What Are OLED TVs?
OLED stands for Organic light-emitting diode or organic LED. OLED is a display panel that replaces the need for an LCD backlight because it emits light by itself.
The display can turn off precise parts of the display for reaching deep black levels and a higher contrast ratio. It also allows for the displays to be thinner and have wider viewing angles.
LG Display currently makes all OLED TV panels and sells them to other TV brands like Panasonic, Philips, and Sony. Those companies all use different image processing, so there will be a difference in the visuals of each OLED TV. For this article, we'll be focusing on LG TVs using the LG Display OLED panel.
Types of TVs
For Those Who Want: The best colors and don't want to worry about screen burn-in.
Description: QLEDs (quantum dot light-emitting diode) use LEDs that light up LCD panels. Between the two layers is a quantum dot layer that filters the light to produce more saturated and pure colors. TVs made with quantum dots are termed QLED by Samsung, TLC, Vizio, and Hisense.
For Those Who Want: Watching in large groups, benefiting from the wide viewing angle. Not made for those who'll watch static scenes like a PC monitor due to screen burn-in.
Description: OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs have pixels that can individually adjust the brightness, allowing for darker black levels. OLED TVs have excellent picture quality and wide viewing angles.
For Those Who Want: The best value with the best range in sizes.
Description: LED (light-emitting diode) is a widely used technology for lighting up an LCD panel. Most LED TVs have a reasonable contrast ratio, high brightness, and narrow viewing angles.
For Those Who Want: The great colors of QLED but with better contrast, larger screen size, and higher resolution options (8K).
Description: A mix of QLED and Mini LED, allowing a better contrast ratio. These TVs use the Mini LED backlight array to more precisely show bright scenes with dark objects without washing out the darker parts (halo effect).
For Those Who Want: The benefits of OLED without the chance of screen burn-in.
Description: Similar to OLED, with self-emitting light, but doesn't suffer from burn-in. The smallest version of LED lights.
For Those Who Want: A less costly alternative to QLED and OLED and better than LED/LCD.
Description: Increased image quality compared to LED. Lower contrast than QLED or OLED. Wide viewing angles.
For Those Who Want: Good contrast ratio.
Description: Mini LED refers to the backlight array that more precisely shows bright scenes with dark objects without washing out the darker parts (blooming/halo effect). Mini LED displays use around 30,000 mini LEDs for lighting the screen and have around 2,500 dimming zones.
For Those Who Want: A compromise between QLED and OLED.
Description: QNED (Quantum NanoCell Emitting Diodes) is a combination of NanoCell LCD and Mini LED. This limits blooming and improves contrast ratio and peak brightness. Not as dark blacks as OLED, but better than QLED.
OLED Displays Compared to QLED, Mini-LED, and MicroLED
|Black Levels||Okay||Okay||Excellent||Very Good||Excellent|
|Color Accuracy||Good||Excellent||Very Good||Excellent||Excellent|
|Native Contrast||Okay||Very Good||Excellent||Very Good||Excellent|
What Are the Pros and Cons of OLED?
For this pros/cons list, we are comparing OLED to all other currently available display types, along with the main features that stand out for OLED displays.
|Pros of OLED||Cons of OLED|
|Excellent color accuracy (TR)||Slight chance of burn-in (TR)|
|Wide viewing angles (TR)||Slightly shorter lifespan (TR)|
|No light bleed (TR)|
|Extreme contrast ratio (TR)|
|Perfect blacks (TR)|
|Excellent response time (TR)|
|Excellent HDR in dark rooms (TR)|
|Thinnest screen size|
To know more about each Pro and Con of OLED displays, click the items above.
For a complete list of every question answered in this article, scroll to the top of this page.
Our OLED TV Recommendations
LG C1 OLED (Best)
- This is an exceptional TV for any use, whether it's for movies, games, sports, or as a PC monitor.
- This TV has wide viewing angles, perfect for many people watching TV together (same with most OLED TVs).
- A negative to this TV is that it might not be bright enough for bright/sunny rooms. This is common among most OLED TVs.
- It has an extreme contrast ratio capable of producing pitch-black scenes without suffering from blooming.
- This has the fastest response time for smooth fast-moving content, great for games or sports.
- The LG C1 OLED also supports very low input lag and variable refresh rate, both of which are also needed for gaming.
- It's superb for HDR content due to its extreme contrast ratio and wide color gamut.
- Check the latest price of the LG C1 OLED on Amazon (affiliate link). LG
Sony A80J OLED
- This TV has superb picture quality with an extreme contrast ratio, perfect for your home theater room.
- The Sony A80J OLED has excellent color out of the box, so there's no need for color calibration.
- A negative to this TV is that it might not be bright enough for bright/sunny rooms. This is common among most OLED TVs.
- This TV has Google TV built-in, allowing you to watch from most of your streaming services quickly and smoothly.
- The Sony A80J OLED has very low input lag and quick response time, both of which are excellent for sports and gaming.
- Check the latest price of the Sony A80J OLED on Amazon (affiliate link). SONY
LG GX OLED
- The LG GX OLED is capable of sitting flush against the wall.
- This TV has some of the best built-in speakers compared to other OLED TVs.
- A negative to this TV is that it has a more noticeable Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL), meaning sometimes it changes the screen brightness based on some brighter content.
- This TV includes many features of the LG C1 OLED TV (shown above); wide viewing angles, extreme contrast ratio, and all of the elements needed for gaming and sports.
- Check the latest price of the LG GX OLED on Amazon (affiliate link). LG
Do OLED Displays Have a Backlight?
OLED TVs do not have a backlight; instead, OLED panels can self-emit light without an LCD backlight, unlike most other types of TVs. This allows for deeper blacks and better contrast.
Do OLED Displays Get Backlight Bleed?
OLED displays don't suffer from backlight bleeding because OLEDs are self-emissive, meaning they produce their own light rather than using a backlight, which is the main cause of backlight bleed.
Each pixel in an OLED display can transition from being turned off to reaching full brightness. There's no overlapping light that is seen in most LED TVs (TR).
Blacklight bleed is also known as blooming or halo effect. The white text needs bright light to be visible, while the dark scenes don't need any light. The bright light spills over in the dark areas, causing a haloing effect and ghosting with motion.
OLED displays do not suffer from the backlight bleed; instead, you will get fluid motion and deep blacks with excellent contrast.
Learn about how backlight bleed affects LED TVs (TR).
Do OLED Displays Have a High Refresh Rate?
The refresh rate of OLED displays is usually 120 Hz but can reach higher in newer models, which is fast enough for most cases.
Refresh rate is the number of times the display can redraw the screen. Refresh rate is measured in hertz (Hz), which is defined as one cycle per second. For example, 60 Hz would refresh the screen 60 times a second. A reasonable refresh rate is anywhere from 144 Hz to 240 Hz and above.
Do OLED Displays Have a Low Response Time?
OLED TVs have a response time of around 0.2 ms for 80% of color transition and 2-3 ms for the remaining color. It's best to have 6 ms or less response time for displays, and OLED TVs exceed that, making them one of the best types of displays regarding response time.
Response time is the time it takes a display to change from one color to another. The timing of this is usually determined by going back and forth between white and black. The timing is measured in milliseconds, with lower being better.
The higher response time a display has, the more blurring you'll notice in fast-motion scenes like in sports and video games.
Are OLED Displays Good for Video Games?
OLED displays have an excellent response time and refresh rate for video games, making them one of the best types of displays for playing games.
Displays with a low response time and high refresh rate (120+ Hz) are recommended to have the best experience, so this is a perfect type of TV for your needs.
Most TVs will have a "Game Mode" option or equivalent, making your display use its highest response time, input latency, and refresh rate.
Keep in mind that your computer or game console must handle a high refresh rate to support using a high refresh rate display. PS5 and Xbox Series X/S both support a 120 Hz refresh rate.
How Bright Are OLED Displays?
Most OLED TVs produce less than 700 nits of brightness, but some can reach 1,000 nits or more. To compare, most TVs usually don't reach 1,000 nits of brightness, but QLED TVs (TR) can reach up to 4,000 nits.
If you don't know what a Nit is, it's a measurement of the amount of light a TV produces within an area. The higher the Nit, the brighter your TV will be able to emit.
Are OLED Displays Good in Bright Rooms?
OLED displays are not usually the best type of TV for bright rooms. Newer models have improved the brightness but are probably still not the best for bright rooms. To compare, QLED TVs (TR) are much better for use in bright rooms.
It's best to have around 1,500 nits of brightness for displays in direct sunlight indoors, but most OLED TVs are around 700 to 1,000+ nits.
Do OLED Displays Get Screen Burn-In?
OLED displays have a slight risk of getting permanent screen burn-in (image retention) over a long period of displaying static content, like static TV channel logos or your computer taskbar. Most people won't have issues with this problem, though.
You most likely won't run into screen burn-in issues if you watch a variety of content on your OLED display, but the slight risk is there.
Newer OLED TVs have features like Screen Move, Pixel Cleaning, and Adjust Logo Brightness (or similar) that reduce the risk for screen burn-in but don't completely prevent burn-in.
Do OLED Displays Have Good Viewing Angles?
OLED displays are known for having extremely wide viewing angles compared to other displays like QLED (TR). OLED displays are excellent for viewing in group settings with spread-out seating.
OLED TVs have an average viewing angle of around 70 degrees from the center, with the center meaning that you're directly in front of the screen. You won't notice any difference in colors or brightness at most viewing angles.
Do OLED Displays Have True Black?
OLED displays have perfect black levels. Scenes of space, dark indoor shots, or credits will have perfect pitch blacks. The extreme blacks result from OLED displays not having an LCD backlight, which is known for causing gray blacks instead.
Do OLED Displays Have Good Color Accuracy?
OLED displays are known for great color accuracy and vibrance even at wider viewing angles. On average, OLED TVs have an 80-85% color volume and 95-99% color gamut.
Color Volume: How many colors a TV can display at different luminosity (brightness) levels.
Color Gamut: How many colors the display is capable of showing.
OLED TVs are sometimes advertised to be 100% color volume despite the fact they don't reach those levels. You probably won't know the difference because OLEDs still have excellent color, producing vivid colors with a great contrast ratio.
Do OLED Displays Have HDR?
Yes, OLED displays support HDR (high dynamic range). OLED displays have high color volume/gamut and near-perfect contrast ratio, both of which are recommended for HDR.
Despite HDR usually requiring higher brightness levels, OLEDs can produce amazing HDR scenes because of their extreme contrast ratio. Due to the lower brightness levels, though, it'd best to view HDR content during the evening with lower ambient light.
Viewing content using HDR will result in a picture with brighter brights, darker darks, more accurate/natural colors, and a sharper image.
How Long Do OLED TVs Last?
OLED TVs are expected to last, at peak quality, an average of 6 to 8 years with heavy use or between 60,000 and 80,000 hours of use. Most people don't use their TV all day, every day, so you can expect it to last even longer.
OLED TVs will likely last up to 8 to 10 years or more of regular use for most people.
The main risk of a TV's lifespan, in general, is the other components within the display. Capacitors, power supply boards, or other parts have the chance of failure before the OLED panel does, but for most people, their TVs will last up to the expected life expectancy.
OLED TVs risk color degradation and lower brightness towards the end of their life if you use your TV at peak brightness, but most people won't notice this issue.
OLED TVs also risk screen burn-in (TR), although this isn't likely to happen with most people's displays.
Compared, QLED TVs (TR) typically last up to around 8 to 10 years of heavy use and likely won't experience reduced peak brightness and faded colors over time.
Standard LED TVs (TR) last an average of 5 to 7 years.