The TV Screen Type Explainer

This discussion has a more recent version.
edited February 2023 in Audio/Visual

Choosing the best television these days can be tough, especially for those who haven’t been watching the TV market since their last purchase. Typically, the average person only buys a new television every 7-8 years. And, while that might not feel like a long time, a lot can change in even a month, let alone years. So, if you happen to be someone who hasn’t bought a new TV in a while, then you might be feeling a bit lost when searching for a new television.

What do Common TV Terms Mean?

Before we dig too deep into the technical side of things, a quick refresher on some of the old and new TV terms for the modern market:


These types of TVs are also known as high-definition LED televisions, and display images with 720 or 1080 lines of resolution (also referred to as p, meaning progressive scan). HD TVs are designed to produce sharper images that will appear bright even when viewed in well-lit rooms. They were a huge upgrade over standard definition TVs when they were first introduced onto the market in the early 2000’s.


4K TVs are also known as Ultra HD televisions, which display at a 3840x2160 resolution. 4K TVs were another huge leap in tech, as the resolution quadrupled from that of standard high-definition TVs. While very expensive when they first arrived on the market, 4K TVs are now quite affordable.

4K TVs are currently considered the household standard, and, while 8K and standard HD TVs are on the market, 4K TVs are far and away the most common, and for good reason. They provide a stellar quality-to-cost ratio.

LG 65UP7000PUA 65" Class (64.5" Diag.) 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV


HDR stands for high dynamic range. This is a feature of certain LED TVs that delivers a much higher contrast ratios than regular LED or LCD screens. It produces images that are much brighter and more vibrant, and have greater detail in the shadows when compared to other screens.

Ultra HD

Ultra HD is simply another term for 4K LED televisions. These TVs display at a native resolution of 3840x2160.


8K refers to LED TVs with twice the number of pixels on a 4K LED TV, or 4096x4160 pixels. 8K technology is a fairly new technology, so there aren't as many devices on the market which offer 8K LED television technology. 8K TVs that are available do run on the expensive side, so these displays likely won’t become the new standard for several more years until the price goes down significantly. But if you’re looking for the most cutting edge TV, 8k is the way to go.

Samsung QN65Q800TAFXZA 65" Class (64.5" Diag.) 8K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

What are the Differences Between TV Screen Types?


LCD have been around for longer than most screen types on this list, and are known for their affordability and decent picture quality, though some people may find that they tend to produce more glare than other screen types. This means that while these TVs might be good for watching during the day, they might not be ideal if you tend to watch television at night when there is less light in the room.

While they are still used today, they’ve seen a decline in popularity as LED and QLED technology dominate the marketplace. These TVs do not utilize a backlight like LED/QLED displays, but rather a CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp), which has been outclassed by modern LED screens.

Pros: Quite affordable.

Cons: Less common and mostly obsolete technology nowadays. Inferior to other screen types.


LED screens once existed alongside LCD screens but have quickly become the dominant screen type. LED screens perform better than LCD technology in most respects, while also being much cheaper than both OLED and QLED TVs. LEDs stands for light emitting diodes, which are often used in displays on TVs, phones, and computers, as well as the technology that makes up the display itself.

Pros: Much more affordable than OLED and QLED screens. Better technology than LCD screens.

Cons: Outclassed by the more expensive OLED and QLED screens.


OLED screens feature superior displays over LED and LCD screens, though are significantly more expensive as a result. And while OLED technology has not always been the most popular among consumers because of its higher price tag, it has started to come down in price, making it a more viable option for a wider range of TV shoppers.

Rather than using a backlight like LED or LCD screens, they use organic light-emitting diodes that create their own illumination via electroluminescence. OLED is also thinner than LED or LCD displays, meaning the bezels on OLED televisions tend to be much smaller when compared to other types of TVs. LED and LCD screens require a backlight in order to operate, whereas OLED screens produce their own illumination from each individual pixel which eliminates the need for a large backlight assembly.

Pros: Has a superior image. More eco-friendly than other screen types.

Cons: More expensive than LED and LCD televisions. Shorter lifespan than other TVs on average.

LG OLED55A1PUA 55" Class (54.6" Diag.) 4k Ultra HD Smart OLED TV


QLED screens are the newest screen type yet, but also still a little expensive compared to others. Much like OLED screens, though, it has also started becoming more mainstream within recent years and dropping in price. QLED televisions can be found in most home electronics stores now along with LEDs which can make them easier to find.

What sets them apart from other screen types is that they produce more vibrant colors that are much brighter than other types. This means that QLED screens perform better in both well-lit and dimly lit rooms, whereas TVs with LCD or LED type displays can appear a bit more washed out when viewing them in brightly lit rooms.

Additionally, QLED screens also feature new tech in the form of quantum dots, which resists moisture better than other screen types, hence giving it a longer life. This technology means that QLED screens don’t require an expensive vacuum evaporation process which lowers its overall cost. Other benefits of this screen type are its lower power consumption, thinner and lighter weight than other screens, and a faster power-on speed.

Pros: Has longer life than other screen types. Better moisture resistance, lower power consumption, brighter and more vibrant colors.

Cons: More expensive than LCD and LED screens. Less saturated image; screen can suffer from “light bleed” effect. The screen is best viewed from the dead center, with the picture looking worse when viewed from angles.

Samsung QN85QN85AAFXZA 85" Class (84.5" Diag.) 4K Ultra HD HDR Smart Neo QLED TV

Which Screen Type Has the Best Viewing Angles?

As you can see, every screen type has its own respective positives and negatives. But one factor to consider is viewing angles – most households will desire to be able to view their televisions from various angles, with the greater range of potential angles the better.

 As previously stated, QLED screens have an excellent image but are best viewed from the dead center. LED and LCD screens are also best viewed from the center, with about a 20-40 degree viewing angle on average before suffering from image glare. OLED, on the other hand, does not suffer from these issues nearly as much. Users won’t notice any difference in colors or brightness at most viewing angles, making it the best option for households wishing to view a screen with the best viewing angles.

We hope that this guide has been some level of help in clarifying the various different types of TV screens, resolutions, viewing angles, and general terminology. If you’re currently looking for a new television, then you may want to check out Micro Center’s current TV selection – we always have a large selection, with many models regularly on sale! Good luck and happy shopping!

And, if you're looking for more information on TVs, check out our 2022 TV Buying Guide!



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