OLED TVs are all the rage right now because of their absolutely stunning picture quality. However, they have a few downsides that people often overlook. So before you start shopping for TVs, it is best to take some time to learn about the different technologies. We’ll take an in-depth look at OLED TVs, including how they work, as well as their pros and cons.
The technology behind OLED TVs is impressive, which allows them to get razor-thin. Even though OLED TVs have superior picture quality, they have significant shortcomings. For instance, they’re not very bright and have a potential for burn-in. Nonetheless, an OLED TV may be a great option for you.
What is an OLED TV
OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, which refers to a common type of lighting on TVs. Most TV display panels are not bright enough by themselves, so they require a backlight for viewers to see them properly. However, OLED TVs have super bright LED displays which do not need backlighting. This gives viewers a couple of benefits, including a thinner TV and a better picture.
There are millions of pixels in a display, and they get increasingly smaller as the resolution gets higher. Therefore it is extremely difficult to create a pixel that is both small yet bright enough not to require backlighting. Without a backlight, TVs can get much thinner because extra space is not essential for LED arrays.
As for the picture quality, LED TVs have excellent color accuracy but, even more importantly, deliver absolute blacks. With backlit TVs, parts of the display are illuminated even when they are supposed to be dark. The individually lit pixels mean OLED TVs achieve excellent contrast. Therefore half of the screen can be completely black while the other side is still bright and has vibrant color.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how OLED works. Although OLED technology sounds pretty straightforward, it is an incredibly complex process that happens at a microscopic level. The way OLED displays work is with an organic film in between two electrodes, known as an anode and a cathode. Electricity gets applied in specific amounts to the organic layer, which creates the image.
Most TVs have a clear electrode on one side to make the image visible. The other side uses a semi, or non-transparent electrode to create the dark screen you see. However, some companies use completely transparent displays, which may assist in the advancements of augmented reality technology.
The thin layer of organic material makes it possible to bend and create curved OLED displays. This is also how flip phones with screens are able to bend. Similarly, OLED displays can get very small, like the ones on smartwatches and video game consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch. Although these displays are practically OLEDs, their layers are usually made of different materials.
OLED TV Brightness
Brightness isn’t a major factor for most people when purchasing a TV. Instead, they usually tend to focus on resolution or size. However, TVs have gotten brighter and brighter over the years thanks to advancements and LED technology. Unfortunately, OLED technology has not advanced quite as fast when it comes to lighting.
An OLED TV is much dimmer than a standard LED TV. For comparison, OLED maxes out around 1000 nits, whereas a standard LED TV can exceed 5000 units, making it brighter than older LCD displays. In many cases, brightness isn’t a dealbreaker but something to keep in mind if you have a bright room.
OLED TV Size
Some people think that OLED TVs are only available in large screen sizes. Big box retailers typically advertised TVs in the 55 to 65-inch range. However, that doesn’t mean other sizes are unavailable. In fact, you can find good OLED TVs at around 40 inches. For instance, LG’s popular C2 OLED is available in 42 and 48-inch models.
- Alexa built-in
- 4K with 120Hz refresh rate
- Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos
- WiSA Ready
- Cloud Gaming
Conversely, there are also some enormous OLED TVs, such as LG’s G2 series, which goes all the way up to a massive 97 inches. Just like with any other TV, size plays a big factor in pricing. But the downside for OLEDs is that small TVs like the 42-inch sometimes aren’t that much cheaper than larger 50 and 60-inch models.
OLED TV Resolution
Nearly all of the OLED TVs on the market today are 4K. This means that their resolution is approximately 3840 X 2160. Not only does 4K provide an excellent picture, but it’s also pretty future-proof, as most content still does not take full advantage of this higher resolution. As TVs have gotten larger, it’s become essential that their pixel count also goes up.
However, OLED TVs are not limited to only 4K. In fact, you can get a 1080P OLED display. But these are usually relegated to computer monitors because they do not need such high resolution. In comparison, many large manufacturers are currently developing 8K OLED displays. While this is beneficial for very large screens, movie studios, cable companies, and streaming providers have not caught up fast enough.
Problems With OLED TVs
As previously mentioned, a couple of things may stop you from running out and purchasing an OLED TV. The first and most obvious is price. OLED TVs are more expensive than other technologies, such as QLED. Aside from price, below are other factors that make OLED an even worse value proposition.
Risk of Burn-in
Burn-in is a major consideration for OLED TVs as it can permanently damage the display. If you aren’t familiar, burn-in is the term used to describe when an image damages a pixel. This usually occurs when an image is left on the screen for too long. Fortunately, it isn’t a major problem for TVs unless you leave a still screen like a menu on for too long.
Also, most OLED TVs have technology in them to prevent staying on screen for too long. The design of OLED TVs has also improved, lowering the risk of burn-in. However, it is still a major problem if you plan to use an OLED display as a computer monitor. For comparison, burn-in was also a problem on older CRT monitors, which is why computers used screensavers.
As we also noted earlier, a major limitation of OLED TVs is low brightness. Nonetheless, they are still significantly brighter than older fluorescent-lit LCD TVs. However, you may notice a drop in brightness if you are going from a standard LED TV. But, of course, the benefits of an excellent picture likely outweigh a slightly dimmer display.
The low brightness of OLED TVs could become a problem, though, if you plan to use the TV in a naturally bright room. Similarly, OLED TVs are not ideal for the outdoors as they cannot display a bright enough picture. On the other hand, bedrooms are perfect for OLED TVs, as are entertainment rooms and dens that don’t have bright lighting.