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10 Common LCD, OLED and TFT Display Questions

1. What is a TFT?

TFT stands for ‘Thin Film Transistor’ – it is a type of LCD that gives higher resolution and better image quality than standard LCDs. These are usually coloured, but Mono is becoming more popular and therefore more readily available.

2. What is an OLED?

OLED stands for ‘Organic Light Emitting Diode’. It has a layer of organic compound that emits its own light eliminating the requirement for a backlight. They are super thin, have a really wide viewing angle with exceptional contrast ratios. Some can also be curved, creating all sorts of interesting new applications for example LG’s new ‘wallpaper TV’.


3. How is the brightness of a display measured?

Displays are measured using ‘lumens’, which are also known as ‘nits’. The brightness should be measured in 5 different points on the front of the display to give you an average reading. Adding filters, touch screens or lenses will all decrease the overall brightness of a display so it should always be measured after these add-ons. Some displays are now as bright as 1500 nits or lumens.

4. Should I go for LCD, TFT or OLED?

This depends on the application and what you want to achieve, this is a very subjective question. LCDs can be very cheap – the older green and black ones (think calculators for example) can be extremely cheap, but they are not as colourful or easy to read as newer technologies. TFTs will give you full colour and a higher solution than an LCD, but they are more difficult to drive and tend to be more expensive. OLED is a relatively new technology. OLEDs are lower power than TFT and offer very good viewing, but have lifetime issues and are only available in smaller sizes.


5. Should I choose Capacitive Touch or Resistive Touch?

Capacitive touch is most commonly used in products such as smartphones. It’s used in all sorts of applications currently but it’s difficult to get working. Capacitive is a lot more expensive than resistive but it does enable nice gesture features and has the ability to have a cover lens. Resistive touch screens are much cheaper and easier to drive, but do suffer from a mottled effect over the display and can be damaged easily as there is no cover lens.

6. What display sizes are available for each LCD technology?

LCDs tend to range from very small up to around 10” diagonal. TFTs range from 2” to 55” and beyond. OLEDs currently range from 1” to 6” – Please note manufacturers such as LG have much bigger OLED televisions but these are a different technology to those available in the industrial market.



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