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I Used an OLED TV and Wasn’t Impressed (Here’s Why)

LG TV turned on

I Used an OLED TV and Wasn’t Impressed (Here’s Why)

Key Points

  • OLED TVs are popular for their ability to dim individual pixels, creating excellent blacks and stunning colors.
  • OLED TVs have LEDs embedded into the display, providing light for individual pixels and allowing for absolute black displays.
  • The initial picture quality of an OLED TV may be underwhelming, but adjusting the display settings can significantly improve the image.
  • QLED TVs offer comparable video quality to OLED TVs, are brighter, and do not have the risk of burn-in.
  • Whether an OLED TV is worth it depends on personal preference and budget, as they are significantly more expensive than standard LED TVs.

OLED TVs are extremely popular because of their ability to dim individual pixels, creating excellent blacks and stunning colors. They are also super thin, leading to an attractive design. These features led me to buy an OLED TV, but I was far from impressed. While OLED TVs have some pros, very few reviews provided realistic expectations.

Going from a standard LED TV to an OLED was a jarring experience because the picture is so different. It is one thing to look at TVs at a retailer with bright lighting obscuring the picture, but it looks completely different once you get it home. Keep reading to find out my initial thoughts about using an OLED TV and how I feel a year later.

What is an OLED TV?

Before getting into my experience with an OLED TV, let’s do a quick overview of OLED TV technology. OLED TVs use individually lit pixels rather than an LED or fluorescent backlight. LCD, LED, and QLED TVs use an LCD panel, which requires a backlight to illuminate it and make the image visible.

OLED TVs, on the other hand, have LEDs embedded into the display, providing light for individual pixels. Because each pixel creates its own light, a portion of the screen can turn completely off. This is critical for movies with dark scenes because it provides an absolute black display. The downside to OLED technology is that an image can burn itself into a pixel if left on the screen too long, causing permanent damage.

Why I Chose an OLED TV

After years of using a standard Vizio LED TV in my bedroom, it was time to upgrade. I always wanted an OLED, but they were pretty cost-prohibitive. However, LG’s A2 ended up being more affordable than I thought. More importantly, the A2 is one of the few OLED TVs available in smaller sizes. Since this was for a bedroom, I wanted a TV with a good picture under 50 inches.

I chose an OLED partly because the room I planned to use it in is not very bright. Additionally, OLED TVs are great for gaming because the individually lit pixels prevent the entire screen from getting washed out in very dark scenes. Finally, I wanted a high-quality TV that would hold up for years to come.

Unboxing and Setup

LG OLED TV side profile
The frame of an OLED TV is astoundingly thin.

Unboxing the TV was a breeze, but it’s a good idea to have two people lift it, especially for larger models. After getting it out of the box, I was shocked at how thin it was. It is hard to judge size when you are in a store, but the LG A2 is about the width of an iPhone. The bezels are also super thin, which actually makes lifting it a bit difficult.

Even though the TV is razor-thin, it is surprisingly heavy. Most LED TVs use a plastic body to add rigidity, but the LG has a solid metal frame that prevents the screen from flexing. The two legs were also easy to attach with the included screws. Another standout feature that I noticed at setup is the range of connections, including USB ports for attaching storage devices.

First Use

Best Display
LG A2 Series 55-Inch Class OLED Smart TV
$1,082.99
  • 8 million self-lit OLED pixels deliver deep blacks and over a billion colors
  • α7 Gen5 AI Processor 4K
  • Built-in access to Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV app, and Disney+, plus over 300 free LG channels
  • Control the television with your voice via Alexa and Google Assistant, or use the LG Magic Remote
  • Auto Low-Latency Mode and HGiG compliant
  • Cloud gaming support for NIVIDA's GeForce Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/26/2024 11:00 pm GMT

Unfortunately, things started to go downhill when I first turned the LG A2 OLED TV on. Despite a few problems with LG’s WebOS, connecting the soundbar and searching for channels was fine. However, the picture seemed worse than my old 42″ 1080p TV. While this is far from the most expensive OLED TV, I still expected a pretty good picture. The picture looked very washed out, with little vibrancy in the colors.

Things got even worse when I tried streaming a movie because the picture still didn’t feel accurate. To put the TV to the ultimate test, I tried watching a Star Wars movie in 4K to see how well the OLED technology worked. The moment that the gray Star Destroyer came across the pitch-black screen was astounding. However, I could not get over the inaccurate colors.

A Week Later

After using the LG A2 OLED TV for a week, it actually started to grow on me. I found some recommended settings for the A2 online, and it significantly improved the image quality. One of the worst experiences I had was watching a football game where the turf was a horrible shade of green. Once I adjusted the display settings, the field looked more realistic than ever.

Unfortunately, cable TV still looked pretty bad, but this was merely a limitation of using a standard cable input, which only supports 480p resolution. The poor picture is caused by the TV trying to upscale the low-resolution signal to 4K. Fortunately, that is easily resolved by adding a digital cable box to deliver high-definition. Otherwise, the picture looked great when watching Blu-rays and streaming movies.

Thoughts After a Year

LG A2 OLED TV homescreen
It is difficult to get a good picture when there is lots of natural light.

Despite being unimpressed initially, I came to enjoy my OLED TV over the last year. My LG A2 looks great now that the settings are dialed in. Movies and video games look phenomenal, plus I can now see more details than ever before.

I am glad that I gave an OLED TV a try, and I would absolutely buy another for a bedroom. However, I would stick with a QLED for a living room with lots of natural light. In addition, an OLED, like most TVs, will take a little tinkering to find the perfect settings.

How OLED Differs From QLED

In hindsight, a QLED TV may have been a better choice. While OLED TV pixels generate their own light, QLED TVs still require a backlight. Therefore, QLED TVs use technology similar to that of standard LED models. However, QLED differs from standard LED because the backlight pixels are much smaller, allowing for precise local dimming.

A QLED TV shares many of the benefits of an OLED TV but without some of the drawbacks. For instance, a QLED TV is much brighter, which makes it a better choice for rooms that receive a lot of natural light. Additionally, QLED TVs do not come with the risk of burn-in and are often cheaper. The contrast is still excellent on a QLED TV, but not as good as an OLED.

Is an OLED TV Worth it?

An OLED TV is worth it if you want the best contrast possible. Nothing compares to the deep blacks that an OLED TV achieves. However, this may not be enough to justify the massive price tag that goes along with one of the TVs. A good OLED TV often costs several times more than a standard LED TV.

Instead, many lower-priced QLED TVs offer a comparable video quality that may even perform better in certain circumstances. Whether an OLED TV is “worth it” comes down to how much you are willing to spend and what display looks better to you.

Wrapping Up

I was initially very unimpressed with the LG A2, to say the least. However, I got used to the unique picture within a couple of weeks. The most important thing to do is adjust the display settings. In my case, I had to turn the brightness up substantially, but every OLED TV is different. Once properly calibrated, the LG A2 quickly became my favorite TV.

Best Display
LG A2 Series 55-Inch Class OLED Smart TV
$1,082.99
  • 8 million self-lit OLED pixels deliver deep blacks and over a billion colors
  • α7 Gen5 AI Processor 4K
  • Built-in access to Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV app, and Disney+, plus over 300 free LG channels
  • Control the television with your voice via Alexa and Google Assistant, or use the LG Magic Remote
  • Auto Low-Latency Mode and HGiG compliant
  • Cloud gaming support for NIVIDA's GeForce Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/26/2024 11:00 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an OLED TV a good computer monitor?

No, OLED TVs do not make good computer monitors because the stationary parts of the display, like the Taskbar, leave the TV susceptible to burn-in. Instead, you are better off buying a computer monitor, or even a QLED TV.

Are OLED TVs 4K?

OLED TVs available today have either 4K or 8K resolution. There are no OLED TVs with 1080p or lower resolution.

Is there a noticeable difference between OLED and QLED?

If you have an OLED and QLED TV side-by-side, then you will probably be able to notice a difference. However, most people will not be able to identify an OLED from a QLED when they are not next to each other.

Who makes OLED TVs?

Several companies make OLED TVs, while many others have tried and failed. In fact, Samsung just started making OLED TVs again this year. However, the most popular OLED TV manufacturers are Sony and LG.

Is it worth upgrading to an OLED if my current TV works?

If your current TV is not 4K, then it is time to upgrade to OLED, or at least QLED. However, QLED TV owners should not waste money upgrading to OLED.

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