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IPS vs OLED Monitors: A Detailed Comparison

Origins of IPS LCD and Early OLED Development

The origins of IPS (in-plane switching) LCD technology trace back to a research team at Hitachi led by Katsumi Kondo in the mid 1990s. IPS improved on existing twisted nematic (TN) LCDs which suffered from very narrow viewing angles and color shifting issues as a user moved slightly off-center from the screen.

By orienting liquid crystals in a horizontal direction and designing an advanced electrode setup optimized for high aperture ratios, Kondo‘s team achieved much wider 178o viewing angles along with improved color and contrast. This made IPS an ideal candidate to replace CRT monitors and televisions with a true digital flat panel display solution.

OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology has a remarkably long history spanning over five decades across academia and industry R&D. Teams at Eastman Kodak and Sanyo in the 1980s are credited with creating the first practical OLED emissive display architectures.

Their key breakthrough concept involved stacking extremely thin layers of organic electrode material in a diode setup. Applying an electric current to these emissive OLED materials drives electrons to combine with electron holes, releasing photons in the process. By carefully controlling the organic compounds used, displays can emit colored light right from the surface layer.

This negates the need for filters and backlight components required in LCD displays. Allowing each individual pixel to switch on and off rapidly by controlling its dedicated organic diode results in exceptional response times and contrast.

How IPS LCD Displays Work

While OLED panels utilize emissive organic diode materials to directly release colored light, IPS LCDs rely on a more complex but reliable structure:

Backlight – White LEDs spanning behind the LCD panel provide overall illumination

Polarizer – Polarizing filter only allows light on specific axis to pass through

Liquid Crystals – Liquid crystal layer rotates light to allow selective passage

RGB Filters – Red, green and blue filters overlay groups of liquid crystals

Electrodes – Electric current controls orientation of liquid crystals

This combination of stacked layers, filters and backlights allows an IPS monitor to block light in areas intended to look dark while precisely controlling colored light passing through liquid crystals aligned in open areas intended to look brightly lit. Carefully tuning these crystals is key to quality IPS panel design.

OLED Pixel Structure and Composition

In an OLED display panel, each pixel itself drives color output independently without the need for any filters or extra illumination courtesy of its organic emissive layer which looks something like:

Anode Layer – Positively charged electrode (typically transparent indium tin oxide)

Emitter Layers – Organic semiconducting film emitting red, green and blue light

Cathode Layer – Negatively charged electrode (metal with low work function)

Multi-layered OLED architecture allows for precise release of visible colored photons tuned to targeted wavelengths in the red, blue and green spectrums from the emitter layer at the heart of each OLED pixel cluster.

State of the art manufacturing techniques can deposit precise mixes of organic compounds and electrode materials measured in nanometers to build up full Color OLED panels boasting millions of addressable pixels.

Contrast Ratio and Black Level Performance

One of the most significant image quality differences between IPS and OLED comes down to contrast rendering. OLED is capable of effectively infinite contrast and true black levels because each pixel has an organic black emissive layer that when switched off, releases no light at all.

The darkest black ips lcd monitors manage is similar to turning down brightness setting, but the LCD panel still leaks some background light. Even in areas intended to look black, filters cannot block 100% of light bleeding through.

Adding full array local dimming (FALD) helps IPS contrast by selectively dimming groups of backlights behind dark regions of displayed images, but lit zones remain limiting factors. OLED contrast measures close to 1,000,000:1 while premium FALD IPS ratios reach around 5000:1.

Display Technology Contrast Ratio Black Level
IPS LCD Monitor 1000:1 – 5000:1 0.120 nits
OLED TV Infinite 0 nits

Response Times and Refresh Rate Performance

Gaming monitors require excellent motion clarity to keep up with fast on-screen movement without distracting artifacts like ghosting trailing behind objects. Responsiveness comes down to two metrics – GtG response time and refresh rate Hertz.

IPS technology has improved dramatically in response performance as manufacturers developed "fast IPS" modes enhancing liquid crystal switching speeds. Many premium gaming monitors boast 1ms GtG specs matching current OLED TV capabilities.

Variable refresh rate support for G-Sync and FreeSync also helps IPS keep frames perfectly smooth. OLED still handles extremely fast motion better in absolute terms, but modern IPS comes surprisingly close considering its slower liquid crystal origins versus direct emission in OLED.

Display Technology Response Time Refresh Rate
IPS Monitor (Fast IPS) 1ms – 4ms GtG Up to 390Hz
OLED TV 0.1ms GtG Up to 120Hz

Gaming Monitor and TV Industry Analysis

Gaming remains one of the fastest expanding display categories as esports surges in popularity and immersive cinematic single player adventures deliver incredibly life-like visuals.

Both ultra fast IPS monitors designed for competitive multiplayer and high resolution OLED TVs catering to personal theaters stand out as gaming display leaders. Each technology brings specialized strengths while striving to minimize key drawbacks.

IPS Gaming Monitors

According to Statista, the global gaming monitors market was estimated at $1.82 billion in 2021 and analysts project over 7% CAGR growth reaching $2.67 billion by 2026 as adoption of cutting edge specs expands.

Key drivers include360Hz+ refresh rates, curved ultra-wide sizes, and 4K UHD reaching monitors in cost effective ways. Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync synchronization eliminate tearing.

Backlight innovations like mini LED promise OLED rivaling contrast some day. And optimized panel construction continues minimizing IPS glow artifacting.

OLED TV Gaming Trends

Per Sciencetarget, OLED TV revenues topped $28.58 billion in 2021. Leaders like LG Display also report dedicated game mode usage in 2021 OLED TVs as follows:

40% use dedicated game mode
37.8% play over 5 hours per week
3% even game over 20 hours weekly

This shows gaming composes a significant portion of real-world TV consumption. And next generation displays arriving in 2023 like Samsung‘sQD-OLED promise to combine quantum dot enhancement with OLED pixel control.

Buying Recommendations

Best Uses for IPS Monitor Technologies

  • General office productivity and desktop work
  • Creative workflows like video editing and 3D design
  • Trading or business analytics with multiple monitors
  • PC gaming where response time matters most

Ideal Applications for OLED Displays

  • Living room television and home cinema
  • Immersive, cinematic gaming experiences
  • Graphics and animation work valuing perfect blacks
  • Promotional advertisements and digital signage

Given lower costs and smaller sizes ideal for desks, IPS makes the most sense for everyday mixed usage scenarios like office monitor multitasking. OLED televisions show off beautiful contrast but require conscious burn-in prevention care when used as a PC display.

For gaming, IPS strikes the right balance of speed and resolution for multiplayer titles at a desk while OLED makes sense for playing slower paced single player adventures from a couch far back.

If pricing differences minimize over time, OLED becomes an easier default choice across nearly all categories owing to exceptional image fidelity. But IPS remains firmly entrenched for now, especially in desktop displays and portable devices.

The Outlook On Future Innovations

IPS retains an advantage in pricing and form factor flexibility. But new manufacturing techniques gradually reduce OLED costs as well. 8K resolution and mega-sized displays represent one avenue of innovation for both technologies.

For IPS, mini LED backlight advancement allows over 1,000 local dimming zones similar to full array while reducing power consumption compared to LCD / LED combos. Eventually micro LED swap in colored LEDs matching organic OLED pixel emission properties.

OLED continues to maximize peak brightness through panel architecture tricks. A promising development called QNED combines quantum dot enhancement film familiar from QLED TVs with optimized OLED materials for amplified color volume.

Wallpaper thickness rollable displays provide a glimpse at potential future panel form factors enabled by durable flexible OLED panels and advanced IPS backlights.

In summary, both display technologies boast promising roads ahead merging new high dynamic range algorithms, thin construction, better component integration and clever human factors design. Picture quality and reliability improve in tandem year over year as new product releases aim ever closer toward creating life-like visual experiences.