000+ unit built in Week 53 alone. Does anyone know how many thousands were built that week in total? For sure, it is well over 5000. Maybe 10,000 or more.
    Now look at the sites that the zealots point to as keeping count of the numbers of reportedly faulty units. How many Week 53's are listed? Is there 1% of those tens of thousands? Not last time I looked. Yet without any evidence that even 1% of units are faulty, the zealots tell us daily that ALL iMacs are faulty and no-one should buy them.
    Sensible people will, I'm sure, trust their own good judgment more than the urgings of those who wish to spread panic. I exchanged my machine once over the yellow issue and the replacement continues to be perfect and working beautifully. So I know the message the zealots are peddling – that all iMacs are no good – is for lack of a better word, rubbish.
  17. Nano2k macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2009
    Lol it's funny how a Mac fanatic can try to discredit a disgruntled customer and have counter-arguments which are on par or worse than those he is discrediting...

    Considering the price Mac customers are paying for the hardware, they have the right to be requesting perfection and to be a pain in the ass if they want.
  18. apophasis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010

    Pretty poor signal to noise ratio here, I must say.

    Thanks to the few posters who replied helpfully.

    I learned a few things:

    I have to insert spaces between sentences or I will be reprimanded and/or ignored. Got it.

    I now know another term for this backlight bleeding issue: spotlighting.

    I have heard various opinions about LCD displays.

    For my part, I have never seen backlight bleeding through like I have with these 27" displays.

    Yes, it's mostly noticeable with very dark content, but that includes substantial portions of a lot of movies, and displaying movies well is to my mind part of this computer's mission in life. Then there's the issue of design work, editing, etc. Basically, any darker program source displays inaccurately, which I think is unacceptable, especially at this price point, and considering the way this display was marketed.

    Even worse than the fact of the bleeding is that when you get a bit off-axis, it gets really extreme. I've never seen anything like this with any other display. My iPhone has some bleeding, (which I think is totally acceptable in a handheld device in its price range) but not this off-axis brightening. When your left eye is even with the left edge of the display, sitting back five feet in movie watching mode, the right side of the display is quite bright when it should be black. At a closer, more normal workstation distance, the effect is far more extreme.

    Finally, the wide variation I've seen between different screens seems unacceptable; shouldn't quality control ensure uniformity in such a precision component?

    It seems like 27" buyers are not getting what they thought they were getting, what was advertised, and what they paid for. At the same time, Apple is highly profitable, which makes me feel like they pocketed some of the money they should have spent on a higher quality display. Full disclosure: I don't own Apple stock. If I did, perhaps I'd be wildly enthusiastic about them cutting corners on the hardware. I, for one, paid a lot of money for this computer at least in part because of Apple's reputation for quality hardware, and my past experience of that. If this was a $500 PC, I wouldn't be complaining, but it's a $2k+ piece of supposedly top-flight premium hardware.

    I almost don't want to reply to Sir Cecil's absurd (and insulting) accusations, but just for the record, I am not a member of any "brigade". Nobody "got me" to post; I don't know anybody on this board. I don't have any "agenda" other than to find out what's going on with this display and what I can do about it. If Apple can simply furnish me with a replacement without the issue, I'll be totally satisfied, and my faith will be restored for the most part.

    I've been an Apple user since the II+ days, which for me was grade school- Zork, anyone? I bought this computer with nothing but faith in Apple and positive expectations, although since Apple ownership isn't formally a cult, that ought to be irrelevant. I don't expect perfection from a manmade object, but I did expect excellence from Apple, at this price, and with this marketing. I'm neither a fanboy nor a hater. In this context, I'm just a guy who bought an expensive tool that isn't working as well as it should.

    I am going to have another 27" sent, and I'll see how it looks in the dark. I'll report back. And in the meantime, I will humbly request that this thread be restricted to the original question: the backlight bleeding/spotlighting issue of the 27" LED screen, and whether it deviates far enough from Apple marketing claims to justify a class action lawsuit.

  19. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Speak for yourself.

    Wow, this is some logic. If Apple was skimping on quality they'd lose business not rake in big profits, no? That would seem to be the logical result of such actions to me.

    I'd expect a $500 computer to work without issues too.

    Absolutely, and if they can't then maybe the iMac isn't for you anymore and you should get a refund or sell it and buy a different computer.

    If you haven't seen a flood of threads, news articles, etc on a backlight bleeding problem in the 27" iMacs why would you even begin to talk about class action lawsuits? For that matter why are you even talking about lawsuits?? What are your damages, exactly?

    If you don't like the new iMac don't buy it. If you bought one and it's not up to your standards, return it.

    The level of litigiousness in America in recent times is frightening. I wish the USA would adopt a "loser pays" system like the U.K. That would take care of that. All of a sudden you'd get rid of 99% of frivolous lawsuits.
  20. apophasis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    I am speaking for myself. That's what "it seems like" denotes. If I were (for instance) speaking for you, I'd do everyone a favor and simply refrain from speaking at all.

    First, you are having a reading comprehension problem. I said that I feel like they pocketed the money in the form of profits rather than spending it on quality hardware. That's a feeling, or more accurately a suspicion, a tentative belief, not a logical proposition. You respond by questioning my "logic" when in fact I was not advancing a logical argument at all, simply stating a feeling. However, you did respond with a factual, logical proposition, and quite a flawed one. I refute it thus:

    Perhaps in a perfect world, quality product would equal profits. Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect, and experience has shown that in the race for quarterly profits, quality often suffers, and the maker of higher quality products often suffers or fails entirely while the makers and distributors of lower quality products succeed.

    By your silly "logic" we could expect cheap Chinese goods to be of the highest quality possible, since they are so highly profitable. By your silly logic, the current race to the bottom in terms of quality must not be happening at all. Ever heard old guys say "they don't make 'em like they used to"? There's a reason for that: Market forces frequently (maybe always) exert downward pressure on quality of product.

    Just to be clear, what is "improving" in most of our products is not overall quality, but rather sheer number of features. We have been conditioned to equate new features with quality, but they are not synonymous. Obviously, there are no old-school 27" flat-panel displays against which to compare; this is an entirely new technology.

    But in many areas where the fundamental technology has remained unchanged for a while, you simply cannot purchase a new product of a comparable quality to an old item, at any price. Look at your parents' and grandparents' appliances for an easy example. Modern washing machines do not get clothes any cleaner, modern refrigerators are not any colder, modern toasters don't do a better job toasting bread, and modern gas ranges don't boil water any faster than ones made fifty years ago. The new ones may have some extra features, and look cool to people who have been conditioned to believe that plastic is better than enamel. But the new ones are cheap and flimsy, and most importantly, they won't last a fraction as long. Quality was sacrificed in the name of profits, and today nobody can afford to produce high-quality items because they are unprofitable. You couldn't be more wrong about the relation of product quality to corporate profitability, actually. But I digress.

    Your simplistic and totally incorrect beliefs about market dynamics aside, there are a number of other possibilities:

    Perhaps Apple has produced high-quality hardware in the past, built a good reputation, and is now choosing to emphasize scale and profitability rather than quality hardware, and is trading on past reputation.

    Perhaps Apple's reputation will in fact suffer, and they will in fact become less profitable if in fact they are producing lower-quality products.

    From a business perspective, it might not make financial sense to make a higher quality product than absolutely necessary, and the larger Apple gets, the more market pressures are applied to it.

    Perhaps Apple attempted to come to an optimal balance between cost and quality, and erred on the side of cost. Perhaps they paid for a quality display, but failed to receive the quality they paid for. Maybe there's just a bad batch.

    In any case, you should take a course in remedial logic, beginning with a solid definition, before you attempt to use the word "logic" like a weapon and shoot yourself in the foot with it.

    Good; you go on being an optimist. While you're at it, buy the cheapest, most profitable products you can find, knowing that they must therefore be of the highest quality. Let everyone know how that works out for you. I guess if you have no standards or discernment, you might be perfectly happy, like a pig in slop.

    Personally, I expect to pay for quality. Conversely, when I pay for quality, I do expect to receive it.

    Wow, that is so helpful. I just could not figure that one out on my own; I needed some forum troll to tell me. Not. How about you bugger off, and leave this thread for people who are interested in discussing the topic. If anyone is unclear, this is my thread, and the topic is the performance of the 27" iMac display, specifically the spotlighting/backlight bleeding issue, and whether it is severe enough and widespread enough to justify legal action. Trolls, idiots, and jerks of all descriptions are specifically not wanted here. If you are looking for a fight, go somewhere else.

    I have seen enough threads about it, and the problem seems severe enough, to be a serious issue. I wanted to open it up for discussion. If you don't think it justifies a lawsuit, please give your reasons why. That's valuable input. Harrasing me about why I asked the question is not valuable; it's obnoxious.

    You are repeating yourself. It was superfluous the first time; gratuitous the second.

    I almost agree with you on that one. In fact, with regard to lawsuits between individuals of similar financial status, I totally agree. The problem is that one of the only ways individuals have of exercising some power relative to giant corporations is the class action lawsuit. Corporations have enormous legal defense budgets and consider a certain amount of legal defense to be simply a cost of doing business. Your idea would make it even more difficult (or impossible) for ordinary people to sue corporations for damages. This would accelerate global fascism, which I think would be a bad thing; you may well disagree.

    But back to the topic of this thread, please. Seriously.
  21. Sir Cecil macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2008

    No need to address SaSaSushi in the manner of a football hooligan. He is a respected member of the forum and you should welcome his responses. After all, look through the remainder of the responses to see how many people are interested in your preposterous call for a class action suit. Days after you posted it, the only time it's been mentioned is when some have ridiculed it.

    You have stated that you are already aware of the supposed problem with your machine, at a time when you are entitled to an exchange or a refund or a repair. Apple is willing to offer you all options. Therefore they are offering you everything they are legally obliged to do in terms of a remedy. That remedy is in your own hands. All options are available to you, so your call for a class action suit is a farce, worthy of mirth.

    If people were to learn of a problem at a much later date, when no remedy was available or offered, and they can show that said problem was avoidable, known by the manufacturer, was widespread and was deceptively and deliberately denied and hidden from customers to their serious detriment, then that might be a different matter.

    Hopefully this dire thread will now disappear into the ether.
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