4K vs OLED: which TV technology is more important?

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If you’re wondering if 4K or OLED is the tech right now, you’re not alone. Anyone who tries to buy a new television will be inundated with new TV buzzwords, and of all perhaps the two most important to understand are OLED and 4K.

So what is it, OLED or 4K? In fact, you can have both. But you don’t need To. There are OLED TVs that don’t offer 4K (instead, go for the more expensive 8K resolution) and there are plenty of 4K TVs available that don’t use OLED display technology.

However, most of the best 4K TVs are actually OLED TVsSo it’s worth seeing how the technologies intertwine, what specific models exist, and why you should think about investing in OLED and 4K, if not both.

Why OLED versus 4K?

It’s not really a case of OLED versus 4K. One is display technology and the other is the resolution of most newer televisions. You can find OLED TVs with 4K resolutions, but there are many 4K TVs that use display technologies like LCD, LED, Micro LED and QLED, which are nothing like OLEDs.

Do you need 4K? Probably yes. Going for a lower resolution TV would be ignoring one of the most common TV features. This is not the case with OLED, which is a flagship TV display technology that requires a significant additional investment. Yes, it gets more and more affordable every year, but you should only make an active decision to buy an OLED TV after you understand why it is the best AV technology on the market.

So let’s start by investigating what’s so good – and bad – about OLED and 4K to help you make the right decision when buying a new TV.

Sony Bravia A80J

Sony Bravia A80J OLED TV (Image credit: Sony)

What is OLED?

Available for over a decade in consumer televisions, Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) is a display technology that uses a carbon-based film between two conductors that emits its own light when an electric current is passed through. The pixels are self-illuminating and individually controlled. This allows two pixels side by side to simultaneously produce deep black and bright white. The result is incredible contrast and color, while such pixel-level control means high refresh rates, so no stuttering or motion blur. Once you’ve watched an OLED TV, it’s really hard to go back.

In contrast, OLED TVs can look a bit darker than LED or QLED TVs, although new light sensors and innovations for 2021 improve the performance of OLED TVs in bright environments.

OLED TV panels are exclusively manufactured by LG Display in South Korea, although these panels are used in televisions sold by LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips.

Read more: What is OLED?

What is 4K?

A sharper magnitude than older ‘Full HD’ televisions, 4K resolution – also called Ultra HD – is a shortcut for 3840×2160 pixels. This is an 8 megapixel image as opposed to the 2 megapixel images in a Full HD set, which gives a lot more detail in your images.

With many TV channels now offering 4K streams and Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming 4K content, now is the time to invest in a 4K TV.

Read more: What is 4K?

Realme 4K Smart TV

(Image credit: Realme)

4K vs OLED pricing: how much do they cost?

Where OLED and 4K compete is on price. You can easily buy a 4K TV – in fact, now it’s incredibly hard not to, unless you choose a really small TV – but if you buy an OLED TV, it will cost you dearly.

Most OLED TVs are flagships of major TV brands, or pretty much so. Over the past couple of years that has changed slightly, with the more expensive OLED sets offered by LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips offering 8K resolution.

8K OLED TVs are out of almost everyone’s price bracket and, for now, just loss-making brand extension products that we all could dream of having, but absolutely don’t need. This is certainly not true for 4K OLED. Here’s what you need to know about the 4K OLED TVs currently available from major brands.

What are 4K OLED TVs?

LG A1 OLED

(Image credit: LG)

LG’s 4K OLED TVs for 2021

The current manufacturer of OLED display panels is still the most important brand to look out for when it comes to finding an affordable 4K OLED TV. New for 2021 from LG are a clutch of 4K OLED TVs to tempt your wallets, affordable A1 4K OLED Series (48, 55, 65 and 77 inches) and LG B1 4K OLED (55, 65 and 77 inches) at LG C1 OLED TV (48, 55, 65, 77 and a brand new 83 inch) and the flagship LG G1 4K OLED “Gallery Series” (in 55, 65 and 77 inches) which offers an all new brightness enhancement technology called “ OLED evo ‘.

Sony’s 4K OLED TVs for 2021

The famous Japanese company Bravia Brand 4K OLED TVs for 2021 include the A90J Series (83, 65, and 55 inches) – claimed to be the brightest OLED TV of all – and the A80J series (55, 65, and 77 inches).

Panasonic 4K OLED TVs for 2021

New Panasonic 4K OLED TVs for 2021 include the JZ980 (48, 55 and 65 inch), JZ1000 (48, 55 and 65 inch) with 30W of Dolby Atmos audio and JZ1500 (48, 55 and 65 inch) built on its custom ‘Master HDR’ OLED panel . The flagship JZ2000 series (55- and 65-inch) boasts increased peak brightness and HDR color, along with 125W speakers with side-trigger and up-trigger sound.

Vizio’s 4K OLED TVs for 2021

Buyers in North America have the best chance of getting a 4K OLED TV for less than in Europe thanks to the huge Vizio brand. In 2021 Vizio sells the 55-inch OLED55-H1 and 65-inch OLED65-H1. They are the most affordable and economical OLED TVs on the market, with our opinion indicating that the downsides are limited brightness and poor scaling.

Philips 4K OLED TVs for 2021

The Dutch brand provides a multitude of 4K OLED TVs for 2021. Its 806 OLED is available in 48, 55, 65 and 77 inch sizes and includes a 50W 2.1 sound system. Its scalable OLED 856 series in sizes 55 and 65 inches includes a T-bracket.

Philips OLED + 986 shines in the living room

(Image credit: Philips)

The future of OLED and 4K technologies

OLED and 4K are two mature TV technologies, but with each passing year they get better and more affordable – together. Established as the premium TV display technology for audiovisual enthusiasts, LG Display – the maker of OLED panels – continues to innovate and in 2021 it introduced its new brightness enhancement technology “OLED evo “on LG. Gallery G1 Series. Its LG Signature OLED R – a 65-inch 4K roll-up screen that disappears into a base – also just become available, although for $ 99,999 / $ 99,999.

OLED TVs are also set to go mainstream. Until recently, OLED TVs were expensive largely because they were only available in the big screen; 55 inches, 65 inches, 77 inches, and 88 inches, to be exact. The past year saw the popularization of a new 48 inch size of the OLED TV, which helps make this once high-end display technology more affordable. Production increased in 2021, so expect to see some tempting offers on 48-inch 4K OLED TVs.

An 83-inch size is also available for 2021, an innovation that simultaneously enabled the introduction of 42-inch 4K OLED TVs (you can cut an 83-inch panel into four 42-inch panels, after all). So expect to see even smaller and cheaper 4K OLED TVs in the future.

Which one should I buy?

If you buy an OLED TV, it will come with 4K resolution. However, you must want to to buy an OLED TV, because there are a myriad of other TV display technologies. So go take a look at an OLED TV in a store, compare it with LED and QLED TVs and you will see that while OLED TVs may not be as bright as some of the other screens, it’s OLED that looks the best. best in terms of 3D-like fluidity, contrast, deep blacks and no jerky or motion blur.

The TV tech mash-up of choice for anyone after the best picture quality, 4K OLED TVs will only get better and more affordable in the years to come.


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