LCD, LED, Or OLED: Which is Best for You?
When it comes to digital screen technology, three labels come to our minds. These are LCD, LED, and OLED. These three technologies are widespread in use today.
Each one of them offers unique features that make them advantageous in various applications. But how do these three differ from one another?
What makes one or the other the most preferred screen for advertising, graphic design, or video sharing?
To help you understand which one works best for a particular application and which one is most suitable for your needs, we provide you the essential information about LCD, LED, and OLED.
1. Definition Of Terms
A. What Is An LCD Display?
A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a type of flat panel digital display or other EOM optical device that uses liquid crystals and polarizers in its primary operation.
The images will produce when the polarization of linearly polarized lights rotate. The liquid crystals used in LCDs make it possible.
LCDs do not emit their lights directly. Instead, they use a reflector, otherwise known as a backlight, to produce colorful or monochromatic images.
In other words, liquid-crystal displays are not capable of producing their lights. They are using fluorescent lamps as backlit that shines through the glass screen, which illuminates the crystals.
LCD is the first monitor technology that allowed digital displays to be so much thinner than the cathode ray tube technology. LCDs have become well-known because of the existence of flat-screen display monitors.
Many of the LCDs are still in the active phase as of today. LCDs are widely used in computer monitors, televisions, aircraft cockpit displays, projectors, and other digital signages. LCDs are also commonly found in portable digital electronics like mobile phones, digital camcorders, digital clocks, watches, and calculators.
B. What Is An LED Display?
Light-emitting diodes display is also a flat panel display that uses multiple LEDs as its source of light. It is named after the backlighting technology used in making it, which is, again, the light-emitting diodes.
The development of LED panel screens is in conjunction with an LCD screen/monitor. The LED display also features liquid crystals that block and pass light, though it does not use a fluorescent lamp. Instead, it uses extra small lights called LEDs as its light source.
There are two backlighting methods used in LED screens. One is full-array backlighting, where LEDs are situated evenly across the entire screen panel; the other is Edge Lighting, where LEDs are placed only on the screen edges.
LED displays have been around for over 50 years already, but what makes LEDs popular is when the white LEDs are developed. LEDs became a more preferred alternative as a source of light not only on screens but at home in general.
They are now widely used in different signages, advertising screens, public vehicles, and they are even used as decorative lights for stage lighting, etc.
The LED display can produce sufficiently bright light that is detectable even if you put your screen outdoors under direct sunlight.
C. What Is An OLED Display?
An organic light-emitting diode or organic LED is a flat panel light-emitting technology that does not need a backlit because it produces visible light.
The OLED screen has thin films of organic compounds placed between two conductors inside the screen. When the flow of electric charges goes through those emissive electroluminescent film layers, they emit light.
Because of the carbon-based organic plastic materials used for OLED screens, OLED screens can now be thinner and more lightweight but still produce bright light.
Nowadays, OLED technology is applied in creating digital screens in electronic devices such as computer monitors, tv screens, cell phone screens, game consoles monitors, etc.
The OLED technology has two (2) varieties: The RGB OLED and The White OLED. The former uses red, green, blue pixels that produce white light when electric charges go through it. White OLED uses white light that goes across a color filter. As a result, it creates different colors visible on the screen.
OLEDs are considered the modern digital display technology of today.
A. How Does LCD Technology Work?
The LCD screen has millions of tiny blocks of picture elements called pixels. These pixels have red, green, and blue colors, which switch on and off rapidly to make a moving colored picture. The liquid crystals cause the switching of pixels.
Behind each light crystal display (LCD), a light source shines out towards the screen. And in front of this, millions of pixels with polarizing glass filters are placed. Another glass filter is placed next to it at 90 degrees. Between these two filters, there is a liquid crystal that can be twisted and untwisted electronically.
When it is switched off, the liquid crystal rotates the light 90 degrees to move through the filters. This will make the pixels to be bright. On the other hand, it will not twist the light to get blocked by the second polarizer when switched on. This makes the pixel look dark.
These pixels can be switched on and off multiple times within a second. That resulted in the moving picture you can see on the screen.
B. How Does LED Technology Work?
The LED screens work by emitting light in red, green, and blue colors directly from the screen display’s surface.
LED displays can produce display images and pictures, but they can also offer general illumination.
The light is created via a phenomenon called electroluminescence in the semiconductor materials found in LED screens.
When an electric current passes through a light-emitting material, the electric current’s electrons fill up the electron holes. When an electron passes through liquid crystals, the electron fills the electron holes, resulting in photons’ emission, otherwise known as light.
There are three light configurations applied in LED screens: the direct-lit, edge-lit, and full array.
Direct-lit uses the least number of light-emitting diodes. The LEDs are more extensive and cannot be operated individually. It is ideal for more comprehensive and cheaper LED displays.
In edge-lit LED screens, the LEDs are placed only at the edges of your screen. This type of configuration is commonly used in LED TVs.
Complete array configuration has LEDs equally distributed within the screen to produce more consistent and dynamic colors.
C. How Does OLED Technology Work?
The OLED display is made up of carbon-based conductor materials. When electric charges are applied to these materials, they produce light.
The most simplistic way to make OLED work is by placing an emissive electroluminescent layer between the cathode and the anode materials. The cathode releases the electrons, and the anode removes them.
We can drive the OLED screen displays with both passive-matrix and active-matrix control schemes. A Passive-matrix control scheme only allows sequential control in LED display, meaning one by one.
The active-matrix control scheme contrarily uses a film transistor that gives you direct access to individual pixels, which allows you to switch each pixel on or off.
Unlike LCDs, OLED only uses one glass panel because it does not need a fluorescent lamp or backlight like an LCD. This makes OLED screens thinner and has deeper black color since each LED is individually lit.
Modern OLEDs are even bi-layers—many new ways to construct OLED screens in today’s advanced digital technology use various layer configurations.
3. Differences Of LCD, LED, And OLED
When it comes to brightness level, the LED display offers the best brightness level.
LED uses self-light-emitting diodes that give LED screens a high brightness level. LCD, on the other hand, uses CCFL technology that only uses a backlight. It does not produce its light. LCDs can also make an ample amount of brightness for digital display, but they cannot level with LED screens’ brightness.
OLED can also offer a decent level of screen brightness. Because OLED has the most blackness level (which is an essential aspect of displaying high-quality images), it contrasts dark spots and shines on the screen.
Unfortunately, you cannot keep your OLED screen at its max brightness level because it will result in a reduced lifespan.
It means that if you are only considering which screen can deliver a high brightness level for continued use without affecting the screen’s performance, the LED screen is the best among the three.
Ranking: 1. LED; 2. OLED; 3. LCD
B. Color Quality/Brightness
Like you, one of the qualities users look for in the digital screen is its ability to deliver excellent color performance. Creative visual display with impressive graphic effects and animations will only be as effective as it should when played using a screen that can produce high-quality colors.
With this consideration, your choice must lean towards the OLED display. The more advanced technology used in OLED allows it to have better color portrayal.
The OLED screen can offer a high-definition resolution, especially in dark rooms. Because it has a more profound black quality that gives it a higher ratio contrast, it provides your visual display extra depth.
However, the LED screen can also offer better color brightness, richer tone, and better color accuracy. Because of the LED screen’s improved RGB light technology, you can also have a high-quality display with well-saturated colors.
Again, since LCDs do not have their light source, we cannot compare the color quality to LED-powered displays.
If you search for an electronic display screen that you can rely on for its high-definition resolution, you can either choose LED or OLED.
Ranking: 1. OLED 2. LED. 3. LCD
C. Contrast Ratio
The OLED offers the highest contrast. When you turn off your OLED screen or go black, there is no light produced by its pixels. That is the darkest a digital screen can go. That also means that with OLED, you can have an infinite contrast ratio.
The LED screens come second in this list. The LED screen also offers a good contrast ratio. It gives a high enough contrast ratio that allows you to display high-quality images. This screen is also an excellent choice if you are seeking a screen with good contrast.
LCD is third on the list. Since LCD screens are highly dependent on the backlight, you may notice that the black portions of images displayed on the screen are not black because the separate backlight in the screen reflects through the screen surface. This is most evident when you place the screen in a dark room.
Ranking: 1. OLED; 2. LED; 3. LCD
D. Viewing Angle
Viewing angles is another essential aspect of digital screen displays because the audiences view a digital display not always parallel to their faces but from various angles.
OLED vs. LED. For this one, OLED offers a better viewing angle. The main reason for this is that OLED technology is thinner, and its pixels are closer to the surface. You can view OLED digital screens from an extreme viewing angle with no screen luminance degradation.
LED vs. LCD. We can say that LCD has the worst viewing angle; LCD generally has a lower viewing angle. If you notice that your monitor or screen looks shadowy from some angles, that can mean that it uses a nematic panel- an LCD panel that offers a low viewing angle.
Overall, the viewing angle category is something that OLED and LED have the more significant advantage.
Ranking: 1. OLED; 2. LED; 3. LCD
E. Price Point
LCD vs. LED display. Affordability-wise, you can expect that an LCD screen display is less expensive than an LED display. The very reason why LCD TV or LCD screens are cheaper is the technology used in manufacturing them. LCD screens are heavier, thicker, and use an older version of lighting technology than the one used in an LED display.
LED vs. OLED. Typically, the more advanced the technology is, the higher its price market would be. That analogy is perfectly applicable for mini led vs. OLED display price comparison. Since OLED utilizes newer technology, you can expect that it is also more expensive.
For OLED vs. LED vs. LCD screens, it is apparent that you can purchase the LCD screen at a cheaper price point.
Ranking: 1. LCD; 2. LED; 3. OLED
To know which is better, LED vs. LCD, when it comes to performance, use the first five differences as your basis. Those aspects typically constitute a screen performance.
When it comes to lifespan, the LED displays can have a longer lifespan.
This is mainly because the LED bulbs can last longer than any fluorescent lamp.
The LEDs may remain running for more or less (10) years, while fluorescent lamps can only last for less than five (5) years.
Both the LED and the OLED screens use LEDs. Since screens have been around for a long time, it has already proven its ability to last longer and be a reliable digital screen that serves various purposes.
While the OLED is still considered new technology, it has yet to prove that it can have a longer lifespan.
For this category, the LED screen is the most preferred option.
Ranking: 1. LED; 2. OLED; 3. LCD
4. Advantages and Disadvantages
A. What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of LCD Displays?
- LCDs are relatively cheaper because they are created using older technology.
- LCDs have significantly less risk of burn-in. It is suitable for gaming purposes because many video games can cause excessive image retention.
- LCD now supports LED backlighting technology.
- LCD screens are thicker and heavier compared to LED and OLED screens.
- Not all LCD screens are 4k ready.
- LCD consumes more power and more electricity cost.
- Also, it offers lower contrast which results in less clear image displays.
- LCD screens have a shorter lifespan than LEDs.
B. What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of
- LED displays have a longer lifespan. The average lifespan of an LED screen is ten (10) years. When you use it for only 10 – 12 hours a day, it can last for up to 12-15 years.
- It offers higher contrast and better color quality for more vivid and clear image displays.
- LED displays are greener and energy-efficient.
- LED displays to have thinner, sleeker, and lighter structure designs.
- It delivers ultra-HD resolution that lets you display or play the latest programs and media files.
- LED displays are solid-state lighting (SSL). They are made from solid materials with no bulb or tubes that we can easily break.
- It can light up instantly within milliseconds. No warm-up is needed.
- LED displays are more environmentally friendly. No mercury and other hazardous chemicals or substances are used in manufacturing the LED displays.
- LED displays’ color and brightness can be adjusted using a controller or screen buttons.
- LED displays are more expensive than LCDs. This only refers to the initial cost or upfront cost of LED screens.
- LED displays require accurate voltage and current that flows at a constant level. This will require expertise in electronics.
- LED displays have a higher risk of image retention.
C. What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of OLED Displays?
- OLED displays are made using lighter, thinner, and more flexible organic plastic materials.
- It can have plastic substrates instead of glass so they can be folded and rolled without breaking.
- OLED displays can be brighter than other digital displays because OLED can be multi-layered.
- It consumes less power because they do not use backlights.
- OLED displays are more comfortable to manufacture in bigger sizes.
- It offers the widest viewing angle among the three digital screens.
- OLED displays are the newest display technology in the market.
- Water intrusions can easily damage OLED displays.
- The manufacturing cost for OLED displays is expensive right now.
- OLED displays can perform poorly brightness when used outdoors. It is not as visible as other LED displays when hit by direct sunlight.
- OLED displays have a shorter lifespan than LED displays.
When choosing the right digital screen for your gaming, advertising, and personal needs, you must learn how each type of screen works. It is essential to know what each can and cannot offer to you as a user.
The LED screen is the most reliable digital screen display that there is in the market.
When it comes to overall performance and lifespan, you can say that the LED screen is the most dependable.
However, there are also some things the OLED and LCD can offer. If you are looking for a more flexible screen for your creative digital display, you can rely on OLED. And if you prefer to have a monitor that promises a minimal risk of screen burn, LCD is one for you.
Alongside, if you’re looking for better consultation and want answers with the LED questions in your mind, YUCHIP will be there to enlighten you. Among our services include providing reliable solutions to help you choose and determine the best display you need. We provide trade show displays, transportation, 3D LED, school sign, theater display, advertising LED, flexible, product customization, and a lot more.