Which television to buy? That always seems to be the question when there are competing television technologies out there to confuse consumers. For about the past 10 or 15 years or so, TV buyers had to answer the question, “plasma or LCD?,” until plasma televisions went the way of the Dodo bird.

Today, the majority of televisions being sold use liquid crystal display (or LCD, so I guess we know who won that argument in the end), although the various companies that make TVs tend to give them fancier names like LED, QLED and Super UHD TVs. The only real exception on the market today are OLED televisions, which use Organic Light Emitting Diode technology instead. And, although they seem similar (hey, they both have LED in the name, so how different can they be, right?), I’ll answer the burning question that’s on every consumer’s mind these days: Is an OLED TV the same as a LED TV?

What is LED?

As stated earlier, LED stands for light emitting diode. These diodes create light by moving electrons through a semi-conductor. It all sounds pretty sci-fi for the average consumer, but essentially LEDs are what backlight LCD televisions. These diodes can get really bright, and really small, however not so small that they can be used as the pixels of a television set. Pixels, in case you weren’t aware, are the tiny dots of light that make up a television’s screen. Since the LEDs aren’t small enough to be used as pixels, they are instead used to illuminate clusters of pixels. Make sense?

What is OLED

Organic light emitting diodes (OLED) are completely different, even though they sound similar. OLEDs, as the name implies, are made with organic materials that light up when electricity is run through them. Their unique technology allows OLEDs to be made much more thinner and smaller than conventional LEDs that they can be used as individual pixels. On OLED televisions, millions of these organic diodes fill your screen, and more importantly, they can each be lit up or shut off completely independently from each other.

What’s the Big Difference Between OLED and LED?

As an OLED TV’s pixels can be shut off independently, that means when they are off, they are completely off. As in, totally black. And anyone who knows anything about a television screen knows that a display’s ability to produce the darkest blacks is quite possibly the most important factor when choosing a screen. The reason being that deeper blacks produce a much higher contrast and far richer colours, and thereby a superior and more realistic-looking image.

Another plus for OLED technology is that since these diodes/pixels can be turned off or on individually, an OLED set has a much better response time, meaning less motion blur and fewer artifacts onscreen. OLEDs are also lighter and thinner than LEDs, traditionally, and use less energy.

Brightness is another story. LEDs are extremely bright, although with such high contrast ability, OLEDs do offer bright screens, too. But, LEDs are really bright, and that type of TV works well in any type of room, be it bright or darkened. OLEDs really work best in a darkened room. Another plus on the LED side is they are still being made in larger sizes than OLEDs for the moment. LEDs are also less expensive, mostly.

And now that you have a little more of a grasp on the differences between the two technologies, and know that an OLED Tv is not the same as a LED TV, make sure you check out the selection of OLED televisions and LED televisions available at Best Buy.

I am an award-winning writer, freelance journalist and blogger who is a self-confessed geek and tech lover. When not playing the latest video games or salivating over the newest gadgets, I enjoy cooking for my family, mountain biking or snowboarding the deep powder on Whistler Mountain.


  1. I really loved the clarity of OLED TVs. I hope they get cheaper in next few years so i can buy one. Thank you for sharing the differentiation.

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