LED Backlight vs IPS vs PVA

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cuse7284, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. cuse7284 macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
    Looking to purchase a monitor and I am confused by what I am reading.

    Basically my understanding is that TN is the most commonly used technology for Monitors and seems to be the worst as far as correct color. However, I found a Samsung which is a TN monitor but also LED Backlit (samsung), which I have also heard to produce very correct color.

    Can someone please clarify all of this?

    I am a graphic designer/photographer looking to buy a 20" + monitor for under $400.

  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    The backlight actually does not matter if the panel is still TN.
    Even the best LED backlight can't make a TN panel look good.
    So do yourself a favour and don't buy TN, they really(!) look like crap.

    Grab a good IPS or PVA display and don't care too much about the backlight.
  3. cuse7284 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
    appreciate it

    What confuses me is reviews like this on the samsung xl2370 from cnet:

    "The purported advantages of an LED backlight are better energy efficiency, more accurate color reproduction, a conceivably thinner panel design, and a higher potential brightness level. "

    "We tested the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 96 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, besting the P2370, the SP2309's 90, but coming in just under the Dell G2410's 97. The P2370 got nearly perfect scores in our color test and the color tracking error that hampered the P2370's score failed to rear its head here. In our Dark Screen test, clouding or backlight bleed through was noticeable on the top and especially the bottom middle edge of the screen."

    Doesnt that seem to indicate otherwise? Maybe ive done too much research and not thinking clearly...:confused:
  4. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    Backlighting and panel aren't the same thing.

    In this case we have:

    TN vs VA vs IPS (panel)

    and in a separate category:

    CCFL vs LED (backlight)

    You can mix any of those. CCFL backlit IPS, or LED backlit TN, vice versa.

    Incidentally, the best quality you can get would be an LED backlit IPS, like Apple's LED display and the new iMacs.

    While an LED backlight will improve a TN's appearance slightly, they are not to be used if color accuracy and image quality are important to you.
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Well, I can only speak from my own experience with TN panels (got one TN besides my S-IPS ACD) and I definitely won't by a TN ever again. It's simply not worth it.

    I'm no designer, so I don't care much about colours in the first place, but it's absolutely distracting if colours are constantly changing when you move your head a little.
    It's not the colour accuracy that's so annoying with TN panels, it's their poor viewing angle.
  6. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
  7. cuse7284 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
    This makes perfect sense. So while this samsung xl2370 (http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/samsung-syncmaster-xl2370/4505-3174_7-33683882.html) would be a nice display, the colors will be accurate, but if you move you head ever so slightly the colors change thus making it not a good monitor for graphic designers...
  8. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
  9. endophilin macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010
    I have a Samsung T260HD TN monitor. It is a very nice monitor. I have had no problems with the viewing angle. I disagree with some of the previous posts about the problems faced with tilting heads in reference to image distortion. Surely, it is not an IPS display but for regular tasks including Photoshop it is fairly decent. I have it connected to a late 2009 Mac Mini and it has served me well. In a nutshell, all TN panels should not be placed under one single category.
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location

    And the backlight does matter with regards to the shorter warm-up times, and fading due to age. LCDs backlit with LEDs don't need to be left on for 20-30 minutes before the colour is most accurate, and the panel doesn't get dimmer over time (i.e. over the life of your laptop, not over the course of a day ;)). Well, it probably does, but it's not as bad as CCFL looks after 2-3 years. Then there's the lower energy consumption, which is especially important for laptops.

    And I'm not 100% sure about this, since this is just a semi-educated guess, but perhaps LED backlit screens are more colour accurate because LED light is whiter than that produced from CCFL. :confused: I guess it wouldn't matter if you calibrate your screen correctly, since any tint would be compensated for during the calibration, but still.....
  11. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Well, the OP asked for a comparison of TN vs IPS/PVA. You can say about TN what you want, but compared to an IPS display, they will always look like crap, regardless of their backlighting!
    Buy a decent IPS display, put it directly besides your TN panel and I guarantee to you, you'll never buy a TN again.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that TN panels are too bad to buy them, I'm just saying that there are other technologies that are far superior.
    I've been sitting in front of a lot TN panels, all of them were fine for general work for a short time, but if you have to sit in front of a computer for a whole day (like me), stressing your eyes with a bad panel is not the best idea.
  12. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    My eyes must be so stressed out from looking at a TN panel all day? I don't think so.
  13. cuse7284 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
    See this is where the problem lies. Old tn panels didn't have this Led backlight correct? Does this backlight create more accurate color? If so, is it good enough for graphic design work? Will i be able to notice this difference?

    Seems like this samsung monitor trys to fill that gap.

    Anyone else have an opinion on this?
  14. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    If you're happy with most monitors then stay with TN and save money. Once you buy an expensive display such as an Apple Cinema Display you'll think all other displays look like crap. ;)
  15. cuse7284 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2010
    I've never bought a monitor before!
  16. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    The trouble with TN is that you can't trust your colors, which is pretty much "Game Over" for any photography or graphics work.

    When you move your head even slightly on a TN, colors (gamma) will shift around. You basically have to view each color "dead center" to get any sort of reliable calibration. This means you either have to move your head, or move the image on the screen. In addition, TN panels use dithered 6-bit color, whereas IPS and VA use 8-bit color.

    IPS or VA, you can simply sit back and edit the image and have faith that a red at the top of the screen is the same as a red at the bottom of the screen.

    Take a look at this:
    That's what happens when you view a TN panel from a low angle. It happens to a much smaller degree even when viewing it center, though it is still enough to impact your color reliability and accuracy.

    The panel type is much more important than the backlight in regards to image quality. LED backlighting gives you purer blacks, instant full brightness after powering on, and less energy consumption. It's nice, but don't think for a moment that an LED backlit TN is comparable to a CCFL backlit IPS. It's not even close.

    Like I said, I think the Dell Ultrasharp 2209WA would be perfect for you.
  17. moose2010 macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2010
    Hate to bring up an old topic but its better than making a new one.

    Im basicly having the same problem deciding between an LED samsung vs an dell IPS. They are both 1080p 16:9 and same price.

    The only thing that stumps me is the IPS has an 8ms time and the LED has a 2ms reponse time.

    Graphics are very important to me and im also a gamer (aka crysis 2 standards). Would the 8ms repsonse time cause a motion blurr? or would it be worth it to go the ips any way for the best picture.

    Ive also had people saying things like the only difference between an IPS and an TN is the ablity to look at different angles with an IPS is this true? or is there truely that much of a difference in quality?

    Thanks for any and all help,

    (the sale on the dell ips ends tonight so id like to pick one soon)

    IPS - http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/...cd=10550055-1225267-u0t2025298f9fp34520c0s441

  18. Loops macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2010
    First, there are two basic types of LCD: sRGB and wide-gamut.

    ---------- panel type -----------

    Inexpensive LCDs used to use analog VGA ports and have TN technology. Now, inexpensive LCDs use digital ports and have TN technology.

    TN is the fastest panel type, in terms of response time. It is the best type of panel for high-speed gaming and high-speed video. Not all TN panels are super-fast, though. However, the typical TN panel will be faster than IPS and PVA panels. 120 Hz panels are starting to move from the television space to the desktop space; they're faster than the typical 60 Hz panel.

    TN's downsides are: limited viewing angle (including color/brightness shift across the panel for large/wide screens) and not available in wide-gamut. (One thing that makes them faster is the use of 6 + 2 bit dithering rather than true 8 or 10 bit color.)

    Not all TN screens are equal! Some netbook screens, for instance, have very small gamuts, very poor contrast, and so forth. Apple's TN laptop screens, however, tend to have high marks -- for TN. But, even Apple's TN screens are sRGB models; they can't display AdobeRGB or full NTSC color. They use 6-bit dithering.

    TN screens tend to use less power than PVA or IPS, but the backlight is probably the biggest issue there.

    S-PVA technology offers the best contrast of any panel type and excellent gamut/color-quality. The downsides are slow response times (including input lag), black crush (difficulty seeing detail in dark areas), and as far as I know -- the highest power consumption. Samsung used to develop these panels, but I think the technology has mostly been abandoned in favor of IPS.

    IPS comes in more than one flavor, including e-IPS which is less expensive as far as I know. IPS displays generally use 8-bit color and have slower response times than TN. IPS has become the basic standard for high-quality color-oriented LCDs.

    ------------- backlighting --------------

    CCFL (mercury fluorescent) backlighting uses more power than LED and grows dim more quickly. It has to warm up to reach maximum brightness. LED backlighting, as far as I know, comes in these forms: edge-lit White LED (cheapest), true backlit White LED, and true backlit RGB LED. Edge-lit can have issues with backlight bleeding as far as I know (whiter areas near where the backlight lights the panel). RGB LED, is not about the location of the backlight, but the nature of the LEDs themselves.

    LED backlights are not necessarily superior, overall, to CCFL. Some recent high-quality monitors use CCFL. Some LED backlights have issues with uniformity (especially edge-lit) and color quality. White LED backlighting does not improve color quality over CCFL. This is why RGB LED backlighting is used in expensive displays. It provides the best color quality, but also uses more power.

    ------------ gamut --------------

    Wide-gamut displays cause problems for any content that is not color-corrected. Instead of "better color", people complain of awful overly saturated unrealistic color. Wide-gamut displays sometimes come to sRGB emulation modes. Some of them do absolutely nothing. Some of them may work.

    It is vital to have a wide-gamut monitor if you're using the AdobeRGB color space or any color space larger than sRGB -- if your work entails a wider color space.

    The web is centered around sRGB, so is gaming, and so is video. But, even with sRGB, color profiling/accuracy is hard to find on the web.

    The ideal monitor for most people is one with 100% sRGB coverage. The ideal monitor for graphics professionals who work with wide color spaces is one with 100% NTSC coverage. The perfect monitor, gamut-wide, would have 100% NTSC coverage plus a perfect sRGB emulator.

    Having a wide-gamut monitor to work with sRGB content is useless, and unless it has a great sRGB emulator, you're going to end up annoyed.

    Some wide-gamut displays have 10-bit color instead of the regular 8-bit color. You'll need a graphics chip in your machine that can handle 10 bits. The old Matrox Parhelia has 10-bit color and some others do as well.

    ----------- calibration -------------

    If you care about accurate color, you should get a hardware colorimeter and calibrate your display. You really should also have a monitor hood. A graphics person should know what the press (and/or web) standards are for white point, gamma, and so forth, too.

    ----------- response --------------

    Response time is not just matter of your panel, but can be related to the interface used between the panel and the computer and the computer's GPU setup. Input lag, for instance, tends to be higher for multi-GPU setups. In general, gamers should seek fast TN panels that have a wide viewing angle and good uniformity. They should not be concerned about gamut and other aspects of color quality.

    ----------- screen legibility ----------------

    There are a few things to keep in mind when combating eyestrain, too: pixel pitch and screen coating. Glossy screens lead to eyestrain more than matte screens. A larger pixel pitch is easier on the eyes because things on the screen look larger.

    Finally, there is a technology called PixelQi that is interesting for outdoor viewing. It is full color normally, but you can switch it to a mostly greyscale mode in strong sunlight. Unlike normal panels, it is totally readable. And unlike the eInk technology, it can be switched back to color and it has good motion response.

    --- Loops

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