TFT vs. IPS Display: What is the Difference?

TFT LCD: Basic Knowledge

TFT vs. IPS Display

If you want to buy a new monitor, you might wonder what kind of display technologies I should choose. In today’s market, there are two main types of computer monitors: TFT LCD monitors & IPS monitors.

The information below hopes to help you to make the right decision.

More information about TFT Technology you can find here:

What is a TFT Display Technology?

The word TFT means Thin Film Transistor. It is the technology that is used in LCD displays.  We have additional resources if you would like to learn more about what is a TFT Display. This type of LCDs is also categorically referred to as an active-matrix LCD.

These LCDs can hold back some pixels while using other pixels so the LCD screen will be using a very minimum amount of energy to function (to modify the liquid crystal molecules between two electrodes). TFT LCDs have capacitors and transistors. These two elements play a key part in ensuring that the TFT display monitor functions by using a very small amount of energy while still generating vibrant, consistent images.

Industry nomenclature: TFT LCD panels or TFT screens can also be referred to as TN (Twisted Nematic) Type TFT displays or TN panels, or TN screen technology.

Feature of TFT Displays

Pros of TFT displays are:

  • – low-cost due to simpler manufacturing process,
  • – low-cost raw materials,
  • – one of the oldest technologies for LCD displays.

Cons of TFT displays are:

    • – poor viewing angles,
    • – lower contrast ratio,
    • – slower response time,
    • – lower aperture ratio (each pixel not bright enough),
    • – one view angle with gray scale inversion (reversed image)

See the below picture for reference:

Figure 2. Gray Scale Inversion for TN Displays

What is IPS Display Technology?

IPS (in-plane-switching) technology is like an improvement on the traditional TFT LCD display module in the sense that it has the same basic structure, but has more enhanced features and more widespread usability.

IPS LCD monitors consist of the following high-end features:

  • – wider viewing angle,
  • – more consistent,
  • – accurate color in all viewing directions,
  • – has higher contrast,
  • – faster response time.

But IPS screens are not perfect as it has a higher manufacturing cost.

Features of IPS Displays

These LCD screens offer vibrant color, high contrast, and clear images at wide viewing angles. At a premium price. This technology is often used in high definition screens such as in gaming or entertainment.

Let’s do a deep dive and conduct a detailed comparison.

TFT Display vs. IPS Display

Both TFT display and IPS display are active-matrix displays, neither can’t emit light on their own like OLED displays and have to be used with a back-light of white bright light to generate the picture. Newer panels utilize LED backlight (light-emitting diodes) to generate their light hence utilizing less power and requiring less depth by design. Neither TFT display nor IPS display can produce color, there is a layer of RGB (red, green, blue) color filter in each LCD pixels to produce the color consumers see. If you use a magnifier to inspect your monitor, you will see RGB color in each pixel. With an on/off switch and different level of brightness RGB, we can get many colors.

Feature TFT Display IPS Display
Wide Viewing Angles Wider viewing angles are not always welcome or needed. Image you work on the airplane. The person sitting next to you always looking at your screen, it can be very uncomfortable. There are more expensive technologies to narrow the viewing angle on purpose to protect the privacy. Winner
High Contrast Winner
Fast Response Time Winner. IPS TFT screens have around 0.3 milliseconds response time while TN TFT screens responds around 10 milliseconds which makes the latter unsuitable for gaming
Cost Winner. TFT LCD production technology is more mature than IPS LCD, hence it has a better production yield vs IPS LCD (costs around 30-50% lower)
Representation and Reproduction of Colour Winner. the images that IPS displays create are much more pristine and original than that of the TFT screen. IPS displays do this by making the pixels function in a parallel way. Because of such placing, the pixels can reflect light in a better way, and because of that, you get a better image within the display.

As the display screen made with IPS technology is mostly wide-set, it ensures that the aspect ratio of the screen would be wider. This ensures better visibility and a more realistic viewing experience with a stable effect.

Color Image Quality Winner. IPS displays tend to have better clarity of color than TFT displays is a better crystal oriental arrangement which is an important part.
Energy Consumption Winner. While the TFT LCD has around 15% more power consumption vs IPS LCD, IPS has a lower transmittance which forces IPS displays to consume more power via backlights. TFT LCD helps battery life.
Image Sticking or “Ghosting” No clear winner as it depends on the display screen manufacturer. Generally speaking, TFT is less likely to experience this issue Image Sticking is when an image will stay on for a short time when instead it should be off


TFT vs IPS Displays – Summary

Normally, high-end products, such as Apple Mac computer monitors and Samsung mobile phones, generally use IPS panels. Some high-end TV and mobile phones even use AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes) displays. This cutting edge technology provides even better color reproduction, clear image quality, better color gamut, less power consumption when compared to LCD technology.

Please note, OLED includes AMOLED and PMOLED (Passive Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes).

What you need to choose is AMOLED for your TV and mobile phones instead of PMOLED. If you have budget leftover, you can also add touch screen functionality as most of the touch nowadays uses PCAP (Projective Capacitive) touch panel.

This kind of touch technology was first introduced by Steve Jobs in the first-generation iPhone. Of course, a TFT LCD display can always meet the basic needs at the most efficient price. An IPS display can make your monitor standing out.

If you have a lot of money to spend, you can buy an AMOLED monitor, or you can get a curved monitor to show off.

Want to Learn More About TFT and IPS Displays?

If you want to learn more about TFT display technology, please visit Orient Display’s color TFT features.

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