Difference between LCD, TFT and OLED

Many ask themselves, "What is the difference between an LCD display and a TFT display?" or "What is the difference between a TFT and an OLED display?". Here are these 3 sometimes extremely different display technologies briefly explained. LCD vs. TFT vs. OLED (comparison).

- The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is a passive display technology. The operation and the structure are described above. Passive means that an LCD can only darken or let out light. So it always depends on ambient light or a backlight. This can be an advantage because the power consumption of an LCD display is very, very low. Sometimes even less than the accumulated power consumption of an e-paper display, which in static operation requires absolutely no energy to maintain the content. To change the contents, however, a relatively large amount of power is required for an e-paper display.
LCDs can also be reflective, so they reflect incident light and are therefore best legible even at maximum brightness (sunlight, surgical lighting). Compared to TFT and also OLED, they have an unbeatable advantage in terms of readability and power consumption; the "formula" is: Sunlight = LCD.

- A TFT display (of thin-film transistor) is usually a color display (RGB). From the construction and the technology it corresponds to the LCD. It is also passive, so it needs a backlight. This is in any case necessary except for a few, very expensive constructions. However, a TFT needs much more light than the monochrome relatives, because the additional structures on the glass as well as the additional color filters "swallow" light. So TFTs are not particularly energy-efficient, but can display in color and at the same time the resolution is much higher.
An advantage is certainly the much shorter response time for changing or moving images.

- OLED displays (by Organic Light Emitting Diode) are as the name implies active displays - every pixel or sign generates light. This achieves an extremely wide viewing angle and high contrast values. The power consumption is extremely dependent on the display content. Here OLEDs to TFTs and LCDs differ significantly, which have a nearly constant power consumption even with different display contents. Unfortunately, the efficiency of converting the electric current into light energy is still very poor. This means that the power consumption of OLEDs with normal content is sometimes higher than that of a TFT with the same size. Colored OLEDs are increasingly used in consumer devices, but for the industry, due to their availability and lifetime, currently only monochrome displays are suitable (usually in yellow color).
In the reaction time, the OLEDs beat each TFT by worlds. T (rise) and T (fall) are about 10μs, which would correspond to a theoretical refresh rate of 50,000 Hz. Possibly an advantage in very special applications.

Finally the question "What is better, LCD, OLED or TFT?" Due to the physical differences you can not answer that blanket. Depending on the application, there are pros and cons to each individual technology. In addition to the above differences, there are many more details in the design and construction that need to be individually illuminated for each device. Write us an e-mail or call us: we have specialists with some 20- and 30-year experience. We are happy to compare different displays together with you.