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IPS TV vs VA Panel TV – Advantages and Disadvantages

by on January 4, 2017
 
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If you are searching LED TV, you will find two most popular panel technology behind them, IPS (In-Plane Switching) and VA (Vertical Alignment) panel. For determining which one suit to your preferences, of course you should know first the native characteristics of each. In the market, you will TV with VA panel on All Samsung TVs, Vizio TVs, and part of Sony TVs. Meanwhile, most of LG TVs and other part of Sony TVs usually use IPS Panel. One of the major advantages of TV with IPS panel than VA panel as most of people already know is about viewing angle where it offers much wider viewing angle. But of course, viewing angle is not the only the main thing that should be considering in choosing between these panel technologies. There are also some other aspects that should be considered before you choose IPS TV or VA TV.

Pixel Structure

Before we discuss about the difference between IPS Panel and VA panel, this would be better if we know first how LCD Display work. LCD is short of Liquid Crystal Display. Referring to the name, LCD consists of tons of pixels where each of pixels consists of liquid crystals in the colored small packets where each of packets called sub pixel.  One pixel or colored small packets usually consist of 3 sub pixels (RGB). Meanwhile, behind it there is backlight as the light sources. When each of liquid crystals is charged by electric current, they will react and change position to pass up or block light from the backlight depending on their position. The change position of liquid crystal is controlled by electric current.  As example, when the pixel displays white color, liquid crystal is charged by maximum electric current and this will makes maximum change position of liquid crystal and pass up all light pass through. In other hand when the pixel is displaying black color, there is no current electricity charges the liquid crystal so make their position doesn’t change so they block all light pass through. Another case, when it is displaying red color, red liquid crystal will be charged by maximum current so its position will change to pass up the light pass through while the other colored packets (in this case are blue and green) are not charged by electric current so their position doesn’t change to block all light pass though.

While the major difference between IPS panel and VA panel is how their liquid crystal aligned. Liquid Crystals of IPS panel are aligned horizontally at all times. When they are charged by electric current, they will rotate to pass up the light out. Meanwhile, the liquid crystals of VA panel are aligned vertically. Once they are charged by electric current, they will move to a horizontal position and then rotate to pass up the light out. Under conditions of no current, vertical alignment block light pass through more efficient than horizontal alignment. This is why VA TV usually reaches deeper black level than IPS TV. In other hand, when they are charged by current, liquid crystal on IPS panel rotates only while on VA Panel, they will move to horizontal position and then rotate. This is why IPS TV usually has faster pixel response time than VA TV.

VA TV vs IPS TV Side By Side

Viewing Angle

LG IPS Panel

Viewing Angle in here refers to the maximum angle at which the TV can maintain the picture quality produced without look drop in contrast and color. And as we know, IPS TV has an advantage than VA Panel in here. The picture that displayed on the screen of TV with VA panel usually will look degraded started at 20 degrees off center and front. Meanwhile, TV with IPS panel usually offers wider viewing angle that is about 36 degrees to 50 degrees off center and front. This might not as wide as what offered by OLED TVs where they offer virtually perfect viewing angle or almost at 90 degrees, but what offered by IPS TV is still great, at least much wider than what offered by VA TV. The benefit, you will be easier to get the best viewing when set your seat and TV in your room.

Winner: IPS TV

Contrast

good-vs-poor-black-levels

The difference in pixel structure also has impact on the contrast that produced. As we have mentioned, VA panel with liquid crystal aligned vertically can block the light pass through more efficiently than liquid crystal that aligned horizontally. This means TV with VA panel can reach far deeper blacks than TV with IPS Panel that course it can produced stronger native contrast ratio. LED TV with VA Panel usually can produce native contrast ratio between 3000:1 – 7000:1 while IPS TV only can deliver contrast ratio in the surrounding of 1000:1. As the comparison, with the similar price, Samsung KS8000 can reach about 0.015 nits of black level with native contrast ratio about 6900:1 while LG UH8500 can reach about 0.084 nits of black level with native contrast ratio about 1200:1. The impact, black level produced by IPS TV will look tend to gray when in a dark room. In other hand, since HDR technology came on TV where HDR 10 format requires 0.05 nits or lower of black level, until now, there is no IPS TV that meets the minimum standardization of HDR 10, let alone Dolby Vision that requires almost 0 nits of black level. In other hand, what reached by VA TV may not as dark as what reached by OLED TV that can reach 0 nits of black level, but at least, for displaying HDR 10 fully, it is quite dark.

Winner: VA TV

Black Uniformity

Black uniformity is the evenness of blacks that can be delivered by a TV at a whole of the screen. This will be very influential on the picture quality when TV is displaying dark scenes in a dark room. For this case, black uniformity of VA screen is better than IPS Screen. Dark scenes that displayed on the screen of VA TV look more evenly than if they are displayed on the screen of IPS TV and this will be more noticeable in a dark room.

Winner: VA TV

Color Accuracy

Although this is not directly caused by differences in pixel structure behind IPS and VA panel technology and caused more the difference in black level and contrast ratio, VA TV tend to deliver slight better color accuracy than IPS TV. As we know, depth of black level and contrast ratio is indirectly has an impact on the accuracy of color that produced. This means with the same technology, VA TV usually offers better color accuracy than IPS TV. This is not about wide color gamut that produced but more inclined at the final image that is generated. Of course, not all TVs with VA panel offer better color accuracy than IPS TV because this also depends on the color gamut that can be covered by each.

Winner: VA TV

Pixel Response Time

As mentioned, due to the difference in how each of panels works, TV with IPS panel usually offers better  pixel response time than TV with VA panel. I say in here “usually” because not all IPS TV has faster response time than VA TV. Pixel response time in here means how quickly each pixel can change the color. The impact is motion blur following fast moving object when they are displaying fast moving images like sports program or fast movies.  In this case, motion blur will be more noticeable on the screen of TV with VA panel than IPS panel when they are displaying fast moving images.

Winner: IPS TV

Conclusion

As we have discussed a lot above, VA panel and IPS panel have advantages and disadvantages than each other. This means IPS TV is not always better than VA TV or contrariwise. As we have discussed, IPS panel offers wider viewing angle and faster pixel response time than VA Panel. Contrary, VA panel offer deeper black level, stronger contrast, better black uniformity, and also better color accuracy. The latter is more due the difference in black level and contrast ratio produced by them. Choosing between them would certainly be better if accorded to your needs. This means, if you will use your TV in wide living room with many viewers where you need TV with wider viewing angle, of course IPS TV is a better. Additionally, IPS TV is also better to be used for watching sports program. In other hand, if your main consideration is picture quality without regard to the viewing angle that can be covered, VA TV is a better. Furthermore since HDR technology came on TV, if you care about HDR performance, of course TV with VA panel is a better, especially that certified by Ultra HD Premium. Meanwhile until now, there is no ITV with IPS Panel that comes with Ultra HD Premium Certification.

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