Buying a new TV can be a bewildering experience, but if there's one big question you'll have to answer, it's this: OLED or 8K?

Why? You certainly can't afford to have both. You see, televisions are getting bigger, thinner and more detailed. New features appear every year: some are gaining traction and some are fast disappearing (remember 3D TVs?). However, when you decide to buy a new TV, you usually can't have it all, especially if you want to cut costs. Then, what's it gonna be? OLED or 8K?

The OLED vs 8K debate is not a straight fight; one is the display technology that offers the best color and image quality, while the other refers to the latest and highest resolution. Then, Why can't you get an 8K resolution OLED TV? Technically speaking, it is possible, but the cost is prohibitive for most of us, if not all. You will practically have to make a decision between the two.

So here is everything you need to know about OLED and 8K to help you make the right purchase decision.

OLED or 8K

What about Black Friday?

If you are looking for a new OLED TV or a new 8K TVBe sure to check TechRadar for the biggest and best discounts ahead of Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber ​​Monday (November 30). It's never possible for us to say what tech will be in sales, but there's a good chance some high-end TVs will see significant price cuts.

OLED vs 8K explained

What is OLED?

The organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is a display technology that has been around for a decade and has only recently matured for use in big-screen televisions. It's nothing short of the best TV viewing technology out there. If you're not convinced, read our OLED vs QLED guide for more details.

It works by using a carbon-based film between two conductors that emits its own light when an electrical current passes. This means that it is "self-emitting" and that each pixel is individually controlled so that two pixels side by side can separately produce deep black and bright white. The resulting contrast ratio is incredibly high. Controlling the pixel level also means super high refresh rates, so there is no motion blur.

There are other advantages; the lack of a backlight to provide illumination, such as in LED televisions, also means that an ultra-slim design is possible.

Simply put, if you want the best picture and the best TV, it has to be OLED.


(Image credit: LG)

What is 8K?

It's the sharpest resolution available on a TV, but the name suggests it's twice as sharp as a 4K TV. This is not really true. In fact, it is a sharper magnitude.

It can be helpful to think of your TV's resolution in megapixels. Most televisions on sale now offer a 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is equivalent to an 8-megapixel image. Nevertheless, an 8K TV has a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels, creating an impressive 33 megapixel image. That's four times sharper than a 4K TV and 16 times sharper than the TV you probably own right now.

If you want the sharpest pictures possible, 8K TVs can't be ignored.

OLED vs 8K: the case of organic LEDs

Advantages and disadvantages of OLED

Lighter and thinner (2,57mm)
Self-emissive pixels
Most compelling niggas
Faster refresh rate (0,001 ms)
Judder and no blur

The drawbacks:
48-inch minimum screen size
Brightness muted (up to 1000 nits)
Sensitive to image retention

Once you've watched a movie on an OLED TV, it's very hard to go back. We're talking vivid, realistic colours, excellent contrast and brightness control, with deep blacks to die for, camera pans that don't shake, and high-octane action scenes that look incredibly smooth (with some variation depending on the processor used). Overall, you get a more realistic image in the midst of an exceptionally cinematic image. OLED TVs may appear slightly darker than LED or QLED TVs, although new light sensors improve OLED performance in bright environments.

Another reason to invest in an OLED TV is that the quality is pretty consistent, largely because only LG makes OLED panels. Despite this, they are used by third-party brands such as Sony, Panasonic, and Philips, which tend to make the best OLED TVs, although Xiaomi, Vizio, and Sharp have all embraced OLED technology as of late.

You're paying for this privilege, though: OLED technology is only found in high-end TVs, but it's getting more affordable, especially since it's available on smaller TVs. For example, the LG CX OLED and Sony A9G 2019 include a new 48-inch size, which should make the technology more accessible. Smaller sizes of OLED TVs can be expected in the future.

Samsung Q800T QLED

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Q800T QLED is an entry-level 8K TV

OLED vs 8K: the case of 8K resolution

Pros and cons of QLED

More details
4x pixel density of a 4K TV
33 megapixel images
4K to 8K high-end
"Real" home theater

The drawbacks:
Very little native 8K content
Requires a large TV to see details
Extremely expensive

With 4K TVs still on board, it seems strange that TV makers are investing in next-gen 8K resolution. However, having four times the pixel count of 4K TVs has quickly become the flagship technology in the lines of some TV manufacturers.

It was made possible by a breakthrough in processing power behind 4K to 8K upscaling and AI image processing. This is crucial, as there is almost no 8K source material, and certainly Netflix and Amazon don't stream any, but HD or 4K images can still be viewed as 8K, while HDMI 2.1 support made it possible. 8K pass from game consoles.

The main advantage of having super sharp video resolution is that you can sit closer to an 8K TV than a 4K TV without seeing the pixel grid, although an 8K TV is primarily aimed at those looking to perpetuate their TV setups.

There is the odd 8K OLED, but most 8K TVs use LCD technology, and the LG Nano97 and Nano99 8K TVs challenge Samsung, which is currently the leading 8K TV brand. Its current 8K TVs include the Q950TS, Q900TS, and Q800TS QLED TVs.

OLED vs 8K: can you put them together?

OLED and 8K are not competing technologies, but they do compete for your wallet. That said, some TVs do combine an OLED screen and 8K resolution. The crops are rare (in more ways than one) and expensive; Check out the best 8K TVs and you'll only find the LG Signature ZX series.

The future of OLED and 8K technologies

OLED TV technology is more mature than 8K TV technology. The former has gradually grown, become more skillful, and has recently become available in many more sizes. OLED TVs seem to be on the cusp of something really big. Now firmly established as the TV technology of choice for discerning viewers, it seems likely that OLED will enter mainstream living rooms within a few years, though with just one manufacturer, OLED needs time to become affordable. .

8K technology is much less mature. Your audience, for now, is exclusively that of the first users with money to spend. After all, there is very little source material available in 8K, although upscaling from 4K to 8K, video quality, and AI image processing all work without a hitch. However, it is inevitable that the launch of 8K TVs in a few years will be much more successful and that native 8K video will emerge.

OLED TV vs 8K TV: which should you buy?

You don't need an 8K TV. 8K resolution is still very early and the only reason to invest now is to be in the first wave of pioneer users. If that's your thing, go for it, but a 4K TV will impress you immensely too. While this is definitely a pampering purchase, an OLED TV is a more real purchase.

A 4K OLED TV is arguably the best place for anyone looking for the best picture quality, but 8K TVs can be harder to avoid. Are OLED and 8K TVs on a collision course? They sure are, and there will only be one winner: us.


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