LCD Panel Types Explored | PC Monitors
Author: Adam Simmons
Last updated: July 8th 2022
Table of Contents
Most people are familiar with the fact that monitors come in various resolutions and screen sizes, can have a matte or glossy screen surface and can offer specific features such as 120Hz refresh rates and 3D capabilities. The range of displays and variation in specification can be rather daunting and what’s more; you can’t necessarily trust the ‘on paper’ figures in the first place. One fundamentally important aspect of an LCD monitor which will dictate how it performs and what kind of tasks it would be best at performing is the panel type. Although there are various sub-divisions all modern screens will generally fall into one of three categories with distinct performance characteristics.
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TN (Twisted Nematic) panels
Until fairly recently the TN panel monitor has been the most ubiquitous on the market. Manufacturers will often be keen to point out in their specifications whether an ‘alternative’ kind of panel is used; if in doubt assume its TN. General attributes include a relatively low manufacturing cost and a relatively high level of responsiveness; the pixels change their state quickly which helps make moving images appear smoother. Some Twisted Nematic displays have double the usual refresh rate (120Hz instead of 60Hz) allowing them to take advantage of ‘active 3D shutter’ technologies and allowing them to display twice as much information every second for a smoother gaming experience. This has gone further now, with more recent releases featuring a 144Hz or higher refresh rate and aiming this purely at a fluid 2D rather than 3D (stereoscopic glasses) experience.
The Acer XN253Q X – a 240Hz TN panel monitor
Although it has improved leaps and bounds in this department over the years the image performance is often considered a relative weakness of TN technology. A good TN monitor can provide a crisp and vibrant image with respectable contrast – typically 1000:1 with any ‘dynamic contrast’ mode disabled. The main drawback comes with relatively restricted viewing angles. These are often quoted as 170° horizontal and 160° vertical which is only marginally lower than that quoted for other panel technologies. In actuality you will see a marked change in colour and even ‘inversion’ if you view the screen from the side but also from above or below, in particular. You can see this shift demonstrated in this video taken using what is regarded as one of the more capable TN monitors (the Dell S2719DGF).
Particularly but not exclusively on larger TN models, the relatively restricted viewing angles actually affect the performance if you are sitting directly in front as well. Your eyes subtend different viewing angles if you observe the centre of the screen compared to observing peripheral regions. You will see a given shade represented differently depending on its position on the screen – most notably being darker (more saturated and higher perceived gamma) towards the top of the screen and lighter (less saturated and lower perceived gamma) towards the bottom. Because of this, the colour accuracy and consistency suffers making them a poor choice for ‘colour critical work’ such as design and photography. You can see this in the image below, captured on the ASUS PG278Q in a way that is fairly representative of what you would see when observing the monitor from a normal viewing position at a desk. These shifts in perceived gamma and saturation are greater if you sit closer to the screen.
The image below shows the Dell S2716DG, another TN model, displaying the Datacolor SpyderCHECKR 24 test patches. There is a printed sheet of shades, all of which are contained within the sRGB colour space. The screen is displaying a reference photograph of the printed shade board, provided by Datacolor. This should match the printed shade quite closely if the monitor is accurately outputting shades within the sRGB colour space. Although there is always some disparity between how emissive objects (monitor) and non-emissive objects (printed sheet) appear. The shades are displayed in the same order as the printed sheet on the right of the screen, whilst the order is inverted on the left side of the screen. Whilst the exact shades you see will differ from those you’d see in real life, due to the camera used and the screen you’re viewing this photo on, it still gives a good idea of the relative differences. It also provides a very clear visual demonstration of the colour consistency issues described earlier. The light chocolate brown shade and golden yellow (gamboge) shade next to it, for example, look far deeper when displayed near the top of the screen. The golden yellow shade is actually a fairly close match to the printed shade at this point. When displayed near the bottom, the brown shade appears far more clay-like. And the golden yellow a brighter yellow shade, more closely matching the other yellow shade on the printed sheet. The shades have what should be a very subtle texture to them due to the material they’re printed on. This is captured in the reference photographs and is most obvious for the black block. It’s brought out far too strongly when the shade is displayed lower down the screen and is much better-blended when it’s displayed further up the screen, due to the perceived gamma shifts.
VA (Vertical Alignment) panels
If an LCD monitor is trying to display black then the colour filter will be positioned such that as little light as possible (of any colour) from the backlight will get through. Most LCD monitors will do a reasonable job at this but the filter isn’t perfect and so the blacks may not appear as deep as they should. A definite strength of the VA panel is its efficiency at blocking light from the backlight when it’s not wanted. This gives deeper blacks and higher contrast ratios of around 2000:1 – 5000:1 with ‘Dynamic Contrast’ modes disabled – several times higher than that of the other LCD technologies. This can have a positive effect by giving a more atmospheric look to dark scenes in games and movies, whilst adding definition and depth to shadows and other fine details in the image. VA models can also provide a relatively solid or ‘inky’ appearance to some medium shades, particularly when compared to models with significantly weaker contrast. They’re also less susceptible to ‘bleed’ or ‘clouding’ towards the edges of the screen, which can make such screens good candidates for movie lovers and nice to use for general purpose work. Such issues still can, unfortunately, still plague some units of any panel type and tend to be more common with the curved VA panels many manufacturers are now pushing.
A modern VA monitor
Another key advantage of VA is the improved viewing angles and colour reproduction compared to TN. The shift in colour across the screen and ‘off angle’ is less pronounced, whilst shades can be produced with greater precision. In this respect they are better candidates for colour critical work, but they are not as strong in this area as the IPS and related technologies explored subsequently. There is a weakening of saturation when comparing a shade in the centre of the screen vs. that same shade towards the edges or bottom of the screen, from a normal viewing position. This loss of saturation can also be observed further up the screen, particularly on larger screens or if your eyes are in line with the centre of the screen or below. There’s also a shift in gamma that is most noticeable on greys or pastel shades but can also be observed elsewhere, with said shade appearing to lighten or darken quite readily with even slight head movement. Some VA models almost have a ‘cone’ or ‘tunnel’ effect due to these shifts, with the peripheral regions appearing noticeably duller than the central mass of the screen. This also masks dark detail centrally (‘black crush’, high perceived gamma) and can reveal extra unintended detail peripherally (low perceived gamma). The image shows the same SpyderCHECKR 24 system used for the TN example earlier, this time on the AOC PD27 with VA panel. The vertical shifts in saturation and colour representation are less extreme, but certainly still there. These gamma and saturation shifts are more pronounced if you sit closer to the screen.
Some of the modern VA panel types used on PC monitors include SVA (‘Super’ Vertical Alignment), MVA (Multi-domain Vertical Alignment) and AAS (Azimuthal Anchoring Switch) VA-type panels. Regardless of the panel technology used, a common weakness with many VA models is with their slow pixel responses for some transitions. In some severe cases things can appear as ‘smoke-like’ trails. Recent models using AU Optronics VA, CSOT VA and Samsung SVA panels generally use effective pixel overdrive and don’t suffer from widespread ‘smoke-like’ trails. They are actually on par with modern IPS models for some pixel transitions, which is something manufacturers will latch onto by giving misleading and overly optimistic specified response times. 4ms is commonly specified, as some pixel transitions can be expected to be performed at this kind of speed. Other pixel transitions, particularly where darker shades are involved in the transition, are still relatively slow. Enough to significantly increase perceived blur with some ‘smeary’ trailing – generally falling short of ‘smoke-like’ in appearance, but still extending quite far from the object during motion. The video section below shows some nice visual examples of such trailing from our Gigabyte G32QC review.
There has been an increasing drive towards high refresh rate VA panels, including 34″- 35″ UltraWide VA panels with 100Hz+ refresh rates and various sizes of screen with 144Hz+ 16:9 VA panels. Models such as the AOC C24G1 and LG 32GK850G employ effective and flexible pixel overdrive and can deliver a reasonable 144Hz – 165Hz experience. Users benefit from the decreased perceived blur of running the high refresh rate at suitably high frame rates, with many pixel transitions performed fast enough for a decent performance there. But there are still some weaknesses, with some pixel responses substantially slower than optimal and giving some ‘heavy powdery’ or ‘smeary’ trailing in places. Some models, including the AOC C24G1, have another trick up their proverbial sleeves. They include strobe backlight modes (called MBR or ‘Motion Blur Reduction’ on the AOC) which can greatly reduce perceived blur caused by eye movement, provided the frame rate matches the refresh rate. This concept and related aspects are explored in detail in our article on responsiveness.
The pixel response time weaknesses common on VA models can also manifest as a sort of ‘flickering’ effect or blending together, where some brighter shades appear to darken during movement and blend into neighbouring dark shades. The shade brightness returns to normal when the movement ceases. There is a demonstration of this effect on the AOC PD27 in game and also on the desktop on our video review of that model. That’s actually a relatively fast VA model, but there are still some distinct weaknesses – especially at higher refresh rates, where the pixel responses can’t keep up with the rigorous requirements there. This can be reduced by increasing the overdrive setting, but that introduces strong overshoot. The video below taken from our AOC CQ32G3SU review also shows this ‘flickering’ or blending effect.
Only a small handful of VA models deliver rapid enough pixel responses to really avoid these sorts of traditional VA weaknesses at high refresh rates, without strong overshoot. The best examples of that with appropriate data and real-world experiences to back this up are the 240Hz Samsung Odyssey models. With the 27″ versions being particularly impressive in that respect.
IPS (In-Plane Switching), PLS (Plane to Line Switching) and AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle) panels
When it comes to the end result these three technologies are essentially very similar; the key differences being that IPS technology is developed chiefly by LG Display, PLS technology by Samsung (no longer manufactured) and AHVA by AUO. These are sometimes simply referred to collectively as ‘IPS-type’ panels. Other panel manufacturers have their own ‘IPS-type’ technologies, including Innolux with their AAS (Azimuthal Anchoring Switch) technology – which, confusingly, also has VA-type iterations. And BOE with their IPS-ADS technology. The real selling point of these is their superior colour accuracy, consistency and viewing angles when compared to the other LCD technologies. Each shade remains distinct with its own ‘identity’ regardless of its position on the screen. This is combined with extended colour gamuts (increasing potential shade range and saturation) on some models for a vibrant and saturated look throughout the screen. Gamma consistency is also strong, ensuring dark shades appear largely appropriate throughout the screen rather than appearing too visible in some regions of the screen and far too masked in other regions. This consistency in both gamma and saturation makes IPS-type panels particularly good candidates for ‘colour critical’ work. Those who appreciate colour-richness that’s well-maintained throughout the screen may enjoy using them for gaming, movies and general desktop work as well. The image shows the same SpyderCHECKR 24 system used for the TN and VA examples earlier, this time on the ASUS PA278QV with IPS-type panel. The consistency is far superior to the TN example and improved compared to the VA example as well, with the shade sets on the left and right of the screen appearing relatively similar to one another.
There’s a very good range of affordable IPS-type monitors available from most major manufacturers, including Dell, LG, Acer, AOC and ASUS. This means that photographers, designers or just regular users on a lower budget can take advantage of the technology too. Many modern IPS-type monitors are also far more responsive than their VA counterparts and in some cases are effective rivals to many TN monitors. Responsiveness was traditionally an area of significant weakness for IPS panels. Due to dramatic improvements in pixel responsiveness and refresh rate, some modern models have found favour amongst gamers who take advantage of the colour performance in their favourite titles without lots of unsightly trailing. 144Hz+ panels of this type are now common. Another area of traditional weakness was contrast. There have been some improvements there, with most panels of this type similar to their TN counterparts in that department now (around 1000:1 contrast ratio without dynamic contrast). Some are a bit stronger, some a bit weaker. One troublesome issue that some people have noticed is a sheen or ‘glow’ when viewing dark content that is caused by the behaviour of light in these panels. This is typically most obvious when viewing ‘off angle’ as shown on the BenQ PD2705Q in the video below. You will generally be able to observe this on the corners of 21.5″+ models whilst viewing from directly in front, unless you are sitting quite far back from the screen. The majority of time you will be looking at brighter and more colourful shades where these displays excel but it is always worth looking beyond figures on paper.
There are three main categories of panel used on modern LCD monitors; TN, VA and IPS-type. Up until quite recently TN was the most prevalent, offering decent image performance and high responsiveness at a decent price. VA sacrifices responsiveness, generally being the slowest current panel type but offering relatively strong contrast and improvements in colour performance over TN technologies. IPS and related technologies are the kings of colour offering the most consistent and accurate performance in this area whilst sporting excellent viewing angles, respectable responsiveness and reasonable contrast. Really it is up to the individual user to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the monitors they are comparing; understanding the general performance characteristics of different panels is a great starting point.
- This post explores some of the key points of comparison between IPS and VA panels. More recent discussion is included further into the thread, but the original post is still relevant.
- This post from the same thread (and a few preceeding posts) explore how enhanced contrast can affect more than just ‘dark scenes’. And how complex local dimming solutions such as Mini LED can aid IPS models in that respect.
- This video offers a visual comparison between an IPS-type panel and a TN panel. First perceived contrast differences are discussed and demonstrated, then colour performance is analysed in a similar way.
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IPS, VA, PLS, AHVA & TN Monitors
- IPS Panel Technology
- Top Rated IPS Gaming Monitors
- VA Panel Technology
- TN Panel Technology
- Summary of LCD Panel Technologies
There are many different types of LCD panel technologies used in the production of LCD monitors. They range from budget TN panels to expensive, professional quality H-IPS and MVA panels. The average consumer usually has no idea what LCD panel technology is used in their LCD. In fact, many power users are also unaware because the panel type is not often advertised in a prominent area. Sometimes the panel type is even absent from the monitor specifications.
Many users buy monitors based solely on how much it will lighten their wallets. Price should be a factor, but you should still be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of all the different LCD panel types and be able to identify them before you decide which LCD monitor is best for you.
IPS Panel Technology
IPS (In Plane Switching) panels are generally considered the best overall LCD technology for image quality, color accuracy and viewing angles. They are well suited for graphics design and other applications which require accurate and consistent color reproduction. IPS panels offer the best viewing angles of any current LCD technology, with wide viewing angles up to 178 degrees.
All these benefits raise IPS monitors to a higher price range compared to VA and especially affordable TN panel LCDs. The response time of IPS is adequate, averaging around 4ms to 8ms with modern IPS technology. This is only slightly slower than TN panels. However, gamers should take this into consideration. Fast paced games may suffer from motion blur or ghosting with IPS panels that have a response time higher than 8ms.
S-IPS panels can often be identified buy a slight purple hue on blacks when viewed from a wide angle. There are currently few manufacturers using S-IPS panels in comparison to the other panels types making choices limited and they often carry a premium price tag. H-IPS is a newer variation of S-IPS with a different pixel structure that improves contrast ratios and lowers pixel pitch to provide better picture quality. New IPS panel types like H-IPS introduced a problem known as “IPS glow”. The less obtrusive purple hue present when viewing older S-IPS technology off angle was replaced with a brighter white/yellow tinge that is harsher and more noticeable by comparison, especially in a dark room. IPS glow is the main drawback of this panel type and many users find it to be a deal breaker.
There are various iterations of IPS panels with new and improved versions releasing over time, for example: S-IPS, H-IPS, e-IPS, P-IPS, AH-IPS, AHVA and Nano IPS. They’re all relatively similar regarding the technology they use, though H-IPS introduced a slightly different pixel structure from S-IPS and the majority of e-IPS panels only offer 6-bit color depth. IPS LCD monitors are a suitable stopgap display technology until OLED monitors are commercially viable. If you’re in the market for a monitor that uses IPS technology you can review our comprehensive list of IPS monitors before choosing.
Top Rated IPS Gaming Monitors
Acer Nitro VG271
Cheap 144Hz IPS Monitor
Best Value IPS for Gaming
Acer Predator XB273K
144Hz 4K IPS with Quantum Dot
What is Super PLS?
Super PLS (Plane to Line Switching) is a proprietary LCD panel type developed by Samsung that is very similar in design and construction to IPS panel technology. Samsung has made claims stating Super PLS panels have wider viewing angles and produce 10% more brightness than IPS displays while being cheaper to produce. The 27″ Samsung S27A850D was the first LCD monitor released to make use of Super PLS.
What is AHVA?
Yet another proprietary “IPS-like” panel type that offers similar performance to PLS. Developed by AUO, AHVA is short for Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle. The acronym can be slightly confusing as AHVA technology will sometimes be mixed up with Vertical Alignment (VA, see below) even though it makes use of In-Plane Switching (IPS).
What is Nano IPS?
Nano IPS is LG’s latest iteration to the panel type that offers a wider color gamut (135% sRGB) thanks to a layer of “nanoparticles” applied directly to the W-LED backlighting system of Nano IPS panels (unlike Quantum Dot, which uses a film layer between the panel and backlight). This panel type is also capable of faster response times (typically 1ms) and higher refresh rates; though this is more of a generational IPS improvement, not traits specific to Nano IPS. AUO has also developed their own panel type similar to Nano IPS that has been dubbed Rapid IPS.
VA Panel Technology
VA (Vertical Alignment) technology such as S-PVA/MVA are middle of the road LCD panels. They offer better color reproduction and wider viewing angles than TN panels, but have slower response times. They are very similar to S-IPS on paper. They also offer large viewing angles and good color reproduction, though not as good as IPS panels. The response times are generally worse than TN or IPS panels and there have been reports of a few VA panels that suffer from input lag, so VA technology is not be the best choice for fast paced gaming.
VA panels have the advantage of higher contrast ratios compared to other panel types, which leads to better black levels. The biggest disadvantage of VA based panels is color shifting. Color shifting is when the image viewed from one angle changes or “shifts” when viewed from a slightly different angle, making various uneven brightness levels across the display. This bothers many users to the point they will not even consider buying a VA based panel, while other users don’t notice or aren’t bothered by the color shifting. Color shifts also cause a loss of shadow detail in dark scenes when viewed directly from the center.
VA panels are much easier to find compared to IPS since so many manufacturers utilize them for LCD monitors and other displays such as large HDTVs. They offer better image quality than TN at a lower price point than IPS panels. Update: IPS has recently exploded in popularity. They have now overtaken VA monitors in regards to availability and lower price. However, the majority of TV manufacturers still use VA because of the higher contrast ratios and better black levels offered by VA panels.
TN Panel Technology
TN (Twisted Nematic) panels are the most widely used panel type in the manufacture of budget LCD monitors. TN panels are generally cheaper and offer excellent response times, making them perfect for fast paced gaming. The response times of current TN panels can reach as low as 1ms. For comparison, even the fastest IPS panels have trouble averaging below 5ms. Unfortunately the color reproduction, viewing angles and contrast ratios of TN panels are the worst of any modern LCD panel technology.
Unlike most 8-bit IPS/VA based panels, TN is only 6-bit and unable to display the full 16.7 million colors available in 24-bit true color. They can mimic the 16.7 million colors of 8-bit panels using a technique called dithering, but the results are unimpressive. TN panels became popular with the average computer user because they are very inexpensive and once dominated the LCD display market in availability (though IPS and VA have become more widespread over recent years).
Summary of LCD Panel Technologies
- S-IPS, H-IPS, Super PLS, AHVA and other IPS-type panels are generally considered the best all around panel type, but they are more expensive and very few are made. High end, expensive.
- S-PVA/MVA/VA panels offer better color reproduction and viewing angles than TN panels, have slightly worse response times than TN or IPS, offer the best contrast ratios, may suffer from color shifting or input lag and have higher availability than IPS and Super PLS panels. Mid range, fair price.
- TN panels are very cheap and have the fastest response times, but suffer from inferior color reproduction, contrast ratios and viewing angles. The majority of LCD monitors produced use TN panels. Low end, inexpensive.
Update 2: November, 2020 – IPS panel manufacturers have developed major advancements over the past couple years leading to much higher refresh rates for IPS type monitors. Not long ago a 165Hz refresh rate was considered top of the line; now IPS panels are beling released with refresh rates as high as 360Hz and 240Hz is fairly common/affordable. These high refresh IPS monitors have started closing the gap between TN monitors as far as responsiveness and motion blur is concerned.
Update: As of 2016, much of this information still applies, though prices of IPS-based displays have dropped and they’re more readily available. VA panels have also seen improvements to their responsiveness/input lag. Many users now view VA performance and image quality as on par or close to IPS. TN is still the cheapest and most used panel type with the best responsiveness, least motion blur and worst viewing angles/image quality.
- IPS Monitor List – Sortable list of LCD monitors that use IPS panel technology.
- Backlight Bleeding: An LCD Problem – Explains what backlight bleeding is, how to identify it, and explores possible fixes.
Which matrix to choose – TN, VA or IPS?
When choosing a gaming monitor, you need to pay attention to many characteristics – screen size and resolution, refresh rate, response time, and type of matrix. In this article, we talk about what matrices exist in modern monitors, and in the same place we consider their features, pros and cons.
What types of matrices are there?
Modern liquid crystal LCD monitors use three main types of matrices: twisted nematic (TN), vertical alignment (VA) and in-plane switching (IPS). Although thanks to recent technological improvements, the differences between matrices, especially VA and IPS, no longer seem so huge, the difference between them still exists. Monitors with TN are suitable for competitive gamers, while IPS and VA are for those who care about graphics.
TN is the oldest type of liquid crystal matrix. The biggest advantage of this type of matrix is its affordable price and the responsiveness of the monitor to user actions.
Until recently, only TN matrices provided fast response times, as low as 1ms. And so for competitive games or e-sports, it was an obvious choice. TN panels also provide a maximum screen refresh rate of 240Hz, other types only operate at a maximum frame rate of 150-200Hz.
On the negative side, TN panels have fairly limited color reproduction capabilities, as they cover only about 100% of the standard sRGB color gamut, as well as limited viewing angles. In real life, on monitors with a TN panel, viewing angles reach a value of 170/160 degrees, and therefore, when the monitor is rotated, the colors on the screen are distorted.
Who is a TN monitor suitable for?
Because of their speed, TN matrices remain the best choice for gamers who enjoy shooters and other fast-paced games, as well as those interested in competitive gaming where every split second counts.
4K HDR gaming monitor EL2870U with TN panel
- 4K resolution (UHD) 3840×2160
- HDR support
- Response time 1ms
VA panels support a much larger color space than TN and offer the highest contrast of any LCD panel. VA sensors outperform standard RGB and often cover the wider Adobe RGB color gamut as well as wide 178/178 viewing angles. Because they have an impressive contrast ratio (usually 3000:1 or more), they are great for HDR content.
Another distinct advantage is that VA monitors are often curved.
VA sensors, however, are not as fast as TNs, although they can achieve response times of 2-3ms and refresh rates of 200Hz.
Who is a VA monitor suitable for?
VA monitor for almost any game. A monitor with a VA matrix will suit fans of games of different genres. You’ll get good performance and excellent image quality no matter what game you’re playing. The exception will be those gamers who participate in competitions and those whose focus is victory.
IPS arrays have been developed to overcome the shortcomings of TN arrays. IPS monitors are widely recognized for their lack of image distortion when viewing angles and for their color display abilities. This is the only sensor type that provides 95% or even 100% DCI-P3, the color space used in digital cinema. Even basic IPS panels offer 20-30% more color space than the most advanced TN panels. In addition, IPS panels offer wide 178/178 viewing angles, which means the picture will be the same from any angle. They reproduce HDR content much better than TN.
Who is an IPS monitor suitable for?
IPS monitors are best suited for gamers who enjoy games that require graphics and color reproduction, such as the popular interactive cinema genre.
BenQ EX2780Q IPS Gaming Monitor
- 27″ IPS Panel 2K QHD
- HDR technology and FreeSync support
- USB-C™ Connector
TN, VA, IPS 9 matrix comparison0008
The fastest option. Support for refresh rates up to 240Hz. Very fast response time, typically less than 1ms.
Limited color space – typically standard RGB, but excellent deep blacks.
Changes in colors and fading of the image when changing the viewing angle.
Competitive gameplay. Ideal for those who focus on winning.
Response time has improved significantly to 2-3ms. Refresh rate up to 200Hz.
Good color reproduction with wider gamut than TN – often Adobe RGB and sometimes even DCI-P3 00:1.
Viewing angles are noticeably better than TN-178/178.
Ideal for gamers of all genres, movies and TV.
The slowest option with the highest total input lag due to more complex processing for each pixel.
Support for color spaces, DCI-P3 and Rec. 2020. Excellent color reproduction.
The contrast ratio is between TN and VA. Bad blacks.
Great for viewing from various angles.
Gamers who want to enjoy beautiful graphics.
Other related articles
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In the past, monitors did not have built-in speakers, and if they did, the sound quality left much to be desired. Today, many modern monitors designed for entertainment and gaming have found speakers with an independent subwoofer, also known as 2.1 acoustics.
How is a gaming monitor different from a regular office monitor?
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tn, ips, pls, va, mva, oled
- Monitor matrix types, their characteristics, similarities and differences
- TN matrix
- TN+Film matrix
- IPS or SFT
- Types of Ips matrix:
- PLS matrix
- VA, MVA and PVA matrix
- OLED displays
- How to find out which matrix is in the monitor?
- Which matrix is better, how do they affect vision?
Currently, the two most basic, so to speak, root, matrix manufacturing technologies, LCD and LED, are used for the production of consumer monitors.
- LCD is an abbreviation for the phrase “Liquid Crystal Display”, which translated into understandable Russian language means liquid crystal display, or LCD.
- LED stands for “Light Emitting Diode”, which in our language is read as a light emitting diode, or simply an LED.
All other types are derivatives of these two pillars of display construction and are modified, modernized and improved versions of their predecessors.
Well, let’s now consider the evolutionary process that displays went through when becoming at the service of humanity.
Types of monitor matrices, their characteristics, similarities and differences
Let’s start with the most familiar LCD screen. It consists of:
- Matrix, which at first was a sandwich of glass plates interspersed with a film of liquid crystals. Later, with the development of technology, thin sheets of plastic began to be used instead of glass.
- Light source.
- Connecting wires.
- Housing with a metal frame that stiffens the product
The point of the screen responsible for forming the image is called pixel and consists of:
- Two transparent electrodes.
- Interlayers of active substance molecules between electrodes (this is LC).
- Polarizers whose optical axes are perpendicular to each other (depending on the design).
If there were no LC between the filters, then the light from the source passing through the first filter and being polarized in one direction would be completely delayed by the second, due to its optical axis being perpendicular to the axis of the first filter. Therefore, no matter how we shine on one side of the matrix, it remains black on the other side.
The surface of the electrodes touching the LC is processed in such a way as to create a certain order of arrangement of molecules in space. In other words, their orientation, which tends to change depending on the magnitude of the voltage of the electric current applied to the electrodes. Further, technological differences begin depending on the type of matrix.
Tn matrix stands for “Twisted Nematic”, which means “Wriggling Threadlike”. The initial arrangement of the molecule is in the form of a quarter-turn spiral. That is, the light from the first filter is refracted so that, passing along the crystal, it enters the second filter in accordance with its optical axis. Therefore, in a quiet state, such a cell is always transparent.
By applying voltage to the electrodes, it is possible to change the angle of rotation of the crystal up to its complete straightening, at which light passes through the crystal without refraction. And since it was already polarized by the first filter, the second one will completely delay it, and the cell will be black. Changing the voltage value changes the angle of rotation, and, accordingly, the degree of transparency.
Advantages of – low response time, low cost.
Disadvantages of – small viewing angles, low contrast, poor color reproduction, inertia, power consumption
It differs from simple TN by the presence of a special layer designed to increase the viewing angle in degrees. In practice, a value of 150 degrees horizontal is achieved for the best models. It is used in the vast majority of budget-level TVs and monitors.
Advantages of – low response time, low cost.
Disadvantages of – viewing angles are very small, low contrast, poor color reproduction, inertia.
Short for “Think Film Transistor” and translates to “Thin Film Transistor”. The name TN-TFT would be more correct, since this is not a type of matrix, but a manufacturing technology and the difference from pure TN is only in the way pixels are controlled. Here it is implemented using microscopic field-effect transistors, and therefore such screens belong to the class of active LCDs. That is, this is not a type of matrix, but a way to control it.
IPS or SFT matrix
Yes, and this is also a descendant of the most ancient LCD plate. In fact, it is a more developed and modernized TFT, as Super Fine TFT is called (very good TFT). The viewing angle of the best products is increased to 178 degrees, and the color gamut is almost identical to the natural
Advantages of – viewing angles, color reproduction.
Disadvantages – the price is too high compared to TN, the response time is rarely below 16 ms.
Types of IPS matrix:
- H-IPS – increases image contrast and reduces response time.
- AS-IPS – the main quality is to increase the contrast.
- H-IPS A-TW – H-IPS with “True White” technology that enhances whites and whites.
- AFFS – increased electric field strength for large viewing angles and brightness.
Modified IPS version to reduce costs and optimize response time (up to 5 milliseconds). Launched by the Samsung concern and is an analogue of H-IPS, AN-IPS, which are patented by other electronics developers.
More information about the PLS matrix can be found in our article:
PLS matrix type – manufacturing technology, features, pros and cons. IPS vs PLS
VA, MVA and PVA matrices
This is also a manufacturing technology, not a separate type of screen.
- VA Matrix is short for “Vertical Alignment”. Unlike TN matrices, VA matrices do not transmit light in the off state
- MVA matrices . Modified VA. The goal of the optimization was to increase viewing angles. Reducing the response time was possible thanks to the use of OverDrive technology.
- PVA matrix . It is not a separate species. It is an MVA patented by Samsung under its own name.
There is also an even greater number of various improvements and improvements that the average user is unlikely to encounter in practice – the maximum that the manufacturer indicates on the box is the main type of screen and that’s it.
In parallel with LCDs, LED technology has evolved. Full-fledged, purebred LED screens are made from discrete LEDs either in a matrix or cluster way and are not found in household appliance stores.
The reason for the absence of full-weight LEDs on sale lies in their large dimensions, low resolution, and coarse grain. The destiny of such devices is banners, outdoor TV, media facades, a ticker device.
Attention! Don’t confuse the marketing name like “LED monitor” with a real LED display. Most often, this name will hide a conventional LCD of the TN + Film type, but the backlight will be made using an LED lamp, not a fluorescent one. This is all that in such a monitor will be from LED technology – only the backlight.
A separate segment is OLED displays, which are one of the most promising areas:
- low weight and overall dimensions;
- low appetite for electricity;
- unlimited geometric shapes;
- no special lamp required;
- viewing angles up to 180 degrees;
- instantaneous matrix response;
- contrast exceeds all known alternative technologies;
- the ability to create flexible screens;
- temperature range is wider than other screens.
- short service life of certain color diodes;
- the inability to create durable full-color displays;
- is a very high price, even compared to IPS.
For reference. Perhaps we are also read by lovers of mobile devices, so we will touch on the sector of portable equipment:
AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) – a combination of LED and TFT
Super AMOLED – Well, we think everything is clear here!
Based on the data provided, it follows that there are two types of monitor matrices – liquid crystal and LED. Combinations and variations are also possible.
You should know that the matrices are divided by ISO 13406-2 and GOST R 52324-2005 into four classes, which we will only say that the first class provides for the complete absence of dead pixels, and the fourth class allows up to 262 defects per million points.
How do I know which matrix is in the monitor?
There are 3 ways to verify the type of matrix of your screen:
a) If the packing box and technical documentation have been preserved, then you can probably see a table with the characteristics of the device, among which the information of interest will be indicated.
b) Knowing the model and name, you can use the services of the manufacturer’s online resource.
c) Use our recommendations:
- If you look at a color picture of a TN monitor from different angles from the side-top-bottom, you will see color distortions (up to inversion), fading, yellowness of the white background. It is impossible to achieve completely black color – it will be deep gray, but not black.
- IPS is easy to identify by the black picture, which turns purple when the eye deviates from the perpendicular axis.
- If the listed manifestations are absent, then this is either a more modern version of IPS or OLED.
- OLED is distinguished from all others by the absence of a backlight, so the black color on such a matrix is a completely de-energized pixel. And even the best IPS has a black color that glows in the dark due to BackLight.
Let’s find out which is the best matrix for a monitor.
Which matrix is better, how do they affect vision?
So, the choice in stores is limited to three technologies TN, IPS, OLED.
TN matrix is low cost, has acceptable time delays and is constantly improving image quality. But due to the low quality of the final image, it can only be recommended for home use – sometimes to watch a movie, sometimes to drive a toy and from time to time work with texas. As you remember, the response time for the best models reaches 4 ms. Disadvantages in the form of poor contrast and unnatural color causes increased eye fatigue.
IPS is, of course, a completely different matter! Bright, juicy and natural colors of the transferred picture will provide excellent comfort of work. Recommended for printing works, designers or those who are willing to pay a tidy sum for convenience. Well, it will not be very convenient to play due to the high response – not all instances can boast even 16 ms. Accordingly – calm, thoughtful work – YES. It’s cool to watch a movie – YES! Dynamic shooting games – NO! But the eyes do not get tired.
OLED . Ah, the dream! Such a monitor can be afforded either by fairly wealthy people, or those who care about the state of their vision. If not for the price, we could recommend it to everyone and everyone – the characteristics of these displays have the advantages of all other technological solutions. In our opinion, there are no drawbacks here, except for the cost. But there is hope – the technology is improving and, accordingly, cheaper so that a natural decrease in production costs for manufacturing is expected, which will make them more affordable.
To date, the best matrix for a monitor is, of course, Ips / Oled, made according to the principle of organic light emitting diodes, and they are quite actively used in the field of portable equipment – mobile phones, tablets and others.