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OLED vs LED: Which TV Display Is Better?

Dark room, with text "OLED vs LED"
Lynn Vdbr | Unsplash and Howbigg

Written by

Jacek Obst

8 min read

Are you ready to upgrade your TV but confused by the options? OLED and LED are two display technologies that you'll encounter in your search for a new TV. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode), and LED (Light Emitting Diode), offers different features and benefits. Understanding these differences is crucial when making a decision.

Traditional LED TVs use LEDs as backlighting for LCD panels, while OLEDs emit light directly from each pixel. This fundamental distinction leads to variations in picture quality, contrast ratio, and color accuracy. Advancements like mini-LED and HDR content have further expanded the capabilities of LED sets.

LG has been at the forefront of OLED technology with its range of OLED TVs. These cutting-edge displays deliver stunning visuals with deep blacks and vibrant colors. So whether you're looking for a 55-inch LED TV for your living room or 85-inch OLED TV for an immersive cinematic experience, weighing the pros and cons will help you decide.

Let's dive in!

1. Understanding the Difference between OLED and LED Technologies

OLED technology and LED technology have become increasingly popular in the world of displays. While both offer impressive visual experiences, they differ in several key aspects.

  • OLED pixels emit light individually: Unlike LED pixels, which require a backlight, OLED pixels generate their own light. This individual emission allows for more precise control over brightness levels and produces deeper blacks.

  • Better contrast ratios with OLED displays: Thanks to their ability to turn off individual pixels completely, OLED displays provide superior contrast ratios compared to LED displays. This means that images on an OLED screen appear sharper and more vibrant.

  • LED displays are commonly found in TVs and monitors: Although OLED technology has gained traction in recent years, LED displays still dominate the market for televisions and computer monitors. The widespread use of LED technology is due to its cost-effectiveness and versatility.

2. Comparing the Advantages of OLED and LED Displays

OLED displays, such as those found in modern TVs and smartphones, offer some distinct advantages over LED displays. Let's take a closer look at the key benefits of each technology:

  • OLED displays provide deeper blacks and more vibrant colors thanks to their individual pixel lighting. Each pixel on an OLED screen can emit its own light, resulting in infinite contrast levels. This means that dark scenes appear truly black, enhancing the overall visual experience. The vibrant colors produced by OLED screens make images and videos come alive with exceptional richness.

  • On the other hand, LED displays are generally more affordable than their OLED counterparts. LED stands for "light-emitting diode," which is a backlighting technology used in LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs. While these displays may not offer the same level of contrast as OLEDs, they still deliver impressive picture quality at a lower price point.

It's important to note that the lifespan of an OLED display is typically shorter than that of an LED display. Over time, organic materials used in OLED screens can degrade, leading to potential issues like image retention or burn-in. In comparison, LED displays have longer lifespans and are less prone to such problems.

3. Exploring Fast Refresh Rates and Response Times in OLED vs LED for Gaming

A man playing a PS5 racing game on a TV Samuel Regan-Asante | Unsplash Refresh rate and response time are two very important criteria for gamers, looking for the smoothest possible screen experience. It’s not only a matter of aesthetics, but it can be a win-or-lose factor in many games.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about what display technology to choose there - both LED and OLD TVs can provide low refresh rates and low response times.

Both can offer very good performance - it all comes down to which the specific model you choose.

But keep in mind that OLED TVs can suffer from burn-in issues if static images (like game HUDs) are displayed for extended periods of time.

4. Comparing LED Backlight Types and Monitor Panel Types

LED backlighting is a crucial component of modern computer monitors. Understanding the different types of LED backlighting and monitor panel options is essential. Let's dive into the details.

Two Main Types of LED Backlighting

  1. Edge-lit: This type of LED backlighting involves placing LEDs along the edges of the display panel. It provides uniform lighting across the screen but may result in less accurate color reproduction and contrast compared to direct-lit backlights.

  2. Direct-lit: In direct-lit LED backlights, an array of LEDs is positioned behind the LCD panel, offering more precise control over brightness levels and lighting zones. This technology allows for better contrast ratios and deeper blacks, enhancing the overall image quality.

Different Monitor Panel Types

  1. IPS (In-Plane Switching): IPS panels offer excellent color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and good response times. They are ideal for tasks that require accurate color representation such as graphic design or photo editing.

  2. TN (Twisted Nematic): TN panels are known for their fast response times, making them suitable for gaming or fast-paced action videos. However, they typically have narrower viewing angles and less accurate color reproduction compared to IPS panels.

Selecting between LED backlight types and monitor panel types depends on your specific needs and preferences:

  • If you prioritize vibrant colors, wide viewing angles, and accurate image rendering, consider an IPS panel with direct-lit LED backlighting.

  • For gaming enthusiasts seeking faster response times at the expense of slightly compromised color accuracy and viewing angles, a TN panel with either type of LED backlight can be a suitable choice.

5. The Significance of Reduced Power Consumption in OLED vs LED

Electricity poles Fré Sonneveld | Unsplash Compared to LEDs, individual pixels on an OLED display consume less power when displaying black content. This light control capability allows OLEDs to achieve deeper blacks and more vibrant colors while using less energy.

Overall power consumption varies depending on usage patterns and brightness settings for both technologies. However, OLEDs have an advantage in scenarios where the screen predominantly displays darker images or videos. In such cases, the power savings offered by OLED's ability to turn off individual pixels can be significant.

With increasing awareness about environmental impact and the need for sustainable technology, power consumption has become a crucial factor for many consumers. By opting for OLED displays, you can contribute to reducing your carbon footprint by utilizing a display technology that consumes less power overall.

6. Analyzing Picture Quality: OLED vs LED

  • OLED offers superior picture quality due to its ability to produce true blacks and infinite contrast ratios. The individual pixels in an OLED panel emit their own light, allowing for precise control over brightness levels. This results in deep, rich black levels and vibrant colors that truly pop on the screen. OLED models excel at displaying dark scenes with incredible detail and accuracy.

  • On the other hand, LED displays can still provide excellent picture quality, especially in well-lit environments. LED TVs use a backlighting system that illuminates the entire screen uniformly. While they may not achieve the same level of contrast as OLEDs, modern LED TVs often incorporate local dimming technology to enhance black levels by selectively dimming specific areas of the screen. This helps improve the contrast ratio and overall image quality.

7. Considering Size and Weight: OLED vs LED Displays

Outdoor cinema with huge screen CrowN | Unsplash OLED displays are thinner and lighter than LED displays, making them popular for those who prioritize portability. On the other hand, LED displays offer a wider range of sizes, providing more options for users depending on their specific needs.

The slim design of OLED displays makes them ideal for applications where weight and thickness matter. Whether it's a sleek smartphone or a lightweight laptop, OLED technology allows manufacturers to create devices that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to carry around.

LED displays, however, come in various sizes, catering to different requirements. From compact monitors to large-scale commercial screens, LED technology offers an extensive amount of choices for consumers. This flexibility is especially beneficial.

When deciding between OLED and LED displays based on size and weight considerations, it ultimately boils down to the intended use and installation requirements. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Portability: If you need a device that can be easily carried around or held for extended periods, OLED's thinness and lightness make it the preferred option.

  • Versatility: If you require a display in a particular size range or want flexibility in choosing from various sizes available on the market, LED provides more options.

  • Installation: Consider the space where the display will be installed. If there are size restrictions or if you need a larger display for better visibility from afar, LED might be the better choice.

8. Conclusion: Making a Decision in the OLED vs LED Debate

After exploring the key differences and advantages of OLED and LED technologies, it is clear that both have their strengths and weaknesses. It ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

OLED displays offer superior picture quality with deep blacks, vibrant colors, and wide viewing angles. They also have fast refresh rates and response times, making them ideal for gaming or watching action-packed content. OLED panels are lightweight and thin, providing flexibility in terms of size and weight.

On the other hand, LED displays are known for their energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They come in various backlight types and monitor panel options to suit different requirements. LED screens are widely available in larger sizes at more affordable prices compared to OLED.

Considering these factors, you should assess your priorities before making a decision. If you value exceptional picture quality for immersive viewing experiences or gaming performance, OLED might be the right choice for you. However, if energy efficiency or budget-friendly options are your top concerns without compromising too much on visual quality, LED could be the better option.

Ultimately, it's essential to consider your personal preferences alongside technical specifications when choosing between OLED and LED displays. Whether you prioritize stunning visuals or practicality, decide based on what matters most to you.


Are OLED displays more expensive than LED displays?

Yes, OLED displays tend to be more expensive than their LED counterparts due to the advanced technology involved in producing organic light-emitting diodes. However, prices may vary depending on factors such as screen size and brand.

Do OLED screens suffer from burn-in issues?

Yes, but not as much as at the beginning - while early generations of OLED screens were prone to burn-in problems where static images would leave permanent marks on the display over time, modern OLED panels have improved significantly in this aspect. With proper usage habits such as avoiding prolonged display of static images, burn-in issues can be minimized.

Can LED displays achieve the same picture quality as OLED?

No, LED displays generally cannot match the same level of picture quality as OLED due to differences in technology. However, advancements in LED backlighting and panel types have improved visual performance, making them a viable option for many users.

Which type of display is better for gaming?

Both can do well. Just remember to choose the smallest possible response time and the largest possible refresh rate.

Are OLED displays suitable for outdoor use?

OLED displays are not typically recommended for outdoor use as they may struggle with visibility under bright sunlight. LED displays, on the other hand, offer better brightness levels and are more suitable for outdoor applications where direct sunlight is a factor.

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