OLED vs LED TV

(23 Feb 2016)

For the last decade or so, we have been obsessed with the amount of pixels we can cram into a display, first with HD and now with the recent emergence of 4K. But is this really the be-all and end-all?

If you're buying a TV in 2016, you probably know you want 4K. But there are still a myriad of choices to make - is 65" quite big enough (when your other half is arguing it's far too big)? To curve or not to curve? And, most recently, the LED you know and love or this new-fangled OLED? Or maybe you should even be considering the futuristic sounding Quantum Dot? It can be a minefield.

Fortunately, the Philharmonic AV team are expert navigators of this treacherous technology landscape. Let's start with a recap of the familiar LED screen.

To throw another abbreviation into the mix, LED TVs are actually LED-backlit LCD TVs. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode and it's this that actually produces the light that comes out of your screen when you're watching TV. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, and chances are you're reading this on an LCD screen right now; they've been commonplace since the mid-2000s and work using millions of tiny 'filters' which block the light from the LED behind. The combination of each filter letting through varying amounts of light and colour is what produces an image.

With us so far? Now let's take a look at OLED.

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode and differs from LED in a fundamental way. While the latter creates pixels by filtering the white light emitted by LEDs, OLED pixels are made from organic molecules that actually produce the light that makes up each pixel. Just like your 5-a-day, LEDs are great, but organic LEDs are even better. Don't just eat a rainbow, view it in stunning clarity with more vibrant and accurate colour produced by a state-of-the-art OLED screen.

They don't just look good in colour though, they're fabulous in black too. When it comes to the blackest of blacks and the sharpest detail, OLED is the sure winner. It may surprise you to know that a TV's ability to produce true black is crucial to the quality of the perceived image. With an LCD or standard LED TV, blacks are produced by closing all the tiny filters, blocking as much of the light as possible. This method is by no means perfect and any light that escapes through the microscopic gaps will cause the blacks to instead appear a dark grey. When OLED TVs display black, no light whatsoever is produced in that area, resulting in incredible definition and really impressive contrast. Colours are super-enhanced and dark scenes look great too! Excellent news for cartoon and horror fans alike.

So can Quantum Dots top that?

This latest advance in display technology uses Light Emitting Nanomaterials, which replace the LEDs in an LCD TV. Although covered with the same controllable filters as an LCD TV, the white light they produce is more pure than LEDs, meaning that the colours will be truer to real life than their predecessors, although the black in an image is still achieved through the same 'blocking' technique. This is still a young technology though and at the moment the picture quality still doesn't match that of an OLED. As for the future, we predict Quantum Dots will eventually come out on top by acting more like the individual pixels in an OLED display, with better picture quality and longer life.

So after that whirlwind technological tour, our conclusion is this: if you want the best of the best, go for OLED. By the time you're ready for your next foray into the TV battle zone, Quantum Dots will be coming out fighting.

If you're thinking of reviewing the media armoury in your home, why not give us a call on 0207 887 2424.

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