Digital display types explained – LCD, IPS, OLED


Choosing the right display for your gaming setup can be difficult. Even after you’ve decided on an acceptable size and resolution, you still have to choose what type of display panel you’d like.

While there are a variety of standards and labels for digital displays these days, you will only usually encounter three types of display, Plasma, OLED, and LCD, with plasma becoming less and less common these days.

Plasma used to be popular for large televisions and displays, but is being phased out in favour of LCD displays, due to their better pixel density and the popularity of high-resolution displays.

This article will therefore focus on the main types of digital displays used for gaming: LCD and OLED.


LCD (Liquid Crystal Displays) displays are the most common type of digital display on the market, and are used in everything from cell phones to full-sized televisions.

LCD displays use a light source such as an LED to pass light through liquid crystal and a colour filter.

These displays come in three different varieties that are readily available, TN, IPS and VA.

TN displays have a low response time and high refresh rate, but produce lower image quality than other types of LCD displays. They have a relatively narrow range of colour and display quality changes according to viewing angle.

IPS panels address these problems by offering better colour range and angled viewing, although they are not as fast or bright as the cheaper TN panels.

VA panels are the middle ground between these two types of LCD panels, offering decent colour range and viewing angle along with reasonable response time and brightness.

All three panels have their differences, but function using the same basic technology.



OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display technology is fairly new, and can also be referred to as AMOLED, which is essentially the same thing, as most OLED displays are AMOLED even when not branded as such.

OLED digital displays use an organic polymer to create light, making them more energy-efficient and able to deliver better contrast.

The improved contrast ratio provided by OLED displays is partly due to the fact they do not require a backlight, as the pixels are not illuminated when showing pure black.

These displays are also more expensive than other display types, but are better in nearly every way, with great colour balance and energy-efficiency potential.


  • Fast response time
  • Great viewing angle
  • Thin and flexible
  • Energy-efficient
  • High Contrast Ratio


  • Expensive
  • Blue LED compound may die before red and green
  • Prone to burn-in over time


Now read: The coolest gaming hardware and gadgets of 2016

Forum discussion

Join the conversation

Digital display types explained – LCD, IPS, OLED

Related posts