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TV Showdown: LCD vs. LED vs. OLED


With all the technical jargon associated with new technologies, buying a new TV might seem like a complicated process. By determining which features are important to you and comparing them with the capabilities of LCD, LED and OLED, finding the best option for your home entertainment setup can be easy. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider when comparing these three types of TVs.


TV Showdown: LCD vs. LED vs. OLED





Most affordableVariesLeast affordable

Viewing Angle


Standard Screen Sizes

19" - 69"19" to 70"+50" - 70"+

Available Resolutions

720p, 1080p and 4K720p, 1080p and 4K720p, 1080p and 4K

Lighting Type

Cold-cathode fluorescent lampLight-emitting diodeOrganic light-emitting diode


Least versatileVariesMost versatile

*Check out the TV Buying Guide for more information. 



Advantages of LCD TVs

  • Affordability - LCD TVs that do not incorporate LED technology tend to be much less expensive than other options, while still offering comparable features and adequate image quality.
  • Reliability - While other models are being pegged as "the next big thing" in home entertainment technology, it's still too soon to accurately predict how well they'll perform. LCD options, on the other hand, have proven to be remarkably dependable.


LCD television

Disadvantages of LCD TVs

  • Aging technology - Like CRD and plasma TVs before them, televisions incorporating strictly LCD display technology are slowly being phased out. That means that many of the must-have features of newer televisions will be increasingly harder to find for this type of TV.
  • Screen size - While it's possible to find 4K and other high-definition versions of LCD TVs, they're generally not going to be available in the large screen sizes LED and OLED can provide.
  • Set size - Because they're almost always backlit, these sets are generally thicker than newer options.


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LED television

Advantages of LED TVs

  • Lots of options - Since LED TVs are currently the most popular television format, they're available with a vast array of options and features. The price also varies drastically from low to high, which means that finding a set that's compatible with any budget is much easier.
  • Contrast - Thanks to LED technology, these sets are capable of providing greater contrast than ordinary LCD sets.


Disadvantages of LED TVs

  • Less even display - Because many LED TVs are edge lit, the image can appear uneven across the screen. This is especially noticeable when the screen is displaying mostly black or mostly white images.
  • "Soap opera effect" - The high resolutions and great refresh rates are nice, but they might be too clear, with an ultra-real look that is almost unnatural. Although this may be good for sporting events, films and shows could require different refresh rates and motion settings.
  • Narrow viewing angle - LED sets are harder to watch from the floor or in a crowded room. The color and picture quality suffer greatly when not viewed from a standard viewing angle. The picture also degrades quickly as you move from side to side.


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Advantages of OLED TVs

  • Display uniformity - Unlike LCD and LED televisions, OLED TVs require no external lighting source to display an image. By illuminating each diode individually with an electric current, black shades appear deeper, colors more vivid and whites are brighter.
  • Exceptional features - Many of the features, such as 4K definition and curved screens, are becoming standard on OLED televisions. Eventually this may result in more affordable access to cutting-edge amenities.


OLED television

Disadvantages of OLED TVs

  • High cost - OLED TVs may be at the forefront of home entertainment technology, but they're still not universally accessible options for casual viewers. The high costs and experimental nature of regularly incorporating brand-new features means that finding the right balance of form, function and amenities will take some time.
  • Screen size - Unless you're outfitting a larger living room or game room, the limited access to smaller screen sizes may be unappealing. Apartment dwellers and students may benefit from smaller, more affordable options.


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