At a time when the LCD TVs with LED lighting dominate the market it stands to reason that they are the best alternative. And it may be true if we value different aspects such as the image quality and product cost. But only if we stick to the image quality, then the conclusion is not so simple. With the plasma passing into oblivion, much to our regret, in the market, there are other alternatives such as OLED TVs and LCD types looking to offer the best experience. How we seek to do is what we will see. It is a war for having the best panel TV.
Types of panel
Although many already know all this, it is impossible to start talking about image quality on a TV without knowing what technologies we have. We refer to plasma screens, LCD and OLED and its variants.
- The Plasma technology is based on small gas lamps that illuminate each pixel independently. This achieves some black with very high level of depth and generally better quality color representation. Especially because they are more natural and not overly saturated and vibrant as the LCD shades offer. The problem is that issues of price, manufacturing processes and other factors have not been able to be imposed to the LCD.
- LCD is the technology that we all know, at least generically. Using a LCD panel where we find small dots, called pixels, which requires an external lighting for reproducing the image. Until recently fluorescent lamps were used but now, it is normal to use LED lighting is much more efficient. The type of schema to position the LEDs have: Edge LED and Full LED. Two variants will see in more detail later.
- The OLED is a diode, an electroluminescent layer comprising organic components, which then generates the light to the sum of millions of them form the image. Much younger than the LCD, LED or Plasma, OLED technology offers a number of advantages over other options such as improved brightness and contrast, result in better color rendering; also better vision in bright environments, lower energy consumption, etc.. Of course, as a counterpoint, the manufacturing process is more expensive and why OLED TVs currently have prices they have.
If we consider that the commitment to the plasma is not real, then the OLED technology is the best of all existing. The problem is that its manufacturing cost prevents, for now, a more important sale or gets panels that offer 4K UHD current LCD panels. So yes, the OLED is the best LCD technology but who will remain for a few years reign.
Types of LCD panels
LCD panels all share the same base but there are different types. We IPS LCD panels, TN and VA.
- TN is the most common type of LCD panel and the older technology. It has as a main advantage about response times lower than its other variants, making it ideal for games. But do not forget also that are brighter and especially cheaper to manufacture. In return we have poor viewing angles more or less faithful reproduction of color.
- IPS is the solution to these problems of representation of color and angles of the TN. With significant improvements in response times of the latest models are the most appreciated alternative although their prices are also higher than TN panels.
- VA or Vertical align is a type of panel that was created to combine the advantages of the TN and IPS panels. I mean, we have a panel with better viewing angles, better blacks and color rendering with low response times. But they are positioned as an intermediate option fails to overcome it or its key qualities TN or IPS. But they are definitely a good choice for those looking for something more than a TN without paying the price of an IPS.
LED Lighting and improvements available
With the different types of LCD panels possible to use the following point of improvement that manufacturers introduced to provide the best image quality affects the lighting. It is possible methods of lighting: Edge LED and Full LED. We may have LED lighting only at the edges or over the entire surface of the screen.
In the first we have a LED lighting system where the lights are located at the edges of the screen. Then, through a system of reflectors it lights up the entire surface of the screen. It is an option to produce cheaper screens but have the problem of having images with a contrast ratio less impossible to be completely obscure the screen.
The second method, LED Full solves these drawbacks by a panel of LEDs completely illuminating the display surface. We won as black as we can completely shut down an area without affecting other and therefore contrast. The problem is that they are more expensive, making these improvements manufacturers reserve for their high ranges.
Which is better? The theory tells us that Full LED panels, practice varies depending on usage. Panels with Full LED lighting can suffer from a halo effect. This is becoming less common but is a real problem because of the speed on and off of said LED and video that we played. Of course, using only the lighting on the edges generated images in certain scenes, we go to the ends, have black washes.
Local Dimming, controlling the light areas
In order to improve the experience of both lighting systems, manufacturers have introduced features like Local Dimming (each manufacturer usually name it differently). This is a function that is to control the lighting in certain areas of the screen independently. Only Full LED control panel zones or Real Local Dimming is achieved because different groups can turn off LEDs. In Edge LED panels is not and although manufacturers use the same name, is based on the use of diffusers and light guide to modify the intensity of each area but never a total reduction being possible.
Is it really worth this feature? In Full LED panels I have always felt that the number of zones and control by the TV is effective. It is true that earns a little contrast and brightness but also have more options of getting halo effect in dark scenes. Fortunately, the user can decide whether to use this feature. But beware, some manufacturers bring active by default and not use the only way is to set the movie mode.
Is the best panel?
Answering the question of what is the best panel can be as complicated as what the best TV. Everything goes according to user needs. If we did not have budget problems, OLEDs are truly wonderful. Also some curved screens allow us despite having a dubious utility or improvement on the flat are very spectacular.
But of course, if we want a panel with 4K UHD OLED then offers no solutions and now have to go to LCD panels. There the IPS earn much in color reproduction and angles but have seen as the VA panels Panasonic AX800 offers great benefits. Also, if we are going to use it to play, perhaps better not choose one IPS. Yes it is clear that if we want to have a great experience the Full LED lighting systems are the most attractive.