When buying a new TV is the question of technology today, between a classic LED TV, an OLED TV, or even a Quantum Dot. The manufacturer LG has the most developed OLED TV range, but new manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic are also releasing OLED models. Do the advantages brought by the OLED justify the price difference?
What does it mean that a TV is OLED?
The term OLED TV means that the TV is equipped with a new slab technology to produce the picture. Today, there are 3 major different technologies on TVs:
• LED TVs, the most widespread technology today.
• OLED TVs, a new technology with models that are starting to become more numerous on the market. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode.
• TVs at Quantum Dot, still called QLED TV recently by Samsung.
These 3 technologies have advantages and disadvantages in the way of generating and displaying the image.
Recall that the slab technology is independent of the screen resolution (HD, or 4K / UHD). Today a good TV is necessarily 4K (but the opposite is not necessarily true, attention to nasty surprises).
OLED TVs are today high-end TVs, they are all in 4K, with a few exceptions.
LED TV vs OLED TV: two very remote display technologies
To understand the difference between a LED TV and an OLED TV, one must first clarify a key point. If there is only one letter of difference between the two, the technologies are completely different.
In recent years, LED TVs have completely replaced LCD TVs. Nevertheless, it is a misnomer because a LED TV is always an LCD TV, i.e. it works with liquid crystal. The only thing that differs is the way to illuminate these liquid crystals of the screen so that they are visible:
• On an old LCD TV, the liquid crystals were illuminated by fluorescent tubes
• On LED TVs, the liquid crystals are illuminated by light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This allowed to reduce the screen thickness and weight, to bring better levels of contrast, richer colors, deeper blacks, and also to reduce electricity consumption
OLED technology has already been used in several digital devices for some time, especially in some smart-phones.
Unlike an LED TV, on an OLED TV, each pixel will produce its own light to generate the image.
The advantages of an OLED TV over a LED TV
Thanks to this technology, OLED TVs have many advantages.
First of all, on the quality of the image, the OLED was indeed expected on the televisions because this technology allows new possibilities because the pixels generate their own light:
• A level of black without equal (it is possible to completely turn off the pixels), very high levels of contrasts
• An extended viewing angle
• A very good response time (we speak of 0.1 ms response time against 2 ms for the best-LED TVs)
With its technology, the OLED greatly reduces the thickness of the screen and brings levels of contrasts and black as ever.
In addition, the OLED technology allows to further reduce the thickness of the screen (thus reducing itself to only a few millimeters of thickness) and to further reduce the power consumption.
What price for an OLED TV?
With all its promises, the OLED seems to be the dream technology for TVs. Except that like any new technology, it is still very expensive, but the year 2017
The first point on the manufacturers: LG is the manufacturer who bet very early on the OLED for televisions. Besides, LG is supplying other TV manufacturers with their OLED panels.
We thus find mainly OLED TV ranges:
For its part, Samsung has abandoned this technology on TVs, in favor of the Quantum Dot / QLED, which is yet another technology slab (yet Samsung mastered this technology on smart-phones perfectly).
Then let’s look at the screen size. Few choices available, we start at 55 inches (140cm) diagonal, then 65 inches (165cm) and 77 inches (189cm). We are so on rather broad screen diagonals. LG currently manufactures only these 3 dimensions.
You will understand, between the technology and the diagonals proposed, we are on the high end, which is felt with the prices.
In the first prices for OLED TVs, rate the LG 55EG9A7V in Full HD. A choice that may surprise LG to offer OLED in HD and not 4K
In 4K, we note the LG 55B7V and 55C7V. These first-price OLED TV models are required on OLED, 55 “(140cm). These are 2017 models, but it seems that the 2018 models do not dig a significant difference in the performance of OLED TVs in general.
The advantages, disadvantages, and performance of OLED TVs
OLED TVs have several advantages, we can remember:
High black level rendering and high contrast ratio, with the ability to completely turn off pixels.
Good color rendering, thanks to a complete grayscale.
A slow response time
Viewing angles and brightness, the light is emitted directly at the pixel level.
Reduce energy consumption.
The ability to create transparent and flexible screens.
Because of their design, OLED TVs can also be very thin, where manufacturers are limited to parts to a few millimeters.
The thickness of an OLED TV compared to a CCFL LCD TV and LED LCD TV
On the left an LCD TV (back-lighted by luminescent tubes), in the middle an LED LCD TV Edge, on the right an OLED TV (credit: LCD-Compare).
Organic materials used in OLED technology to create blue light, which can change the color balance and impact the life of the screen. Manufacturers can, for example, vary the size of the subpixels of each color and optimize their brightness output to remedy this.
OLED components are moisture sensitive.
The screen structure is a better prone to glare than LCD screens, however, the combination of an anti-reflective screen coating and a light-polarizing filter correct this.
UV can damage an OLED screen, but the integration of a filter in the coating protects the screen.
Theoretically, in comparison to LCD TVs and plasma TVs, OLED TVs offers better performance, mainly in terms of image quality and energy consumption.
Conclusion: Do I have to buy an OLED TV today?
OLED undeniably brings unparalleled image quality and an unprecedented smoothness of TV screens for new design possibilities.
While OLED is certainly a future technology for TVs, it is still expensive today. Of course, it will depend on your budget, and the diagonal screen you need.
IF you are looking for a TV less than 55 “, no OLED model exists today.
If you want a TV of exactly 55 “, the question of the OLED is still available even if it remains a purchase, there is a very good LED TV at this price level.
Depending on your budget, with a 55 “, you can ask questions about the choice between an OLED HD, or a LED TV 4K for an equivalent price. If you are not interested in 4K in the future or in the future, you will be able to use this TV, an OLED HD will bring you better picture quality.
For 4K TVs, we also remember that the upscaling function from HD to 4K is important. An OLED TV that has a bad upscale will inevitably suffer from a 4K source.
Also read: 4K: All you need to know before buying an Ultra HD TV
Above 55 “, OLED TVs are still expensive.
However, we note that the OLED TV market is growing, with the arrival of Panasonic and Sony who launched their OLED models in 2017. The 2018 models do not really mark a significant difference in performance or decrease significant price on OLED TV compared to 2017, however the world of football could be expected to increase.