OLED vs LED – what’s the difference?
Buying a new TV? OLED and LED are the main screen technologies. We explain the difference between them to help you decide which will be best for you.
There are various considerations to make when buying a new TV. One of the most important decisions is the type of screen technology – OLED or LED?
What’s the main difference?
Most new TVs will have an LED screen. Sometimes referred to as LCD and NanoCell, they are all based on the same screen technology – though NanoCell is vastly superior to standard LED.
While both LED and OLED TVs offer 4K and HD resolution, the main difference is in the way the screens are made and how they create their display.
OLED is a completely different type of screen technology – widely regarded by TV experts as the pinnacle of picture quality. LG is at the forefront of OLED and pioneered it for several years, but it’s now also available from other manufacturers.
Incredibly popular, with a diverse range of options at all price points
What is LED?
The names LED and LCD TVs are often used interchangeably, because both use liquid crystal technology to create your TV’s picture. The key difference with an LED TV is that tiny LED lights are used to illuminate the pixels and create the picture. This is known as the backlight, and there are different types – including edge lit, and direct lit.
How does LED technology work?
LED refers to light-emitting diodes, which are the bulbs behind the TV screen that form the backlight. When you turn on the TV these illuminate to light up the pixels, or switch off to block light passing through when a darker picture is required.
Are there any special features?
OLED has for a long time been the superior screen technology. But developments in recent years have narrowed the gap for LED TVs. These technologies include:
- Full array dimming: parts of the screen can be dimmed independently to create more natural black colours, ideal for watching spooky horror films.
- NanoCell technology: delivers more vibrant colours and wider viewing angles by placing the pixels much closer together – a tiny nanometre apart.
Why choose an LED TV?
LED TVs offer a wide variety of choice. You can find models in different sizes to suit every room and budget.
Invest more and you can enjoy the benefits of NanoCell technology – the vibrant colours and wide viewing angles
Seen by many TV experts as the king of TV picture quality
What is OLED?
OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode. It’s a relatively new type of screen technology requiring no backlight.
These self-emitting diodes illuminate every single pixel in the screen by generating their own light. This delivers superb picture quality in an energy-efficient way.
How does OLED technology work?
In an OLED TV, there is no need for a backlight. Instead, each pixel is self-emitting, producing their own light. This means they can switch off completely, without the need to rely on a backlight – unlike LED TVs.
With LED TVs, the backlight affects neighbouring pixels when dimmed, which prevents full blackness. OLED doesn’t have this problem.
Are there any special features?
OLED offers many advantages for viewers:
- Extremely thin screens: with no backlight, OLED TVs are just millimetres thin and lightweight.
- Deep blacks for movie nights: individual pixels can be switched off. This delivers night skies and deep space as dark as real life.
- Energy efficient: without the need for backlighting, OLED TVs use a lot less power.
Why choose an OLED TV?
If you want the best picture quality, it has to be OLED. Hollywood filmmakers like Tim Miller have praised its ability to deliver ‘the best images’ in ‘the best possible conditions’.
Lots of this is to do with OLED’s ability to create deep and inky black colours side by side with bright whites. Think about a brilliant moon against a night sky.
For movie lovers and home cinema enthusiasts, it’s the pinnacle, adding extra realism to the darkness of any horror film.
With a better understanding of these two prominent types of screen, hopefully you can decide between OLED vs LED for your new TV.
Browse our range of OLED TVs and LED TVs including NanoCell.