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Ultimate Guide to OLED TVs (2021)

Get answers for all of your OLED TV questions.

LG OLED TV

Last Updated: November 18, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

What Are OLED TVs?

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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.

OLED vs. LCD Displays OLED vs. LCD Displays Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

LG C1 OLED LG C1 OLED Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

Types of TVs

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Price: $$

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.

Price: $$$

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.

LED

Price: $

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.

OLED Displays Compared to QLED, Mini-LED, and MicroLED

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OLED Comparison
LEDQLEDOLEDMini-LEDMicroLED
Viewing Angle Good Good Excellent Very Good Very Good
Black Levels Okay Okay Excellent Very Good Excellent
Color Accuracy Good Excellent Very Good Excellent Excellent
Burn-in No No Yes No No
Brightness Good Excellent Good Very Good Excellent
Lifespan Good Excellent Very Good Excellent Excellent
Native Contrast Okay Very Good Excellent Very Good Excellent
Motion Good Good Excellent Very Good Excellent
Light Bleed Yes Yes No Some No
Price $ $$ $$$ $$$$ $$$$$

What Are the Pros and Cons of OLED?

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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 Slight chance of burn-in
Wide viewing angles Slightly shorter lifespan
No light bleed
Extreme contrast ratio
Perfect blacks
Excellent response time
Excellent HDR in dark rooms
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.

My OLED TV Recommendations

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LG C1 OLED (Best)

  • This is an exceptional TV for any use, whether for movies, games, sports, or as a PC monitor.

  • Fast refresh rates reduce motion blur and make animations smoother.

  • This TV has wide viewing angles, perfect for many people watching TV together (like most OLED TVs).

  • It has an extreme contrast ratio capable of producing pitch-black scenes without suffering from blooming.

  • A negative to this TV is that it might not be bright enough for bright/sunny rooms, which is common among most OLED TVs.

  • 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 C1 OLED

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 A80J OLED

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 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 GX OLED

Do OLED Displays Have a Backlight?

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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?

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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.

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.

Light Bleed
LED Yes
QLED Yes
OLED No
Mini-LED Some
MicroLED No

Do OLED Displays Have a High Refresh Rate?

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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?

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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.

Motion Handling
LED Good
QLED Good
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

Are OLED Displays Good for Video Games?

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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.

LG C1 OLED LG C1 OLED Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

How Bright Are OLED Displays?

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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 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.

Brightness Levels
LED Good
QLED Excellent
OLED Good
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

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 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?

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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.

Burn-in Risk
Burn-in
LED No
QLED No
OLED Yes
Mini-LED No
MicroLED No

Example of Screen Burn-in Example of Screen Burn-in Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Do OLED Displays Have Good Viewing Angles?

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OLED displays are known for having extremely wide viewing angles compared to other displays like QLED. 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 with an OLED TV.

Viewing Angle
LED Good
QLED Good
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Very Good

OLED Viewing Angle Comparison OLED Viewing Angle Comparison Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Do OLED Displays Have True Black?

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Excellent black levels on a TV can help enhance the overall experience by making it look more lifelike from the improved contrast.

OLED displays have perfect black levels. Poor black levels result in a lack of true black in outer space scenes, dark indoor shots, and end credits. Instead, the blacks appear as more of a gray color.

The extreme blacks are the benefit of OLED displays not having an LCD backlight.

Black Levels
LED Okay
QLED Okay
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

OLED Contrast Comparison OLED Contrast Comparison Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Do OLED Displays Have Good Color Accuracy?

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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.

Color Accuracy
LED Good
QLED Excellent
OLED Very Good
Mini-LED Excellent
MicroLED Excellent

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?

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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.

Native Contrast
LED Okay
QLED Very Good
OLED Excellent
Mini-LED Very Good
MicroLED Excellent

How Long Do OLED TVs Last?

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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, although this isn't likely to happen with most people's displays.

Compared, QLED TVs 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 last an average of 5 to 7 years.

Average Lifespan
Lifespan
LED Good
QLED Excellent
OLED Very Good
Mini-LED Excellent
MicroLED Excellent

Learn More About OLED TVs

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Want to learn more about OLED TVs? Check out the articles in my OLED TV series:

LG C1 OLED LG C1 OLED Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

Learn More About TVs

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Want to learn more about TVs? Check out the articles in my TV series: