OLED vs LED – Which is better ?

oled vs led
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The last decade has witnessed the rise of LED backlit LCD displays (marketed as LED displays) over conventional LCD and Plasma displays. LED presents severeal advantages over competing technologies – reduced power consumption, contrast etc.

However, another new technology has emerged – OLED. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes. It is the only potential competitor to LED displays at present.

First, I’ll tell you about both LED and OLED technologies in brief, and later compare the two technologies for you. Let’s get started –

What is OLED?

As stated earlier, OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. In simple terms, they are LEDs made with organic compounds that emit light when electricity is passed through them.

LEDs cannot be made as small as a pixel – that’s why we have LED backlit displays. But, OLEDs can be made extremely small, as small as a pixel. Therefore, in an OLED display, there are millions of tiny OLEDs acting as pixels. These OLEDs can act independent to other OLEDs in the vicinity. So, when an OLED pixel is shut off, it produces true black.

What is LED?

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The term LED display is a misnomer – LED displays don’t exist. What we have in the markets are LED backlit LCD displays. These displays use LCD technology for pixels and LEDs for illumination instead of fluorescent light sources. The end result is a massive improvement in brightness over traditional LCD displays, higher lifespan, and thinner panels. Power consumption is also reduced.

Please note that wherever I use LED display henceforth, it means LED-backlit LCD display.

LED vs OLED

We compare the two technologies on a variety of parameters. So, let’s get on with it –

1 Brightness –

Since LED displays are backlit, the whole screen can be much brighter than OLED displays. Also, using OLED pixels at maximum brightness for extended periods of time reduces their lifespan. Additionally, it takes the pixel longer to return to black.

Both displays produce more than adequate brightness for almost all situations. That being said, having an LED display is preferable for well – lit environments.

Winner – LED

2 Black Level –

The opposite of brightness, black level is simply how dark your display can get. OLED is able to turn off individual pixels completely, producing perfect blacks. LEDs produce blacks by dimming and, therefore, are not able to produce pure blacks as light leaks from adjacent areas. Better LED displays have local dimming, where a part of the backlight can be dimmed independent of others, but even this is not perfect.

Winner – OLED

3 Contrast Ratio –

Arguable the most important aspect of picture quality, it is the ratio of the brightness to black level. For example, 1000:1 contrast ratio implies that the brightest level of this display is 1000 times brighter than it’s darkest.

Since OLED displays can produce perfect blacks, they have a theoretically infinite contrast ratio. Even the most premiumĀ  LED displays don’t get close.

Winner – OLED

4 Viewing Angles –

There is a visible change in picture quality of LED TVs as you move away from the center. This problem is less in TVs using IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels, but their picture quality is worse compared to other panels when viewed straight.

OLED displays don’t have this issue. Since they don’t use a backlight, the picture quality is the same from any angle.

Winner – OLED

5 Lifespan –

Modern day LED TVs easily last 80,000 to 100,000 hours (time to half brightness). Since OLED is a new technology, it is not possible to comment on their lifespan right now.

Winner – LED

6 Energy Consumption –

Energy consumption in OLED TVs depends on the type of content being watched. A sports match, for instance, would consume greater energy than a movie.

LED TVs have a more or less fixed energy consumption. In general, LED TVs consume less electricity than OLED TVs.

Winner – LED

7 Burn In –

Example of burn in (Image Credits – Tom’s Guide)

Burn In is especially prevalent in Plasma TVs. When a static image is displayed for a long time, it appeared to have ‘burned’ into the screen.

It is very difficult for burn in to occur in OLED TVs, but the possibility is there. If a pixel is burned long and hard enough, it can dim prematurely causing burn in. To do this, you would have to display the same image for at least 10 hours every day for a week straight.

LED TVs cannot have burn in, as it is backlit.

Winner – LED

8 Size –

Currently, OLED TVs are available only in 55 and 65 inch sizes. On the other hand, LED TVs are available in sizes ranging from under 20 inch to over 100 inch. So, if you want a TV under 55 inch or over 65 inch, your only option is LED TV.

Winner – LED

9 Price –

This is a no-brainer. A 55 inch OLED TV from LG costs roughly 2 lakh rupees. The most premium 55 inch LED TV from LG costs 93000. And there are a variety of cheaper options too.

Winner – LED

Conclusion

There is no denying the fact that OLED displays easily beat standard LED displays in terms of picture quality. However, they are premium TVs. You cannot get an OLED TV for less than 1.5 lakh rupees, while LED TVs can be easily purchased for as little as 30 thousand with 42-inch screen size. Also, you have more options for screen size in case of LED TVs.

So, if you want the best possible picture quality at any cost, choose OLED TVs. And for every other case, choose LED TVs.

 

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