What is the difference between LED vs OLED display
Vladimir Sereda / Splaitor Media

It’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago many people admired a color kinescope TV, but today they are already choosing between LED and OLED technology. Choosing a suitable model of modern TV device, corresponding to their financial capabilities, is not so easy today. The choice is complicated by the marketing trend of manufacturers, each of which promotes its direction.

These two technologies, similar in name, often have a significant price difference. Therefore, it is important to clearly understand the advantages and disadvantages of modern LED and OLED TVs, what are their similarities and fundamental differences.

What are the features of LED TVs?

Most modern TV models are based on an LCD matrix. But unlike the predecessors of LCD TVs, which used CCFL lamps as sources of light, these devices use more modern and resistant to burnout LEDs.

Despite all the differences and the use of different types of backlighting, the principle of operation of LED models is the same. Speaking of how they are arranged, visually we can imagine a large number of grids, equipped with different LEDs. Further, all the LEDs are passed through a special filter, and depending on the voltage of the electric current are either brighter or vice versa there is a blocking of light. Such a design makes it possible to form a clear image by the specified settings.

What are the features of OLED TVs?

The fundamental difference between these devices is the use of organic LEDs as backlighting. These devices are based on a three-layer structure, one part of which is a special film with pixels, each equipped with an individual self-emitting LED (RGB or WRGB structures).

Speaking of the LED model, all the necessary effects of lighting or dimming are created by turning on or off the required number of LEDs. Depending on which function is to be performed, the luminous flux from the LEDs can be increased or blocked. In addition, there is additional filtering to make the image clearer.

It is quite different from OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) models – they don’t need to filter the light. Here, the current is conducted through several million individual LEDs, whose size does not exceed one pixel. They are made of a special polymer material, so they can include an emission or dimming function.

Due to their size, organic LEDs aren’t used as an addition to the LCD matrix but are a structural part of it. They can illuminate every pixel of the TV screen on their own and don’t require additional backlighting. Therefore, such models are thinner, lighter, and have better color rendering and contrast.

Initially, this technology began to be used in the industry of mobile gadgets, the size of the much smaller displays. But today it is successfully used for widescreen TV equipment.

What is the difference between LED and OLED TVs today?

These types of devices should be compared separately on each point.

Color rendering

It should be said right away that the quality of color rendering is top-notch in both technologies. Here they will not differ much. However, speaking of LED TV, it can be noted that they are inferior in such a characteristic as realism.

OLED uses a wider range of colors, which can take the human eye. This effect is achieved because in the second version there are LEDs of all-natural colors, which is not always present in LEDs.

Contrast and black levels

Speaking of the OLED model, it is safe to say that there is not a single TV model that can surpass its black content. LED devices use LED backlighting of the LCD panel.

But even using diode dimming technology, you can’t beat the dark black color reproduction in OLEDs. And the screen’s ability to maintain perfect black color is one of the fundamental factors responsible for image quality.


Here not by much, but LED wins. As a rule, this technology does an excellent job of illuminating the entire screen. Whereas OLED backlighting can boast of perfect illumination, most often only in a certain area.

Regular switching of the diode to intensive brightness mode reduces its service life and increases the time of returning to black mode. Therefore, it is not recommended to use such screens permanently at maximum brightness settings.

Viewing angle

OLED models are unrivaled here as well. This advantage is achieved by the absence of an additional layer between the backlight and the screen. Therefore, bright spots or other possible image distortions are avoided.


Comparing this criterion, there is no winner. Because both technologies, to date, have in common the maximum resolution parameters with the same number of pixels 3840 x 2160.

Response time

Even though LED technology is constantly improving, organic LEDs are undoubtedly the leader among all existing television technologies today. This criterion avoids motion blur and artifacts on the TV screen.

Energy consumption

The most profitable on this board are considered to be LED TVs with side illumination. OLED technology is currently losing out, although the developers have plans to bring organic LEDs closer to LED.


In many aspects, the performance of OLED technology is superior to LED, so the cost is slightly higher. But this doesn’t mean that there can be no problems with it. Such models can seriously compete with LCD options of the “Premium” class because not every family has the ability to keep up with the new technically advanced models.

What conclusions can be drawn?

Having considered the differences between LED and OLED, we can conclude that, of course, in many technical characteristics, organic LEDs win. But to date, this option can not be called aimed at the average population, because absolutely not everyone will be ready to give a “tidy sum” for a novelty, which in a few months will no longer be.

Regarding other issues, OLED is a technology of the future, which, after the necessary modifications will move the use of LED TVs to the background.

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