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Everything You Need to Know About Phone and TV Display Tech

Blaze Display Technology Co., Ltd. | Updated: Jul 10, 2017

【R&D Department of Blaze Display】The technology powering the display on your phone, or even your TV, is a lot different than it was even ten years ago. More colors, more pixels, and a whole lot more acronyms and complex terms that mean something—even if you have no idea what that something is. Display technology in 2017 is a complicated business, but if you understand some basic concepts and a few of the acronyms everything starts to be about as clear as that sweet iPhone display you might be reading this on.

There are plenty of details and differences, but at the most fundamental level you’ve got two competing ways of building a display. Once you understand the basics of OLED versus LCD things begin to make a lot more sense.

Display basics: OLED vs LCD

Whatever type of gadget-with-a-screen you come across, from phones to TVs, it’s either going to have a display based on OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) technology or on LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology.

LCD uses a an extra backlight layer to illuminate the pixels. The light source is usually LEDs. On cheaper displays, often found in TVs and laptops, the LEDs are located only on the edges of the display, leading to brighter edges and a slightly dimmer center. Most LCD-based phones and pricier TVs are “full-array” backlit. The LEDs are across the entire back of the display, cutting down on dim spots and often giving you better contrast and control of light levels.

OLED takes things once step further. The pixels in an OLED screen illuminate themselves once an electric current is passed through. As a result, the brightness of an OLED screen can be controlled on a pixel-by-pixel basis. That makes it great for mobile devices, where less lit pixels mean less energy consumed, and it also makes it good for high end TVs, where better control of light means a more realistic rendition of scenes.

At this point you’re probably just wanting to know which is better, but there’s no easy answer—manufacturers stick their own proprietary technologies on top of these displays, and so an OLED display doesn’t necessarily beat an LCD display or vice versa. However, we can talk a bit about the advantages and disadvantages of each display type.

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