LED TVs and OLED (Organic LED) TVs are popular because of their low power consumption, superior picture quality, and light build. However, LED TVs and OLED TVs are vastly different in terms of cost, lifespan, technology, and potential size.
OLED TVs are said to have better picture quality, use less power, and have a much faster response time than LED TVs. But OLED technology is still relatively new, meaning OLED TVs are more expensive, and their lifespan has not yet been tested to match the 100,000-hour lifespan of LEDs.
Though OLED TVs are thinner and weigh less, they also come in fewer large sizes. Unlike LED TVs, which go up to 90 inches in size, the largest OLED to date is only 55 inches, though this may change very soon.
|LED TV||OLED TV|
|Thickness||LED edge backlit LCD TVs are thinner than CCFL LCD TVs. Often less than 1 inch.||OLED TVs are thinner than LED TVs (hence all other TVs) because of the size of their diodes|
|Power consumption||LED-lit LCD TVs consume less power around 70% compared to plasma TVs.||Requires less power than an LCD or Plasma TV|
|Screen size||Up to 90 inches||Up to 55 inches (yet)|
|Burn-in||Burn-in is very rare||Burn-in is unlikely, but OLED TVs are susceptible to burn-in if TV is abused.|
|Life span||Around 100,000 hours||Not yet tested. Recent improvements allow up to 43,800 hours|
|Cost||$100 (small size and very low end) - $25,000||$9,000 - $15,000|
|Viewing angle||The brightness and color on LCD TVs shift noticeably over the screen and depending on viewing angle||170 degree viewing angle|
|Contrast Ratio (difference between the deepest black compared to the brightest white)||Worse than plasma TVs. All LCDs produce brighter whites, but brighter blacks as well. Locally-dimmable LED backlit LCD TVs can mitigate this to improve contrast ratios.||Infinite contrast ratio; much better than LED|
|Weight||Lighter compared to plasma TV||Lighter compared to LED TV|
|Brightness and colour||Brighter than plasma or OLED||Not as bright as LED|
|Screen Thickness||Thinner than LCD, plasma||Even thinner than LED (hence other TVs)|
|Energy Use||Less for dynamically backlit LCD TVs, about as much for statically backlit ones.||Less than LED TVs|
|Mechanism||Light emitting diodes||Organic Light emitting diodes|
|Picture Quality||Better than most TVs, but not as good as OLED||Better than LED TV and other TVs|
LED stands for light-emitting diode. These are little solid-state devices that make light because of the movement of electrons through a semi-conductor. LEDs are relatively small compared to compact incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs, but they can get extremely bright. However, LEDs aren’t small enough to be used as the pixels of a television. That’s why LEDs are only used as the backlight for LED televisions. LED televisions function by using an LCD screen to control the light flow of LED diodes that serve as backlighting.
OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode. Very simply put, an OLED is made with organic compounds that light up when fed electricity. OLEDs can be made to be extremely thin, small and remarkably flexible. On an OLED TV, each pixel lights itself up independently of the others.
Size and Weight
Ranging in size from only a few inches up to 90 inches and encompassing every size in between, LED displays have the advantage over other display types. LED displays are also fairly thin and light, but still have more thickness and weight than OLED counterparts because of the larger size of LED diodes that give the display its backlighting.
OLED displays currently reach only up to 55 inches and do not have a large range of sizes available for production. These TVs, however, are much thinner and lighter than their LED counterparts as the size of its organic diodes is extremely small.
In terms of picture quality, OLED outweighs LED TV in almost every aspect.
The better local-dimming LEDs can have a decent apparent contrast ratio, although in general they are mediocre. Because OLED can turn its pixels off, it effectively has an infinite contrast ratio, making OLED much better in this category.
Resolution for LED TVs has steadily increased over the years, and with some of the newest displays the pixel count can soar up into the 4000 range. OLED manufacturers, on the other hand, have as yet only developed 1080p models.
LED TVs are extremely bright and so have a slight advantage over OLEDs in this category. OLED displays can be bright too, but cranking OLED pixels to maximum brightness for extended periods not only reduces the pixels' lifespan, but the pixels also take a little while to return to total black. However, LED TVs are only technically brighter overall for a full white screen. If a viewer has in mind a small white rectangle within a larger black screen, OLED may appear brighter with actual typical home viewing.
While LED has an excellent array of colors that it can produce, the difference in diode technology between it and an OLED allows the OLED display to create a significantly wider gamut of color space. This means that it can generate more colors in finer shades than its counterpart.
LED TVs rely on LED backlights shining behind an LCD panel, so they struggle to produce dark blacks, even with advanced dimming technology that dims LEDs that don’t need to be on at full blast. They also suffer from light bleeding out from the edges.
OLED TVs suffer from none of those problems. If an OLED pixel isn’t getting electricity, it doesn’t produce any light, and is therefore totally black. OLED displays far outshine LEDs in this category.
LED TVs have been around for a significant amount of time and have proven that they can reliably last through up to 100,000 hours of use.
OLED TVs are unproven when it comes to lifespan due to their recent development and limited use in that time span. Some of the colors within these types of displays can have different lifespans, and will go out at different times. As one color degrades, it will affect the rest, which makes this an issue. The compound used to create the color blue in OLED televisions is known to have a shorter life span. Samsung appears to be battling this issue by using a blue pixel that is twice the size of other colors and reducing the amount of voltage applied to it. LG uses white sub-pixels and lays a color filter over them to create the desired red, green and blue colors. These bandages may very well work, but only time and use in the public arena can tell how OLED will hold up on the long term.
To begin with, LED displays use up to 20-30% less less power than other LCD type displays. OLED displays are typically superior to LEDs in power consumption, using less power in general and functioning more efficiently due to the capacity of individual diodes to turn off without affecting the other diodes.
While LED/LCD TVs have improved considerably over the past few years, OLED simply blows them out of the water in terms of response time, with some sources reporting up to 1000 times the speed. In fact, OLED currently offers the fastest response time of any TV technology in use today, making it a clear winner in this regard. With faster response time comes less motion blur and less artifacts.
Due to the nature of LED technology, LED TVs are not susceptible to the phenomenon known as "burn-in", where a display has a picture permanently burned into the screen.
OLED screens are not likely to ever produce a burn-in effect, but are nonetheless susceptible to it. If a diode burns long enough and bright enough, it will eventually die out prematurely, but this would only happen if a viewer abused their television by leaving it on the same exact image or set of images for days on end.
LED TVs actually attempt to block light in the way they are designed. So due to the need of the human eye to catch light to see a display, these TVs have less than optimal viewing angles.
While OLED TVs should offer perfect viewing angles since OLEDs produce light rather than attempt to block it, the only models available in the US now are curved, which may not be ideal: First, the side that is curved away from an off-axis viewer will be less visible than that curved towards the viewer. Second, because of the curve, anti-glare coatings tend to tint the image when viewed from extreme angles. Even then, OLED technology is still superior in this regard in relation to LED.
LED TVs can range anywhere from $100 for a cheap, off brand, 19 inch television to as high as $25,000+ for a top-of-the-line 84 inch model.
OLED tvs are relatively new, therefore still very expensive. The few models currently available range from $9,000-$15,000. With time, OLEDs will likely drop in price just as LED TVs have.