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LED vs OLED: A TV Comparison

Choosing between LED and OLED television technology might seem overwhelming, considering the deluge of technical jargon and specifications typically thrown around. This post seeks to demystify these terms and provide a straightforward comparison. LED (Light Emitting Diode) and OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) are two different display technologies with distinctive characteristics. Understanding these differences is key to choosing a television set that suits your needs, preferences, and budget. This article will delve into the intricacies of these technologies, examining the pros and cons, picture quality, power consumption, and value for money.

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What Is LED?


Light Emitting Diodes (LED) have been around for quite some time, offering reliable display technology for a range of devices, including televisions. LEDs work by emitting light when an electric current is applied, and in the context of TVs, they are used to backlight the screen. The light from these diodes is then passed through different layers to produce the final image you see on your screen.

There are several types of LED TVs, distinguished mainly by how the LEDs are arranged. Basic LED TVs often position the LEDs along the edge of the screen (Edge LED), while higher-end models might feature LEDs spread directly behind the screen (Direct LED or Full Array LED). The latter often allows for better control of brightness across different parts of the screen, enhancing the overall picture quality.

Pros And Cons Of LED TVs


LED TVs offer several advantages that have contributed to their popularity. Firstly, they are typically more affordable than OLED TVs, making them a more accessible choice for many consumers. They are also known for their bright displays, which makes them particularly suited to well-lit rooms. LEDs are also relatively durable, offering a long lifespan with minimal maintenance.

However, LED TVs are not without their drawbacks. One of the main limitations of LED technology is that it often struggles to produce deep black levels. This is due to the fact that the LEDs are used to backlight the entire screen, making it difficult to achieve true blacks. Additionally, viewing angles can be a problem; the picture quality often deteriorates when viewed from the sides, a phenomenon known as ‘off-axis’ viewing.

What is OLED?


In contrast to LED, Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology is a more recent innovation in the world of television displays. In an OLED display, a layer of organic compounds emits light in response to an electric current. This is a crucial distinction from LED technology as it allows each pixel in an OLED screen to emit its own light, thereby offering superior control over brightness and color accuracy.

The ability of each pixel to emit light independently and even turn off completely means OLED TVs can achieve absolute black levels. This results in an unparalleled contrast ratio, making OLEDs particularly excellent for viewing in darker rooms. However, this impressive technology does come with a higher price tag and some other limitations, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Pros and Cons of OLED TVs


OLED TVs provide superior picture quality thanks to their unique technology. Their ability to achieve perfect black levels results in an exceptional contrast ratio, meaning bright objects on a dark background appear more vivid and realistic. In addition, OLED TVs tend to have better viewing angles compared to LED TVs, ensuring consistent picture quality from different viewing positions.

Despite these advantages, OLED technology has a few downsides. The primary drawback is their potential for burn-in, where static images displayed for long periods can cause permanent damage to the screen. OLED TVs also tend to be less bright than LED TVs, which can impact visibility in brightly lit rooms. Furthermore, their sophisticated technology makes OLED TVs typically more expensive than their LED counterparts.

Picture Quality Comparison


When it comes to picture quality, OLED generally has the upper hand. Its ability to control each pixel individually produces an “infinite” contrast ratio, meaning it can display true blacks alongside bright whites. This starkly contrasts with LED TVs, which often struggle with producing deep blacks due to their backlight technology.

OLED also excels in color reproduction. Since each pixel can produce its light, colors on an OLED TV appear more accurate and vibrant. When combined with High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, OLED TVs can display a broad spectrum of colors and enhanced detail in bright and dark scenes. LED TVs, however, may struggle with this level of precision, leading to less vibrant colors and less detail in dark areas.

Power Consumption and Lifespan

In terms of energy efficiency, LED TVs generally consume less power than OLED TVs. This is because LEDs require less power to produce light, whereas OLEDs require more power as they light up each pixel individually. If energy consumption is a significant concern, LED may be the better option.

OLED screens, while providing superior image quality, have a major concern related to their lifespan. They are prone to ‘burn-in,’ where static images displayed for prolonged periods can lead to permanent discoloration of the screen. LED TVs, on the other hand, offer a longer lifespan with no such issues of screen burn-in.

Price and Value for Money


LED TVs cover a wide range of price points, from budget models to high-end variants. This makes them a more accessible choice for a broader demographic. They offer good value for money, especially for consumers who prioritize a bright display and energy efficiency.

OLED TVs, while typically more expensive, offer a superior viewing experience in terms of black levels, contrast ratio, and viewing angles. They are generally considered luxury purchase, with their price reflecting their superior performance and the innovative technology they employ.

The Bottom Line

When choosing between LED and OLED, it’s crucial to consider your specific needs, preferences, and budget. LED offers cost-effectiveness, brightness, and durability, while OLED offers superior contrast ratios, color accuracy, and viewing angles. Ultimately, both technologies have their strengths and weaknesses. We hope this comparison has given you a clearer picture, enabling you to make an informed decision about which TV technology is right for you.


  1. LED vs. OLED: How do they work? –
  2. LED vs. OLED TV Explained – CNET
  3. LED vs. OLED: Lifespan, Energy Efficiency, and More – TechRadar