Technophile: The big TV debate

Updated: Nov 04, 2019, 12:11 IST | Jaison Lewis | Mumbai

LED or OLED? Smart or not? With endless models and offers, you are going to be confused as hell about which screen is best. Let us help you

LG Signature OLED
LG Signature OLED

With so many televisions available at varied price points, making a buying decision can be harrowing. What our short guide here does is not only simplify the jargon but also help you decide which one exactly is meant for your wall."


LCD is short for Liquid Crystal Display; LED means Light Emitting Diode; OLED refers to Organic LED and, QLED means Quantum Dot LED.

Every flatscreen is essentially an LCD. A screen in an LCD TV divided into pixels. For example, a 1080p TV has 1080x1920 pixels (total of 2,073,600); a 4K has 8,294,400 pixels and so on. Each pixel has three colours — red, blue and green, using which the TV can produce a whole spectrum of colours.

Take away: All flat screens are essentially Liquid Crystal Displays.

Both LCD and LEDs are technically Liquid Crystal Displays since the basic technology is the same. The only difference is in the way the colour display is lit up. Older LCDs use cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) to provide backlight while an LED uses an array of LEDs for the backlight. LED TVs use lesser power and are capable of providing local dimming for better contrast. The thickness is also reduced since the space for tubes is no longer required. Needless to say, the one TV you should not buy is an old LCD TV.

Take away: LCD TVs use old technology of CCFLs for backlight whereas LED TVs use an array of LEDs.

LED TVs also come in two types: Edge-lit and full-array. Edge-lit LEDs are similar to the older LCD TVs providing better power efficiency and a thinner form factor but don’t provide local dimming for better contrast. Something to check when buying your new TV—most cheaper LED TVs are edge-lit, which negates the colour contrast benefits of having an LED TV.

Take away: Edge-lit LEDs are not all that better than LCDs. Look for a screen with full-array LED backlight for best results.

QLEDs are better LED TVs with improved technology that produce better colours and contrast. The Quantum refers to the addition of a quantum dot filter, which provides a way for TVs to selectively block light to pixels on the screen. It offers better contrast than any LED screen in the market today, but there is always a little light that escapes and you will not have true blacks on a QLED screen. The price compared to the performance of a QLED is not too high. While it does cost more than a regular LED TV, it is way cheaper than an OLED.

OnePlus QLEDOnePlus QLED

Take away: QLEDs offer impeccable screen brightness and color saturation. Amongst LEDs, they offer the best contrast at a decent price.

OLED TVs are a different beast. Unlike the previously explained technologies; this one does not need a backlight as each pixel here produces its own light. Eliminating the need for backlighting means OLEDs can be impossibly thin and flexible, which is probably why some of the premium phones use OLEDs for their screens. OLEDs also provide the best contrast ratio as the pixels can literally be turned off for a completely black pixel. They offer the best power consumption and best viewing angles. However, they are very expensive and not as bright as QLEDs since there is no extra light source.

Take away: If you don’t need an ultra-bright screen and have wads of cash, OLEDs are the best money can buy.

Which is better?

Among LED screens, try and get a full-array LED display. But, they are more expensive than edge-lit screens. The best you can get are QLEDs, offering bright screens with decent contrast. They are also available at a decent price. OLEDs offer the best screen contrast ratio. On the downside, the brightness is lower than backlit screens and they are very expensive.

Smart TV or Smart device?

Today, most TVs come with built-in smart TV functions, connecting to the Internet and running services like Netflix and Amazon Prime out of the box. The downside is that most are painful to use and almost none are regularly updated. I’d recommend going with an external smart device (Chromecast, Fire Stick or Apple TV). These are more regularly updated and, along with your favourite streaming services, they offer gaming and music services too.

Bigger isn’t better

TVs are measured diagonally. The ideal screen size will depend on the resolution of your screen. If you are going for a 4K screen, you can sit closer without noticing the pixilation. This means that you can go for a bigger TV. However, for a full HD screen, you will have to sit further away to hide the pixilation which means a small television for the same distance.

To find the right size, measure the distance between where your TV will sit and the place from where you will watch. For Full HD, the size of the screen has to be approximately half of the viewing distance in inches. So, divide the number by two. For a 4K TV, divide the distance by 1.5. For example, a distance of eight feet or 96-inches will require a 65-inch TV in 4K before you can discern the individual pixels.

AI can beat 99.8% StarCraft 2 players


Deepmind has published a paper in the journal, Nature, on how its Artificial Intelligence software, AlphaStar, learned how to master real-time strategy game StarCraft 2. The AI has now achieved grandmaster level and it did so by training with different versions of itself. The AI was restricted to 22 non-duplicated actions to mimic standard human movement and it was also only limited to viewing the portion of the map a human would see.

A new Samsung folding phone?


A new video published on one of Samsung’s YouTube pages shows a short animation of two folding phones and how the software would handle the folded screen in various modes. While the first bit showed the phone similar to the Samsung Galaxy fold, the second displayed a possible clamshell design that folds a normal-sized phone into a smaller footprint.

The Outer Worlds


The Outer Worlds is an amazing RPG game that lets you explore planets, complete quests and throws in a bit of tomfoolery while doing it. You start off as a revived recruit from the space ship Hope abandoned on its way to the colony of Halcyon. The future is controlled by corporations and the universe is suffering. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to revive the rest of the members of your crew and help regain balance in order to save humanity. It is a game in the same vein as Fallout but this one includes space and planet exploration. I liked that I wasn’t bound to finishing the missions in a prescribed way.

Watch The Outer Worlds Game Review below:


Rating: 5/5
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PS4
Price: R3,499

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