Comparison of display technology

This is a comparison of various properties of different display technologies.

General characteristics

Display technology Screen shape Largest known diagonal Typical use Usable in bright room
(in) (cm)
Eidophor front projection Flat (limited only by brightness) TV No
Shadow mask CRT Spherical curve or Flat 42[1] 107 Computer monitor, TV Yes
Aperture grille CRT Cylindrical curve or Flat 42[2] 107 Computer monitor, TV Yes
Monochrome CRT Spherical curve or Flat 30[3] 76 Computer monitor, TV,
Radar display, Oscilloscope
Direct view Charactron CRT Spherical curve 24 61 Computer monitor,
Radar display
CRT self-contained rear-projection Flat lenticular 80[4] 203 TV Yes
CRT front projection Flat (limited only by brightness) TV or presentation No
Plasma display panel (PDP) Flat 152[5] 386 TV Partial
Direct view LCD Flat 110[6] 274 Computer monitor, TV Yes
LCD self-contained rear-projection Flat lenticular 70[7] 178 TV Yes
LCD front-projection Flat (limited only by brightness) TV or presentation Yes
DLP self-contained rear-projection Flat lenticular 120[8] 305 TV Yes
DLP front-projection Flat (limited only by brightness) TV or presentation Yes
LCoS self-contained rear-projection Flat 110[9] 279 TV Yes
LCoS front-projection Flat (limited only by brightness) TV or presentation Yes
Laser self-contained rear projection Flat lenticular 75[10] 191 TV Yes
LED Flat 279.92[11] 711 Billboards, TV Yes
SED Flat 55[12] 140 Computer monitor, TV Yes
FED Flat ? ? Computer monitor, TV Yes
EPD (e-paper) Flat (flexible) ? ? Electronic paper Yes
OLED Any, but most commonly flat rectangular with or without rounded edges, notch(es) and holes, circular, or curved (flexible)[13] 88[14] 195.58 Computer monitor, TV, Mobile phone Yes
'LED' LCD Flat rectangular, circular, semi circle 80 203 TV, Computer monitor Yes
'QLED' LCD Curved or Flat 80 203 TV, Computer monitor Yes
Telescopic pixel display
Ferroelectric LCD
'mLED' LED Curved or Flat ?? ?? Mobile phone, Wearable Electronics, VR Display, Smartwatch, Optical Instruments, AR Display Yes
QDLED[15][16][17][18] N/A N/A N/A N/A Yes
IMOD Flat 1.2[19] 3 Mobile phone[20] Yes
Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) Flat / Box 196 497.8 Presentation Yes
Virtual retinal display Any shape N/A N/A Experimental, possibly
virtual reality
on system

Major technologies are CRT, LCD and its derivatives (Quantum dot display, LED backlit LCD, WLCD, OLCD), Plasma, and OLED and its derivatives (Transparent OLED, PMOLED, AMOLED). An emerging technology is Micro LED and cancelled and now obsolete technologies are SED and FED.

Temporal characteristics

Different display technologies have vastly different temporal characteristics, leading to perceptual differences for motion, flicker, etc.

Sketch of some common display technologies' temporal behaviour

The figure shows a sketch of how different technologies present a single white/grey frame. Time and intensity is not to scale. Notice that some have a fixed intensity, while the illuminated period is variable. This is a kind of pulse-width modulation. Others can vary the actual intensity in response to the input signal.

  • Single-chip DLPs use a kind of "chromatic multiplexing" in which each color is presented serially. The intensity is varied by modulating the "on" time of each pixel within the time-span of one color. Multi-chip DLPs are not represented in this sketch, but would have a curve identical to the plasma display.
  • LCDs have a constant (backlit) image, where the intensity is varied by blocking the light shining through the panel.
  • CRTs use an electron beam, scanning the display, flashing a lit image. If interlacing is used, a single full-resolution image results in two "flashes". The physical properties of the phosphor are responsible for the rise and decay curves.
  • Plasma displays modulate the "on" time of each sub-pixel, similar to DLP.
  • Movie theaters use a mechanical shutter to illuminate the same frame 2 or 3 times, increasing the flicker frequency to make it less perceptible to the human eye.

See also