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OLED TV vs LED TV : Which should you choice between them?

by on September 8, 2016

led-vs-oled TV

In recent years, there are two popular technologies behind TVs, LED (Light Emitting Diode) and OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode). Previously, there are also plasma and LCD, but gradually they began evicted by LED and OLED due to wasteful power consumption required and other causes. The main difference between these technologies is about their illumination. On OLED technology, each of their pixels provides its own illumination while LED technology requires backlight for their illumination. It sounds very simple, but not for the result like what described below. But this comparison certainly is for top class LED TVs sold with the price that almost the same with the price that offered for OLED TVs because there is no cheap OLED TV.  So which is superior between LED and OLED TV? Let’s discuss them one by one their performance in each element of the picture quality.


Winner : LED TV

If compared to plasma, both of these TV types are brighter than plasma TV. This is one of the reasons why plasma TV can be evicted by these technologies. Compare between them, LED TV offers brighter illumination on whole screen than OLED.  This is as the impact of the use of backlight on LED TV. On the whole screen, LED TV may be brighter, but in certain parts of images, OLED TV can be brighter than most of LED TVs. You need to know, before HDR technology is applied on TV, brightness on the whole screen is not a something important in the real world but since HDR was applied on TV,  light output or brightness played an important role in HDR (High Dynamic Range), of course this is an important victory of LED TV over LED TVs.

Black Level

Winner : OLED TV

Black level is how dark a TV can get. It is the opposite of peak brightness. In this case, OLED TV is the winner because each pixels of OLED can turn off individually without being influenced by other pixels. This allows OLED TVs delivers truly perfect black of black level. Another case with LED TV, because it uses backlight, a bright area around the dark area can spoils black level on this area. For a better TV, for minimized the breakdown of black level caused by bright area surrounding, it used local dimming technology., But of course, this will no better than per-pixel control.  Even some high class LED TVs have Full array LED backlighting that provide better control over the contrast for maximizing black level , but nonetheless per-pixel control is better. But even so, it is much better than nothing.

Contrast Ratio

Winner : OLED TV

Contrast ratio is the difference between brightest and darkest area of the TV. As example, A TV with peak brightness 1000 nits and black level 0.01 nits have contrast ratio 10.000:1. The higher contrast ratio of a TV, the picture looks better and more realistic. Contrast Ratio is an important part of picture quality. For this case OLED TV is the winner because it can deliver absolute black level and this allows OLED TV delivers infinite contrast ratio because the denominator number is almost zero.

UHD Alliance has set the minimum contrast ratio that should be achieved by a TV to get UHD Premium Certification. There are two options of contrast ratio that should be delivered. First, 1000 nits peak brightness with 0.05 nits black level or equal with 20000:1 of contrast ratio. The second is 540 nits with 0.0005 nits black level or equal with 1,080,000:1 of contrast ratio. The first option is usually for LED TV while second option is for OLED TV.

OLED vs LED TV in Contrast

OLED TV is far superior in dark control and precision light

Motion Blur

Winner : LED TV

Talking about motion blur of course this has to do with fast moving images and refresh rate panel of TVs. Theoretically, the higher native refresh rate panel, the motion blur can be reduced more maximal. The number OLED TV or 4K LED TV have native 120 Hz native refresh rate panel and middle to lower class LED TV has 60 Hz refresh rate panel. Although between expensive LED TV and OLED TV has the same refresh rate panel, in reality LED TV offers clearer and smoother picture quality when they are used for watching contents with fast scenes.

Color Gamut

Winner : OLED TV

Some top class LED TVs already use quantum dot color technology that can cover more than 93% of DCI P3 Color Space. This makes they offer wider range of color gamut than traditional TV. But this is not better than what produced by OLED TV. While on LG OLED TV, for creating full Spectrum of ATSC color, LG interpolates blue and yellow phosphors to the standard Red, Blue, Green filters.  This makes color gamut produced by OLED TV is wider than what delivered by LED TV even with quantum dot display.

LED vs OLED TV Color Gamut

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Winner : LED TV (at least for now)

As mentioned, a good HDR picture quality requires high level of peak brightness. And for a while, LED TV delivers brighter peak white than OLED TV. This makes color produced looks more vibrant. That is why LED TV is winner in HDR because HDR is not just about contrast. Black level is also important, but HDR picture need high level brightness for more bring up contrast and color in dark scenes or sun highlighted effect. So, although OLED TV offers higher level of contrast ratio, this does not make it superior than LED TV on HDR. But of course, the ability of OLED TV in term of peak brightness still can be improved in future.

Side Viewing Angle

Winner : OLED TV

You need to know, the use of backlighting on LED TV can degrade color and contrast of the picture when the viewers are watching from side viewing angle. And this issue is not happened on OLED TV because they didn’t use backlight. The number manufactures like LG and other use IPS panel technology for minimizing contrast and degradation from side viewing angle but in other hand, it even hurts black level. The other manufacture like Samsung use curved panel for providing wider range of side viewing angle. The result may be better than nothing, but OLED TV still offers better. But strangely, although OLED TV already delivers perfect side viewing angle, there are some LG OLED TVs series still use curved panel.


Winner : OLED TV

Uniformity means how a TV make the brightness across the screen is consistent. LED TV with Full array backlight offers better uniformity than LED TV with Edge-Lit backlight. This is caused there are leaking light from the edges.  Logically, If LED TV with Full Array LED Backlighting delivers better uniformity moreover OLED TV with their “switch on/off individually” pixel. But even so, this is no better than Plasma that offers perfect uniformity.

Energy Consumption

Winner : LED TV

Energy consumption depends on the screen brightness. The brighter the screen, it requires more energy consumption. Brightness of LED TV is directly related to the bright of the backlight, while on OLED, it depends on the self-light of the pixels. That is why LED TV offers more efficient power consumption than OLED TV.


One of the reasons why LED TV dominates in the market is about the price where overall, it LED TV is sold cheaper than OLED TV. With the cheaper price, they deliver good enough picture quality. But even so, this doesn’t mean LED TV is superior to LED TV in term of picture quality because in this case, OLED TV is better. One of the reasons why OLED TV is superior to LED TV in term of picture quality is it offers higher level contrast ratio and wider range of color gamut than LED TV although most the points we have discussed, LED TV is the winner. But with the advent of HDR on TV and the many new technologies of LED TVS that offers some improvement and innovations, this may change in future.

So which you should between OLED TV and LED TV? As mentioned, most of OLED TVs are sold more expensive than LED TV even for top class. This is understandable considering OLED TV offers better picture quality than LED TVs. If your main consideration in buying TV is picture quality, for now I think OLED TV is better choice for you. But even so,  the number top class LED TVs already offers picture quality as great as what offered by OLED TV if viewed by users with untrained eyes.

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