What is the difference between LED and OLED in Televisions?

Break down this confusing topic when buying a TV.

by Amanda Blain
Published: Last Updated on

What is the difference between LED and OLED in Televisions?

Every year at CES the largest names in Technology battle it out with their latest and greatest TVs. Each company has unique names and buzz words associated with its latest TV launch. So where do you start?

How do you know which type of TV you should be getting and just what do all those letters, names, and numbers actually mean? Let’s start with the difference between LED and OLED.

The main types of TV in the marketplace today are LED and OLED. But what exactly is this?

how on earth do you buy a television in 2018 2

History Of Televisions – CRT and Plasmas are Gone…

In the olden days,(before 2005) we used to have CRT(Cathode-Ray Tube) Televisions. These bulky heavy tv’s used vacuum tubes to display images and colors. By 2007, pretty much all TV manufacturers stopped producing CRT devices.

In 2008, plasma TVs graced our stage. Plasma used a display that had small cells that contained electrically charged gases to create images. This causes Plasma’s to sometime get quite warm and used a lot of power. Plasma has lost pretty much all its market share because of this downside.

What is LCD?how on earth do you buy a television in 2018

Starting in the late 90s and early 2000s LCD entered the TV Stage.

Most of today’s TVs have an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) layer in the front.  LCD is basically a very thin layer of “liquid crystal” that is sand­wiched between two glass sheets, and some electrodes. As shown in the above picture.

The LCD does not produce any light of its own. In fact, LCD depends entirely on illumination from an external source.  Like LED.LED 1487378233

What Is LED TV?

Many LCD TV are back-lit with LEDs(Light Emitting Diodes).

LED bulbs are just like the tiny versions you have on your Christmas tree each year. The way the TV versions of these lights are manufactured and how the LED lights display light and dark are completely different depending on which manufacturer is making your TV though.

LEDs are much better than the old CRT devices filled with vacuum tubes to display images and color.

Several years ago, LCD screens had a CCFL (Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Light) across the entire back of the screen to make images visible. Regardless of if the image is black or white or colored, the entire panel is lit up evenly.

Then technology changed. LED got used as a backlight instead of the CCFLs.

Because they are tiny little lightbulb lights, engineers designed ways to turn off the light completely in the black areas of the TV picture. This leads to “darker blacks” that most TV salespeople will talk about when buying a TV.  LED still has its drawbacks.

Because LCD has a layer of LED behind it that is actually producing the light, sometimes the areas get out of sync. The result is something called “blooming”.  The light from the light areas can be too bright near the dark areas and this causes the light to bloom/bleed over into the dark portions.

Enter OLED.

What is OLED TV?how on earth do you buy a television in 2018 e1654546511745

OLED, (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) is different. It has fewer layers involved.

There is an organized layer that lights up all on its own when you poke it with electricity. This is generally carbon and some other materials that make the different colors. Hence the word Organic.

Because OLEDs can light up on their own when an electrical current passes through them, OLED TVs can be paper-thin. Remember LCD requires an alternate light source -A backlit panel to make the display work.

The OLED pixels themselves are actually producing the light so when they are “turned off” for the black areas, there is no blooming. The pixels are just off. Combine this with the OLED’s ability to produce bright white colors and you are left with a stunning picture technology.

The light source has also shrunk from the LED bulbs, which means we can now have these insanely flat devices that are millimeters thick and can easily hang on your wall.

OLED is also capable of a very low refresh rate – as low as 0.001ms – which is about 1,000 times faster than a regular old LED-backlit LCD panel.

Final Thoughts on What is the difference between LED and OLED in Televisions?

LED and OLED can be confusing stuff when you are buying a TV. We hope now you can see the differences in them, and be more informed in your TV buying decisions.

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