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UHD vs. OLED: Full Comparison

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UHD vs. OLED: Full Comparison

OLED vs UHD: Key Points

  • UHD and OLED are both names used to describe panel technology that is used in TV screens, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • UHD is a marketing term that was created by the Consumer Electronics Association, CEA, on October 17, 2012. It was meant to help consumers differentiate between the different screen resolutions offered at the time.
  • UHD requires a minimum of 3,840 x 2,160 resolutions at a 16:9 or wider aspect ratio.
  • OLED was created as a technology in 1987 by Kodak for use in digital cameras.
  • The first OLED TV was released by Sony in 2004.

UHD (Ultra High Definition) and OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) are both names that are used to describe panel technology which is used in screens for laptops, desktop monitors, TVs, tablets, and smartphones. UHD is used to denote that the screen has an even higher resolution than typical HD screens. However, OLED itself is actually a type of technology and provides exceptional color and contrast. OLED screens are also typically thinner and do not require any backlighting.

Read on to explore the full comparison of OLED vs UHD, including key differences, similarities, and an explanation of which is better.

What is UHD?

UHD stands for Ultra-High Definition. It’s something of a marketing term meant to make it easier for consumers to narrow down TV options. It denotes that the TV has a higher resolution than HD TV types, higher frame rates, and more realistic colors.

UHD is a common marker on modern TV types. In fact, UHD has become synonymous with 4K resolutions (3,840 x 2,160 pixels). It is important, however, to note that UHD doesn’t mean only 4k. 4k, 5k, and 8k resolutions can all be considered ultra-high definition. Some manufacturers have added to the confusion behind what UHD is by creating lineups like Crystal UHD which is an LCD, or liquid-crystal display panel.

The term UHD was created by the Consumer Electronics Association to help consumers. It does not refer to a specific type of technology. However, the CEA did create a rigid definition to help consumers pick out their next TV. UHD means the TV is at a minimum 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160) and a 16:9 or wider aspect ratio.

remoted pointing to UHD letters superimposed on images
The term UHD (Ultra-High Definition) was created by the Consumer Electronics Association to help consumers.

©Proxima Studio/Shutterstock.com

What is OLED?

OLED is a TV-type acronym that stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diodes. Unlike UHD, OLED is a type of panel used to create images and lighting. These panels can be found in smartphones, TVs, laptops, tablets, and monitors already. It provides excellent color contrast and darker blacks by using an electric current to switch individual diodes on and off. That means a true black pixel on the screen is simply off which creates a true black.

Aside from the excellent image quality and color contrast, OLED enables another functional feature that allows laptops, smartphones, TVs, and tablets to be even thinner. These panels do not require any backlighting. The extra space is often taken out of the design all together to allow for the slimmest devices on the market like the ZenBook Flip S laptops from Asus.

OLED vs UHD: Are They Comparable?

All OLED screens are UHD, but not all UHD screens are OLED. In a sense, they can be compared if the goal is to figure out which UHD TV type to purchase for your own home.

Here are some of the different types of UHD screens:

  • LCD
  • LED
  • OLED
  • QLED

You’ll likely notice that OLED is among the type of UHD screens. That’s because UHD has become a catch-all term for resolutions higher than HD (720p or 1080p). That means any screen with a resolution of 2K or higher is a UHD screen.

Samsung QLED 8K on display at a Samsung electronics store
Samsung OLED is power-efficient and offers superior image quality with brighter whites, deeper blacks, and stunning color.

©Chikena/Shutterstock.com

In that sense, they are not directly comparable as UHD is a descriptor and OLED is a type of panel technology. As 8K resolutions are becoming more and more abundant, UHD as a term may be replaced as a marketing term to help denote the 400% increase in resolution.

For ease of comparison, UHD will be defined as 4K resolutions or higher with a 16:9 or wider aspect ratio as the Consumer Electronics Association defined in 2012. Using this definition, we can see that OLED and UHD have a lot of similarities such as 4K resolutions and widescreen aspect ratios. However, OLED screens with 4K resolution will have a higher color contrast and wider viewing angles than UHDs in the same category.

OLED vs. UHD: Side-by-Side Comparison

It’s important to note that when comparing the pros and cons or the similarities/differences UHD does not signify a specific type of technology. That means in some cases, UHD screens and OLED screens will have incredibly similar aspects.

UHDOLED
What it is:Marketing term meant to denote screen resolutionBack panel technology used in screens
Primary use:Signal resolution quality to consumersCreates high color contrast and high-resolution images for devices that require a screen
Conceived:October 17, 20221987
Initial release:October 17, 20222004
Technical committee:Consumer Electronics AssociationEastman Kodak Company
Influential developers:Consumer Electronics AssociationSony, LG, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic
Open format:YesYes
Technology influenced:screen panels, display devicesTVs, smartphones, laptops, tablets, monitors

Pros and Cons of UHD

ProsCons
Higher than HD resolutions.It does not denote a type of technology.
It is common across the market.Can be used to refer to OLED and QLED as well as LCD or LED panels.
Provides consumers reassurance of product quality.It has a thicker overall screen design than OLED.
It is a cheaper price than OLED screens.

Pros and Cons of OLED

ProsCons
It offers high-quality color and contrast.It is a higher price than competing technology.
Use of true blacks.
There is no backlight panel, allowing thinner devices.
It comes in resolutions up to 8K.
It offers great viewing angles.
It has fast response times at 0.1 milliseconds.

Similarities and Differences Between UHD and OLED

SimilaritiesDifferences
Both are descriptions of screen technology used in TVs.OLED has better color contrast and true blacks.
Both are offered in resolutions higher than HD.UHD can refer to OLED, QLED, LCD, or LED screens.
Both are commonly found in the consumer electronics marketplace.UHD denotes a resolution while OLED is a type of technology.
OLED screens can be considered UHD.UHD was created as a marketing term which means as resolutions continue to increase, it may be retired for a newer term to avoid consumer confusion.
Both offer 16:9 or wider aspect ratios.
Both come in 4K resolutions or higher.

OLED vs. UHD: Which Is Better?

UHD can refer to multiple types of panels used in TVs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. OLED refers to a specific technology. While most consumers can find a great price on a UHD TV, OLED screens offer better color contrast, true blacks, faster response time, better refresh rates, and even higher resolutions. In most cases, OLED is currently the best overall panel technology to use on a screen.

If you’re looking to get a great TV for a good price, UHD TVs will get the job done. If you want the best of the best, OLED is where it’s at.

transparent oled
The basic OLED matrix consists of a stack of eight thin organic layers.

©Pro_Vector/Shutterstock.com

Are Any Screens Better Than UHD and OLED?

UHD and OLED are considered the best screens on the market. But two emerging technologies may offer even better image quality in the future. MicroLED displays are made up of tiny LEDs that are individually lit. This means that they can achieve perfect blacks and infinite contrast ratios. As if this wasn’t tempting enough, they are also very bright and have wide viewing angles.

Quantum dot technology is also worth watching. Quantum dot displays use a layer of quantum dots — nanoscale semiconductor particles with unique optical and electron properties — to produce more vibrant colors than traditional LCD screens. Like MicroLED screens, these displays are very bright and have wide viewing angles.

Both of these technologies are in the early stages of development. MicroLED displays are extremely expensive and not widely available. Quantum Dot screens are more expensive than LCDs.

Up Next

UHD vs. OLED: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are UHD and OLED?

UHD and OLED are acronyms used to describe panel technology used in screens for TVs, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and monitors. UHD stands for ultra-high definition and was created as a marketing term to help consumers narrow down the options when purchasing a new TV or a device with a screen.

OLED means organic light-emitting diodes. It is a type of panel technology that provides the image shown on the screen. OLED makes use of organic compounds and electrical currents to light up the individual ‘pixels’ on the screen. It is known for its true blacks, excellent image quality, and wide viewing angles.

What do UHD and OLED stand for?

UHD stands for ultra-high definition. It is synonymous with resolutions above 1920 x 1080 and is often used interchangeably with 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolutions. The term UHD was created by the Consumer Electronics Association in 2012 to help consumers understand the differences in display technology on the market. The CEA definition states that to be considered UHD a display must have a 4K resolution or higher and a 16:9 aspect ratio or wider.

OLED is an acronym that means organic light-emitting diode. It refers to the type of technology used to create the screen panel. OLED uses organic compounds like carbon to create each individual diode. Then, the screen controller moderates the electrical current to each diode to produce specific light-emitted colors

Which is better, UHD or OLED?

UHD can refer to multiple types of panels used in TVs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. OLED refers to a specific technology. While most consumers can find a great price on a UHD TV, OLED screens offer better color contrast, true blacks, faster response time, better refresh rates, and even higher resolutions. In most cases, OLED is currently the best overall panel technology to use on a screen.

If you’re looking to get a great TV for a good price, UHD TVs will get the job done. If you want the best of the best, OLED is where it’s at.

Which is more expensive, UHD or OLED?

As the best overall panel technology used in screens to date, OLED comes at a much higher price than UHD screens. Devices with OLED screens are marketed with the knowledge that it provides the best overall entertainment experience. For that reason, TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and monitors with an OLED panel will be significantly more expensive than UHD screens. The differences in color contrast between UHD LCD or LED screens and OLED is immediately noticeable.

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