LED TV vs OLED TV : Which one you should choose between them?
After the death of Plasma TV, there are two dominant technologies that used for TV, OLED and LED. But for a while or at least until now, LED TV is still more dominant than OLED TVs. We can see from the reality of what happened at this time, from the many of TVs which available in the market, LED TVs is much more dominant than OLED TVs. Form big names of TV manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Vizio, LG, Sharp, and more, there is only LG that released OLED TVs, while there is no OLED TVs from other manufactures available in the market. One reason may be due to the high cost of production, so at their view, this might be less profitable in the business side. But of course, the real reason why they didn’t release OLED TV, of course they have their own consideration.
OLED TVs claimed offers better performance in almost aspects of picture quality but it is pricier than LED TVs. In other hand, OLED TV is only available on limited sizes, usually above 50” so this makes OLED TV is not for everybody. There are only certain people with deep pockets who will not be objected to spend their huge money to get OLED TVs. But this doesn’t mean there is no LED TV that sold more expensive than OLED TVs. With the same Screen, Sony Z9D is sold much more expensive than most of models of LG’s 2016 OLED TV, unless the flagship G6 Series. Let’s start to discuss side by side the comparison of LED TVs and OLED TVs. This comparison applies for the maximum performance which might be reached by a LED TVs and OLED TVs
Black level is how dark a TV displays black section of the picture. It is one of the most important aspects in picture quality because along with peak brightness, it is a component of contrast that has impact on the naturalness of the picture. The performance of black level is greatly influenced by dimming technology of behind a TV.
Although there is no term of local dimming behind OLED TV, but actually it has local dimming with dimming zones as many as the amount of pixels or called pixel dimming. It is due each of pixels of OLED TV can turn on/off/dimming individually without being influenced by the condition of the surrounding pixels. With other words, OLED TV with 4K resolution has about 8 million pixels that mean it is equal with LED TV with 8 million dimming zones. And of course it is unlikely to be achieved by LED TVs because physical shape of LEDs that used for backlighting is bigger than pixel itself. As the comparison, Samsung KS9800 as the top model of Samsung’s 2016 4K TV lineup has about 320 dimming zones, while Vizio P series has about 128 dimming zones. The flagship Sony 4K TV lineup with single LED local dimming has about 600 dimming zones.
That’ why OLED TV offers deeper black level than LED TVs, event in fact the blacks that reached by OLED TV is perfect or nearly 0 nits of black level. As comparison Samsung KS9800 with 320 dimming zones reach about 0.014 nits of black level while Sony with a lot more dimming zones can reach about 0.0003 nits of black level.
Winner : OLED TV
Light Output (Peak Brightness)
The opposite of black level, peak brightness is how bright a TV can reach. The brighter peak brightness of A TV, the picture that displayed is also brighter. This will be useful to makes the detail of the picture looks clearer in room with a lot of lights especially for highlighted area. But when they are playing SDR contents in dark room, the high level of peak brightness is not too important. As we know, we will be difficult to see details of the picture if the picture is too dim while the room is very. In this case a peak brightness of a TV has important role. The brighter a TV can reach, the reflection can more be minimized, so detail in sunlight highlighted area will look clearer. Additionally, peak brightness is also one of the most important components of HDR for exploiting the sun highlighted area of the picture so looks more detail and makes the highlights in an image looks extra bright.
As the impact of the use of backlight, the screen of LED TV is brighter than OLED TV. As the comparison, the peak brightness reached LG G6 series as the flagship of LG’s 2016 4K TV lineup is about 650 nits while Samsung KS9500 can reach much more that is about 1500 nits of peak brightness, even KS9800 as the Samsung’s 2016 flagship or Sony Z9D as the flagship of Sony’s 2016 lineup can reach more.
Winner : LED TV
Contrast Ratio is the main component of picture quality. It is the ratio of luminance between brightest color (white) and darkest color (black). A value of contrast ratio is got by divided the white luminance by the black luminance. As the example, a TV with deepest black level 0.01 nits and white luminance 100 nits has 100: 0.01 = 10000:1 of contrast ratio. The higher contrast ratio a TV can reach, the quality of the images produced is better because the picture would look more realistic. And because black level is a divider, the difference at black level will be more influential to contrast ratio than the difference at peak brightness. And of course it also affects to the quality of images produced by a TV particularly when displaying dark scenes.
OLED TV with perfect black level or 0 nits of black level delivers infinite contrast ratio, no matter hoe bright peak brightness can be reached. Different case for LED TVs, although it can reach much brighter peak whites than OLED TVs, because there is a specific value for the black level as the divider, of course the contrast ratio that resulted is also limited. Because contrast ratio is the most important component of picture quality, that’s why in term of picture quality, OLED TV is superior to LED TVs.
Winner: OLED TV
New high-end LED TVs like Samsung SUHD TVs or LG SUHD TVs already use quantum dot technology as the color technology behind them. This makes all of them can deliver wider color gamut than a TV with conventional color technology. Moreover to display HDR picture quality, a TV must supports wider color gamut at least 90% of DCI P3 color space. As we know, DCI P3 color space is RGB color space that was introduced by SMPTE in 2007. The color coverage of DCI P3 is much wider than Rec.709 that was introduced in 1990. The other ITU recommendation that has more color coverage is Rec.2020 that first introduced in 2016. Ec.2020 is the color coverage standardization that used by Dolby Vision format.
Back to the topic, most of Samsung SUHD TVs with like KS9800 or KS9500 with quantum dot technology behind them can cover about 95% of DCI P3 color space. The new models of LG’s OLED TVs B6, C6, E6, and the flagship G6 series uses Blue and yellow phosphor as the addition for standard RGB color filter. As the result, LG OLED TVs also can cover more than 95% of DCI P3 Color spaces. This means color gamut delivered by LED TV and OLED TV can be said impartial depends on each TV.
Winner : Impartial
You need to know, the main cause of the quality of the picture on the screen of LED TV looks to deteriorate from side viewing angle is the use of backlighting. The worse result is got by LED TVs with edge lit backlight. LED TV with VA type of panel usually has critical angel at 20 degrees, meaning if the viewing angle is wider than 20 degrees of center and front, the quality of the picture will be degraded. A few TVs like LG UH9500 or Sony X850D use IPS panel that claimed offer wider angle where their critical angle is about 35 degrees. Different case with OLED TV, because it doesn’t use backlight, they have critical angle up to 80 degrees off center and front. From here we can conclude OLED TV offers much wider viewing angle than LED TV, even with IPS panel or curved panel claimed Samsung also offer wider viewing angle.
Winner : OLED TV
Talking about motion blur, this certainly has to do when they are displaying video contents with fast scenes and the native frequency of refresh rate of a TV. Refresh rate mean how much frames a TV can displays in one second. TV with 12 Hz refresh rate means it can display 120 frames per second. Logically, the higher refresh rate of a TV, the response time of pixel is quicker although this did not rule out the possibility TVs with the same refresh rate has a difference in pixel response time. You need to know, pixel response time is how quickly pixels can change color. It has a big impact on how great a TV can minimize motion blur. And the quicker response time of pixel, the motion blur can more be minimized.
A high end LED TVs and OLED TVs has the same native refresh rate that is 120 Hz although lower model of LED TVs usually comes with native 60 Hz refresh rate panel. But although they have the same native refresh rate, OLED TV offers quicker pixel response time than LED TVs. As example Sony X930 as the premium LED TV with fastest response time offer about 10 ms pixel response time while all model of LG;s 2016 OLED TVs offers about 0.1 ms. This means when they are displaying fast moving images, motion blur will be more visible on the screen of LED TVs.
Winner: OLED TV
As we have discussed above, almost in alls aspect of picture quality, OLED TV is superior to LED TV. The only advantage of LED TV than OLED TVs is about peak brightness that reached. In term of color gamut, their difference in color coverage is not too significant, we will assume their performance is impartial. And as we know, contrast ratio is the most important component of picture quality because it also will influence the vibrancy of color delivered. The higher contrast ratio a TV, the color of the picture produced will look more vibrant. Because OLED TVs can reach 0 nits or perfect black level where there is no TV can reach, this make OLED TVs offers better picture quality than LED TVs. While the advantage of LED TVs at peak brightness is not too influential to the picture quality produced as long as the TV is used in dark room despite it is one of most important components of HDR.
But unfortunately, there are no OLED TVs that sold with affordable price. With the same price, the price that offered for OLED TV is similar to the price of premium LED TVs or even much more expensive. So, which should you choose between LED TV and OLED TV? This course is depends on your needs. If you need a bright TV for bright room, of course LED TV is the better choice. But If you main consideration is picture quality, of course OLED TV is a better choice despite in a plain view, there is a LED TV like Sony Z9D that claimed can quite enough to match OLED TV. But of course, it doesn’t really beat OLED TV in term of picture quality.