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VA Panel vs IPS Panel : Which should you choose when buying a TV?

by on December 16, 2016
 
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For this time, there are two major technologies that used behind LED/LCD TV: IPS (In-Plane-Switching) and VA (Vertical Alignment). They have many differences in performance and each of these types of panel offers advantages and disadvantages than each others. TVs which use VA panel include all model of Samsung’s 2016 lineup, partly of Sony’s 2016 4Klineup like X930D, X940D, Vizio lineup. Meanwhile, TVs which use IPS panel include partly of Sony’s 2016 4K TV like X850D series, X800D series, and most of LG’s 2016 LED TV lineup like UH8500 series, UH7700 series, and UH9500 series. By knowing the native characteristic of each of these panel technologies, of course this will be very useful when you want to buy a TV and at least will not regret later after determining a selection. There are some major points caused by the difference of these panel technologies. Let’s discuss one by one, what are their differences and which superior between them?

LCD Structure

But before we discuss a lot the difference between IPS and VA panel, this would be better if we know first how LCD works. LCD or Liquid Cristal Display is consists of two important parts, backlight and liquid crystal that form the pixels. Backlight is usually colored white because white is composed by thousands even millions of color spectrum. Liquid crystal itself serves to filter the light pass through and they will react and change position when they charged with electricity for passing the light spectrum that is intended and block the others. This means when displaying blacks, Liquid crystal will block all of light spectrums while when displaying whites, liquid crystal will pass all of light spectrums.

VA Panel Illustration

VA Panel Illustration

IPS Panel Illustration

IPS Panel Illustration

Technically, IPS Panel and VA panel have difference in how their liquid crystal aligned and how they react and change position when they are charged with electricity. Liquid Crystals of IPS panel are is aligned horizontally and when they are charged, they only rotate to pass the light spectrum intended out. Meanwhile, the liquid crystals of VA panel are aligned vertically and when they are charged, they will change to horizontal position and then, the processing is similar to IPS panel. That’s why IPS panel has faster response time than VA panel. But when they are displaying blacks meaning there is not electric current sent to them, the crystals are aligned vertically block light much better than when they are aligned horizontally. That’s why VA Panel delivers deeper blacks and better contrast ratio.

Viewing Angle

VA Panel vs IPS Panel

Viewing angle in here means the maximum angle from center where the TV can maintain the quality of the picture before the contrast and color seen drop. This is certainly very important to be considered when a TV is used in wider room where the people who watch TV sit at an angle from the center of TV screen. Overall, IPS TV has critical angle about 36 degrees where the quality will start to be seen drop, while VA TV has narrower viewing angle. Even some IPS TVs even offers up to 50 degrees. Additionally, the quality on VA panel will look drop usually at 20 degrees off center and front. This means TV with IPS Panel offer wider viewing angle than TV with VA panel.  So, from here we can conclude if you are searching TVs for a wide room with many people who might watch TV, of course IPS TV like LG UH8500, LG UH7700,LGUH9500, Sony X850D, and other IPS TVs is a better choice. But otherwise, if you don’t need a wider viewing angle for watching TVs, of course you should consider VA TV.

Winner : IPS Panel

Contrast and Black Level

good-vs-poor-black-levels

As we know, contrast is the one of most important components of picture quality. The use of IPS panel or VA panel technology on the TV also has a great impact on the contrast that produced. IPS panel indeed is superior to VA panel in term of viewing angle, but when it comes to contrast, VA panel is vastly superior to IPS panel. Black level reached by VA TV is much deeper than what reached by IPS TV. This certainly also makes native contrast ratio of IPS TV is not as strong as VA TV. VA TV usually has contrast ratio between 3000:1 and 6000:1 even higher while IPS TV usually has contrast ratio at surrounding 1000:1. Let alone in this HDR Era where it needs 0.05 nits or lower of black level to be able to display HDR 10 fully. And in fact, at least until now, there is no IPS TV which able to reach black level deeper than 0.05 nits. That’s why there is on IPS TV which compliant with Ultra HD Premium Certification. Additionally, a weak black level reached by IPS TV also makes the blacks appears grey when used in a dark room, no matter when it is displaying HDR contents and SDR Contents. With deeper black level and stronger contrast, can be ascertained quality of the picture displayed on VA TV is better than IPS TV,as long as the viewers watch TV from center and in front of TV.

Winner : VA Panel

Peak Brightness

 

 In other hand, VA TV also usually offers much brighter peak brightness than IPS TV that makes it is also better when used in a bright room. But even so, it also depends on its model. Since HDR technology comes on TV, peak brightness becomes a main component of HDR which determine HDR picture quality produced. Additionally, the higher peak brightness of a TV, the quality of the picture produced also can be maintained when a TV used in a bright room. A brightest IPS TV like LG UH8500 and UH8500 can reach about 700 nits of black level while a brightest VA TV like Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TV lineup, Sony X930D series can reach brighter than 1000 nits as the minimum standardization of HDR 10, even Samsung KS9800 and Sony Z9D series can reach brighter than 1500 nits. This indicates peak brightness reached IPS panel is not as bright as what reached by VA TV, even still below 1000 nits required by HDR10.This This also becomes a reason why there is no IPS TV certified by Ultra HD Premium set by UHD Alliance, at least until now.

Winner: VA Panel

Black Uniformity

The other point impacted by the difference between IPS panel and VA panel is black uniformity. You need to know, black uniformity refers how great the performance of a TV when displaying the blacks are evenly distributed throughout the screen across the screen.   This is very useful to display blacks of images on some given points on the screen with the same level of depth. As the example, two dark part of images at different area that have the same black level, they should be displayed with the same black level. But with poor black uniformity, they will be displayed with different level of blacks. And this will be noticeable especially in a dark room. And for this case, TVs with VA panel offers better black uniformity than TVs with IPS panel.

Winner: VA Panel

Pixel Response Time

Although not all and this also depends on each model, IPS panel usually has faster pixel response time than VA Panel. Pixel response Time itself means how quickly pixels can change color. The impact is about motion blur when they are displaying fast motion images. The quicker pixel response time of a TV, the motion blur will be less noticeable. And because IPS TV has faster pixel response time than VA TV, of course it is also better when handling motion blur. But once again, this also depends on each of models and the native refresh rate panel too.

Winner: IPS Panel

Conclusion

With the advantages and disadvantages between each other, this indicates that one of them is inherently superior to others. They are designed for different purpose. IPS TV with wider viewing angle and faster pixel response time is suitable for use in wider room with many viewers for TV show and sports. Otherwise, VA panel with deeper black level and stronger contrast is suitable for watch home theater movies in a dark room with limited viewers. In other hand, if you care about HDR performance, VA TV certainly is a better choice particularly for TV certified by Ultra HD Premium. In other hand, until now, there is no IPS TV that compliant with Ultra HD Premium Certification. But even so, this certainly also depends on each model of TV because there is also VA TV that has peak brightness lower than what reached by IPS TV. The comparison above is about the maximal result that reached by VA Panel and IPS Panel.

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