OLED vs LCD vs Plasma – What’s the Difference?


The long story short is that OLED and Plasma screens have each of their pixels produce their own light, while LCD ones depend on a backlight. This makes the former types capable of displaying truly black colors, while those of the latter would seem more like dark gray.


Plasma screens are no longer produced though because LCD ones beat them out of the market with their lower prices (lower cost is required to make them) and their slimmer sizes.

OLED vs LCD vs Plasma Comparison


LED screens definitely take the cake when it comes to brightness as their backlight makes them produce higher levels of brightness than those of OLED and Plasma screens. That doesn’t mean the latter can’t function as well in a sunny room or outdoors though. And the full-screen brightness function is generally not as important these days, so this is a mild victory for LED screens.

Black levels

Because OLED and Plasma displays depend on individual pixels, they can turn them off completely, resulting in a perfectly true black.

A level that an LCD display can never reach, even after the local dimming technology, which only helps in dimming parts of the screen independently of others. Even though some also have full-array local dimming to give you better control over the contrast, they still don’t reach the darkness of the black found on the displays of their rivals.

Contrast ratio

The contrast ratio is basically the difference between the brightest white and the darkest black a display can produce. This makes the OLED and Plasma screens win with no doubts as they have higher contrast ratios. Higher contrast ratios are also related to the picture quality and how lifelike the content looks, so it’s a huge plus in the favor of OLED and Plasma screens over LCD ones.

Viewing angle

A rule of thumb is that the more you curve away from the center facing the screen of your TV, the more distorted the images would appear to you. This is why wide viewing angles are a vital feature you should seek when you’re shopping for a monitor.

Not many LED displays use the in-plane switching panels that have wider viewing angles, but sadly, even the ones that do have the disadvantage of having lower contrast ratios.

Unlike OLED and Plasma displays that spare you the worrying about all of these issues as their images stay consistent no matter the angle that you’re looking at the monitor from.

Read more: Mac Mini Monitors – Buyer’s Guide

Energy consumption

Plasma screens have the highest energy consumption relative to the other options.

While LCD screens give you more control over your power consumption as you can adjust the backlight to lower levels without compromising the performance of your screen.

Unlike LCD screens, if you reduce the brightness of an OLED one to save energy, it could mess up with the image and ruin your experience.

The size of the screen

If you can find a Plasma display, you’d be surprised at how big their sizes can go, as hey can reach up to 150 inches.

OLED displays restrict you to screen sizes that are either 55, 65, or 77 inches.

So if you’re looking for a wider variety of sizes that go as low as 20 inches or less, or over 100 inches, it’s the LCD displays that will have your back on that one.


You can probably find very cheap Plasma displays currently as they’re more or less out of use.

LCD screens could be available for 500 dollars at a size of 50-inches, while OLED screens have a much higher price range than that. But if you’re considering the best of the LCD displays, they have similar price tags to those of the more expensive OLED displays’.


The highest resolution you can find on a Plasma display would probably be 1920 x 1080p (HD).

While both OLED and LCD displays can give you Ultra HD 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution.

However, if the 4K resolution doesn’t concern you, or you’re not willing to spend the money on it, you will probably find more choices on the LCD market as only some of the older OLEDs have a 1080p resolution.


Bottom line is, Plasma displays are currently not competing in the market but you can find some old ones for good prices that could give you nice visuals and a satisfactory resolution.

If you are willing to spend some extra money on image quality, then an OLED screen is going to serve you well.

However, if you are looking for something that stands in a middle ground between this and that, that variety of options in the LED market will get you just what you want in terms of size, price, and resolution.