What Is the Difference Between OLED and LED TVs?

Choosing the best television for an entertainment setup requires some knowledge of current technologies. When looking for a quality HDTV, consumers have three options, which are LCD, LED and OLED TVs. LEDs are simply LCDs that use a different type of backlighting for illuminating the screen. While LED and OLED sound the same, there are some big differences between these two technologies. When comparing the two television types, consumers look at illumination methods, energy efficiency and price.

Illumination Methods


LED TVs use light emitting diodes to illuminate the screen. This technology replaced fluorescent bulbs that are seen in LCD panels. There are three different methods of arranging the LEDs, and each type alters the viewing experience. White-edge LED TVs feature LEDs around the edge of the screen. A diffusion panel spreads the light evenly behind the screen. LED arrays arrange the LEDs behind the screen. Dynamic LED TVs are the most popular type because the LEDs are arranged in clusters for controlling light patterns. Consumers often prefer LED over LCD because the different light source offers brighter whites and deeper blacks for higher contrast.

OLED TVs are self-illuminating devices that use organic light emitting diodes with carbon as a base. Each flat panel features millions of small OLEDs that can control the luminescence of individual pixels. There are two different types of OLED technology, which include RGB and white OLED. The RGB OLED combines red, green and blue, which pass through a filter to produce the picture. White OLED starts out as a white light before passing through a color filter. The latter type is preferred due to the longer life of white LEDs and lower chance of color shifting. Along with thinner and lighter screens, OLED technology comes with several other advantages.

  • A combination of bright whites and the deepest blacks creates the highest contrast.
  • OLEDs are the fastest devices for changing intensity, which prevents motion blur when watching movies or television.
  • OLED TVs have the ability to create more colors than LED and LCD models.
  • By only lighting up regions of the screen that need it, OLED TVs eliminate uneven lighting issues.
  • This technology offers the widest viewing angle for clear and bright pictures no matter the viewer’s location in the room.

Energy Efficiency


LED TVs offer lower power consumption that their LCD counterparts. The LED lamps behind the screen are designed to shut off areas for producing black colors, and this process saves energy. On the other hand, OLED TVs offer even higher energy efficiency with their self-illuminating technology. They do not require lamps or extra lighting sources and offer the lowest power consumption. LEDs illuminate the entire screen while OLEDs have the ability to shut off entire regions. OLED TVs draw power from electrical currents and do not need active currents to run. Even with energy savings, consumers still look at overall price before making a decision.

Price Comparison


LED TVs were first introduced in 2009, and the OLED technology emerged about three years later. As the newer technology, OLED TVs run higher in terms of price. Screen sizes are comparable with OLEDs ranging from 55 to 65 inches. Those who are interested in purchasing an OLED TV may want to wait a few years as the price is expected to drop with time.



The main difference between LED and OLED TVs is the illumination method. LED provided major improvements to the fluorescent bulbs used in LCDs and plasmas, and OLED added more benefits to the user. LED TVs offered better contrast than LCDs for its deeper black and brighter colors; although, the illuminating lamps behind the screen tended to wash out the blacks. OLED fixed this problem by using self-illuminating technology to produce the deepest black colors and best contrast. Both technologies offer thinner large screens with high energy efficiency. As the price gap decreases over time, consumer preference is likely to shift toward OLED TVs for the best viewing experience.

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