If you’ve been window-shopping for a new TV or if you’re simply an entertainment tech enthusiast, you certainly know about a relatively new type of TV called OLED. It’s similar to an excellent old LED type that most of us use in nearly all aspects, but one:
OLED TVs are lit differently.
This small and seemingly insignificant difference in TV technology creates a wide functionality gap between OLED and LED TVs.
Supposedly, OLED TVs should outperform LED TVs with similar functionalities in categories such as picture quality and consumer health. Stay with us as we inspect these differences more closely and determine whether or not the hype is real.
OLED & LED: What is the difference?
Say you’ve got your eyes on the new OLED65CXPTA, so you start reading the specs. Everything looks incredible – from video features to audio modes to added spice like Instant Game Response – every capability offers a top-of-the-class viewing experience.
But then, you see the price. At the moment, that’s $3798.
When these TVs first appeared on the market in 2013, there was a joke that OLED stands for “only lawyers, executives, and doctors” since nobody else could afford them. Believe it or not, $4000 is a fair price for an OLED. They used to be much more expensive.
So, why is that?
As already explained, all significant differences between these two types of TVs stem from how the image is lit. LED TVs have a panel with colored dots (pixels) lit by a backlight. OLED TVs have a panel with colored diodes that produce light independently.
Essentially, that means better picture quality.
Because they don’t need a separate backlight, OLED TVs are even thinner than the thinnest LED TVs. They are also flexible; back in 2019, LG unveiled the production of its first rollable OLED TV. All other advantages of OLED TVs stem from right here.
According to users and experts alike, they are as follows:
- Picture quality: blacks and color space
OLED technology is superior when it comes to showing blacks.
Every OLED pixel has an independent light source, powered directly by electricity. The color black kills the power, turning the pixels off. When the pixels are off, they don’t emit any color or light – they are 100% black. Not colored black, but devoid of color.
By definition, this is the real black.
This real blackness contributes to the overall picture quality by highlighting the contrasts and making colors appear richer. Consequently, the most essential characteristics of any color – its accuracy, brightness, and volume – are better on OLEDs too.
- Experience: response and refresh rate
If you’re interested in state-of-the-art TV, referring both to technology and the art form, then you know what motion blur is. It is an unfortunate side-effect of LCD pixels producing colors, which has a time delay compared to an LED backlight.
Virtually all LED TVs have a problem with motion blur; only that’s more or less obvious depending on the build of the TV and the source material. Since OLED pixels emit color and light simultaneously, these TVs have better response time and no blur.
Refresh rate is a more complex metric because it can be single or variable, and we won’t dive deeper into it. The only thing you need to know is that OLED refresh rates dwarf refresh rates on LED TVs, ensuring smoothness in fast-moving content.
In translation – OLED TVs are better for watching sports.
- Theatricality: drastic viewing angles
For the best-performing LED TVs, the max viewing angle is 54 degrees.
For its OLED counterpart, it’s 84 degrees.
The difference between the two types of TV tech is self-explanatory in this category. It’s also drastic. You can invite your entire high school class for a movie night and be confident that every single person will have the same viewing experience.
An OLED TV can be watched at extremely sharp angles.
- OLED TVs are healthier than LED TVs
One less frequently cited advantage of OLED TVs is that they are generally healthier for both the user and the environment. Compared to LED TVs, which emit 64% blue light, OLED TVs generate only 34%. If you watch a lot of TVs, this is a significant difference.
Health-wise, another significant advantage of choosing an OLED is that it spends less electricity.
LED TVs must consume significantly more power to achieve the same brightness level. They power the backlight and pixels independently, unlike OLED TVs which only power the pixels. If that means something to you (as it should), OLEDs are more eco-conscious.
It’s your right as a consumer to be presented with all the options before you choose one product over the other. Compared with OLED TVs, LED TVs traditionally boast better brightness and more convenient design. They are also more durable and less costly.
However, OLED TVs are leading the way in terms of progress.
Without any doubt, OLED is the most advanced TV tech we have, and it’s still in its early days.
But if you’re asking which TV is better for your living room, that is the question we can’t answer. Both types produce fantastic picture quality, though OLED is slightly ahead in this matter. LED TVs are more affordable, but OLEDs are downright brilliant. It’s your choice.