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Which One Should You Choose?

In this guide, we go in-depth on the differences between LED and OLED TVs. We're looking at the primary technologies (and how they differ) and measuring some pros and cons associated with each.

What Is an LED TV?

Forget about plasma and LCD TVs. These days, it's all about the OLED TV and LED TV. If you're TV shopping, you already know that these are the two main technologies dominating the tube market at the moment, but—if you're like many consumers—you may be confused about the difference between the two. Here, we look deep into the ever-simmering OLED vs. LED TV debate to see which one emerges as the clear winner (hint: it's OLED).
OLED TV in Living Room
Once at the forefront of the market, LED technology is slowly fading to the background as OLEDs outperform them in terms of picture quality, yet LED TVs remain the best bang for your buck in the TV aisle.
An LED TV uses liquid crystal display (LCD) technology to create a picture (LEDs are actually a specific type of LCD TV). The screen is a thin, translucent panel made up of pixels that are filled with liquid crystal. When electricity passes through, it causes the crystals to move so that light can or cannot pass through. LED TVs are backlit by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) rather than the old-fashioned cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL), creating more vibrant pictures with deeper blacks and more saturated colors.

Pros of LED TVs

  • More Affordable—Since they've been around for longer, you can get high-quality LED TVs in just about any price range, and prices are only slated to lower as OLEDs advance.
  • More Options—Another benefit of having been on the market for quite some time is that there are many more options—sizes, brands, colors, etc.—in the LED format. Right now, only a few limited brands offer OLEDs, while virtually all the big ones make LEDs.
  • Brighter—At the moment, LED technology still has the capacity to produce brighter pictures than OLEDs, which is why it's still preferred in smartphones.

Cons of LED TVs

  • Lesser Picture Quality—There's really no comparison between the two technologies in terms of picture quality. LEDs still have good picture quality, but it's not as good as OLED in terms of contrast ratio, uniformity and viewing angle.
  • Aging Technology—While LEDs will most definitely still be a popular option well into the next decade, we expect to see OLEDs emerge as the standard.

Pros and Cons of OLED TVs

Pros of OLED TVs:

  • Exceptional Picture Quality — One of the biggest advantages of OLED TVs lies in their ability to deliver breathtaking picture quality. Each pixel in an OLED display can emit light, allowing for perfect blacks and infinite contrast ratios. This creates an unrivaled level of detail, vibrant colors and a more immersive viewing experience, especially when watching high-definition content or HDR (High Dynamic Range) videos.
  • Wide Viewing Angles — Unlike traditional LCD screens, OLED TVs boast impressive viewing angles, ensuring that colors and contrast remain consistent even when viewed from off-center positions. This feature is especially beneficial for larger living rooms or when watching with a group of people, as everyone can enjoy the same stunning visuals without compromising on picture quality.
  • Fast Response Times — OLED technology is known for its rapid response times, virtually eliminating motion blur. This characteristic makes OLED TVs ideal for sports enthusiasts and gamers, providing smooth and fluid visuals even during fast-paced action sequences or gameplay.

Cons of OLED TVs:

  • Cost — One of the most significant drawbacks of OLED TVs is their relatively high price compared to LED TVs. OLED technology is still considered a premium option, which means that larger OLED displays with advanced features are more expensive. However, as the technology matures and becomes more widespread, prices gradually decrease, making OLED TVs more accessible to a broader range of consumers.
  • Limited Brightness in HDR — While OLED TVs excel in producing deep blacks, they're not as bright as some high-end LED/LCD TVs, particularly in HDR content. Although they still provide an impressive HDR experience, if you desire the utmost brightness for viewing in a brightly lit room, a high-end LED TV might be a better option.
  • Lifespan of Organic Materials — The organic materials used in OLED displays may degrade over time, which can gradually reduce brightness and color accuracy. However, modern OLED TVs have significantly improved in this aspect, and their average lifespan is still quite impressive, with many models offering over 50,000 hours of usage.

Which TV Should You Buy?

Choosing between an LED and OLED TV comes down to a few important factors, such as your budget, your goals and what you watch or play on your TV. We hope this guide helped you discover the right option for you, but you can always reach out to the team at Abt if you'd like more personalized advice.