The Battle of the Big screens
Despite new technologies such as the OLED screens that have recently started to pop onto consumer shelves, the elder formats are still fighting in the battle of the large format display. Being spoilt for choice should never be a bad thing but it’s good to know what the differences are and how they size up to one another. In this guide, we try to break down all the aspects to let you know what screen is favoured for your environment.
To avoid any confusion to start with, all LED TVs are LCD screens but they use LEDs as their light source. Their size can range from something handheld, all the way up to 90 inches and are the only screens on the market that can currently show 4K content. Due to the LED light source being a backlight, the brightness of the screen depends solely on this. Although this means your whites will be very sharp, when it comes to film and gaming OLED will look brighter. When it comes to brightness, there are other factors to bear in mind, such as cutting down on room reflections or whether the display has an antiglare coating, as this will increase viewing quality. Contrast ratio is the main factor when it comes to image quality and unfortunately LCDs are the weakest compared to OLED and plasma, however due to it being able to play 4K, it beats the others when it comes to resolution. Due to their LCD technology, viewing angles can ruin an image for viewers and with OLEDs becoming curved and plasma not being affected; this leaves LCD at the bottom in this category. For the most part LCDs have the lowest energy consumption but manufacturers are constantly trying to reduce this for all screens.
It may be the oldest of the bunch but plasma still packs a punch. Although it may not have the best light output and is behind the latest OLEDs in terms of contract ratio and black level, it wins on motion blur and viewing angles. Some models have special coatings so that “off-axis” viewing does not cause the images to inverse. It’s unlikely we’ll see 4K plasmas but the plasma’s uniformity is persistent and although burn-in can occur, it can for the other two screen types as well. Generally speaking, the plasma is normally your cheapest option and although Panasonic have stopped manufacturing them Samsung and LG still have ranges available from 42-65 inches.
OLED (which you can read about here) hasn’t been around for long and there have been hold ups before it could be available on the market but now it has to justify its rather large price tag. Although the brightness is pretty on par with LCDs, is wins hands down when it comes to black level and contrast ratio, as it can turn pixels off to therefore have infinite contrast ratio. There are currently prototypes arounf from Panasonic and Sony for 4K OLEDs, so they are slightly behind in the resolution stakes but overall to at it, the OLED is the most pleasing. When it comes to energy consumption, OLEDs are likely to continue reducing this as time goes on and although they are efficient now, we shall have to see how they evolve. When the product was originally set for launch, delays were caused by longevity issues but these have now supposedly been resolved.
Although a high end LCD or plasma could look brilliant, an OLED wins when it comes to picture quality however with a price tag of £8,000 on the UK high street, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly they fly off the shelves this Christmas. When it boils down to the LCDs and plasmas, both have their pros and cons but with LCD tending to be clearer in any room with the right coatings and an acceptable price tag for particular sizes, it just pips the post.
We supply a range of screens to all of our clients from all ends of the spectrum, so if you fancy an upgrade, please do not hesitate to contact us.