Types of TV Screen
Screen technology is developing all the time, and what type of set you buy can have a big impact on the quality of the picture. Here we explain the different types of TV screen that are currently available.
LCD TVs used to be the most popular type of flat screen before LED models were developed. They use large fluorescent lamps behind the screen that shine through a matrix of coloured Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) cells.
This style is generally the cheapest, but is in decline due to the advanced technology and larger screen sizes of the LEDs versions.
Although people usually talk about LED and LCD as being two different things, they actually both use the same type of display. The difference is the way they’re lit. The term LCD TV is usually used to refer to screens lit by Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL), whereas LED TVs are lit by Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
LED TVs are the most popular style on the market, using thousands of tiny LEDs behind the screen to light it up. Technically, they are a type of LCD TV, but the way they are lit means the picture quality is much higher.
These screens produce a brighter image than LCD and plasma versions. Models with local dimming technology only light up the screen areas that are needed, so black areas appear darker and colours appear brighter.
These screens are slimmer then LCD models as the lights are smaller. Bigger screen sizes are more readily available too.
Energy efficiency ratings for these models are very high as LEDs produce a lot of light with very little power.
Like a lot of flat screen TVs, the speakers in LED models tend not to be very powerful – there simply isn’t much room for them. Some users may prefer to buy a separate sound system or soundbar.
Due to their popularity and newer technology, LED models can be a little more expensive than other types, although cheaper than OLED models.
Edge-Lit vs Back-Lit
There are two types of lighting with LED TVs: edge-lit or back-lit.
Most models nowadays are edge-lit, with LEDs just around the edges of the screen. This means these models can be super slim.
Back-lit models have LEDs spread across the entire back of the screen. They aren’t as thin, but the light consistency is slightly better.
LED TVs are slimmer, brighter and more efficient than older LCD models.
OLED is one of the newest, most high-tech types of screen available. There aren’t many models on the market yet, but if you want the best, OLED is for you.
Standing for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, OLED uses clever pixels that create their own light. This means that light doesn’t spread to unwanted areas on the screen. In fact, OLED gives the darkest blacks of any screen type, creating a greater sense of depth, while colours appear more vibrant and natural-looking.
Not needing a backlight makes the screen super thin – even more so than a regular LED TV. Sometimes these screens are the same width as a smartphone. This gives a lovely aesthetic and means your TV won’t stick out into the room.
These styles often have a curved screen which adds to the viewing experience. Viewing angles on OLED TVs are also really impressive, so you get accurate colours and good contrast levels wherever you sit to watch. If you have a large sitting room with multiple sofas or armchairs, this is especially useful.
Motion shots display really well on OLED TVs, with hardly any blurring. Great news if you love watching football matches or fast-paced action films.
The only downside with this type of TV is that, because the technology is relatively new, they can be more expensive than others.
Motion shots display really well on OLED TVs, with hardly any blurring.
Viewing angles on OLED TVs are also really impressive, so you get accurate colours and good contrast levels wherever you sit to watch.
Plasma screens utilise different technology altogether. They are made of hundreds of tiny gas cells sandwiched between sheets of glass. Each cell acts like a mini fluorescent tube, emitting ultraviolet light which shows as a red, blue or green subpixel on the screen. Three subpixels make up a pixel, and these pixels combine to form the image.
These screens have a high contrast ratio, so can create much deeper black areas and more natural colours on screen then traditional LCD screens. However, some modern LED lit screens now deliver similar levels of contrast.
Plasma TVs also provide bright colours and are good at handling fast-moving images without blur.
On the other hand, Plasma screens aren’t very energy efficient and require quite a lot of electricity to run. They are also prone to image burn-in if left on the same channel or a menu for a long time, and tend to be dimmer than LED models.
Production of this style is also in decline due to the popularity of LED TVs