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OLED vs LCD TV Comparison

Before comparing OLED and LCD TV, it may be useful to become familiar with the terminology which is explained on the 'What is OLED TV' page.

OLED TV's delivery an image to the screen in a very different way to that of an LCD or LED TV. LCD and LED TV's use a backlight which passes through a matrix of small 'shutters' that allow a certain amount of red, green or blue light through to produce the different colours.

In OLED TV's, several types of organic material that will glow red, green and blue are placed between two layers of conductive material and covered with glass or another translucent protective material. When electric current is applied, the conductive layers act as anode (positively charged) and cathode (negatively charged), enabling the flow of energy from the negative layer to the positive layer and stimulating the organic material to emit a bright light.

So how do these two methods compare against each other?

Contrast and Black Levels
OLED TVs are superior in both contrast and black levels. Deep blacks can be easily achieved by limiting conductivity to the organic compounds, whereas an LCD TV needs to use extra power to 'turn' the liquid crystals to stop them allowing light through that has been produced by the CCFL or LED backlight. Not only does OLED create better black levels, it used far less power to do so, meaning it is a clear winner in this category.

Colour Accuracy
OLED TV's have the ability to create every colour in the spectrum due to the fact they emit all three of the primary colours; red, green and blue. LCD TVs use a white light which the primary colours are then extracted from in different amounts as the light passes through the LCD matrix to produce the required colour.

OLED TVs therefore use a much simpler process to create the required colour, resulting in much richer and truer colours. In this case OLED again is a clear winner.

Viewing Angle
Due to the way light is created by OLED TVs, they offer an almost perfect 170 degree viewing angle, as every pixel can be seen clearly. LCD TVs still suffer in this department, although the recent development of LED backlighting has gone some way to correcting this issue. Once again, OLED TV trumps LCD easily in this category.

Longevity
You may be wondering if there are any disadvantages to OLEDs at this point, well this is it...for the moment! The main problem is the Blue OLED currently, as it only has lifespan of approx 10-14,000 hours worth of use. This is still 5 years use at 8 hours a day, but for your money you would want them to go a bit further than this! LCD backlights can last up to around 100,000 hours meaning you will probably replace your TV long before the backlight gives up on you. For the first time LCD is an easy winner here.

Other Factors
Well one of the most important aspects to compare is cost. The only available OLED TV currently on the market is the Sony XEL-1 which is commanding a £3000 price tag whilst only offering 11" of viewing pleasure! Unfortunately, I cant see this price coming down too much over the next couple of years. LG recently annouced plans for a 15" OLED TV to be released sometime in 2010, but no price has been released. Also annouced was a 40" screen, but lets not think how much thats likely to be right now!

Aesthetically, OLED TVs have the capability to be paper thin. Sonys XEL-1 is 3mm thick, but there is even scope for flexible screens using OLED technology.