IPS vs VA Panels In 8 Levels – Who Wins The Battle?
LEDs are still among the most popular types of TVs, but this also means they are very diverse. So how can you know what exact type of LED you should get? Well, today it’s about the most popular ones – IPS vs VA panels.
It’s already a fact that each of them has its own strong points, but they also have different downsides. So which is a better overall choice? Today it’s time to solve the mystery.
What Exactly Means Each?
If you’re not familiar with their language yet, IPS comes from “In-Plane Switching” while VA stands for “Vertical Alignment”.
Even though both technologies use liquid crystal structures to produce the images, the difference lies in the way these crystals are placed. VA panels’ crystals are placed vertically, just like their name says. On the other hand, in IPS TVs, the crystals are placed horizontally.
Therefore, the final picture will be quite similar, but it will differ in a few aspects like color accuracy, clarity and viewing angles. If VA panels excel in picture details, IPS ones focus more on technical details like viewing angles and input lags.
But let’s compare them directly, by categories.
1. CONTRAST – Winner: VA
As it’s the best indicator of a good picture, contrast is obviously better in a VA-based TV, whose essential purpose is picture quality.
VA panels’ contrast varies between 3500-6000:1 or even better, while IPS ones usually have a contrast rate lower than 1000:1. You may not see anything too bad if watching an IPS-based TV, but if you compare it directly with a VA one, the difference will be huge.
When it comes to companies, the biggest per cent of IPS models on the market are made by LG. The company prefers performance to quality in many situations, so this may be a reason why LG’s cheaper models aren’t very popular.
On the other hand, Samsung is a convinced VA producer, as almost all of its models are VA-based. This also explains why Samsung’s creations rock among other budget televisions.
Therefore, if contrast is an essential factor for you, don’t go for an IPS-based TV. Even though the picture itself won’t look very bad, you may be negatively surprised if you compare it with another TV’s images.
2. COLOR ACCURACY – Winner: VA
Besides having much higher contrast rates, VA panels also bring in the deepest colors. And the best way to analyze this is by looking at the black levels.
If VA panels can deliver black levels up to 0.030 nits, IPS TVs don’t rock at this chapter either. They can go as high as 0.090 nits, but in this case the lower the better. So the difference is pretty substantial.
If you place an IPS and a VA next to each other and watch the same thing on both, you will notice the difference in black is huge. It’s actually much more visible in black scenes than in colorful ones.
However, IPS producers found a solution in order to improve the quality of dark scenes. It’s about local dimming. This turns off some of the backlight, and the result is a better picture with deeper levels of black.
On the other hand, there are quite a few models that use this feature, so most keep the bad colors and weak level of black.
3. VIEWING ANGLES – Winner: IPS
If there’s something IPS panels excel in, these are for sure the viewing angles.
An average VA-based TV has an image that degrades starting from 20° from the center, while an IPS panel keeps it perfectly clear until 50°. The image will slowly degrade after than distance, but it will still be pretty good until around 75°.
However, most companies don’t focus too much on the viewing angles. The smaller number of IPS TVs stands as a witness. But in my opinion, it is an essential important factor to consider in a TV.
If your TV will be constantly watched by more than 2 users, IPS panels are a much better choice for your home. However, if you don’t have a large family or don’t plan to watch your TV with a group of friends, you shouldn’t care too much about viewing angles.
4. GAMING – Winner: IPS
IPS panels focus more on technical improvement than picture details, so it’s obvious they will rock at those chapter. And gaming is one of them.
The main parameter that appreciates the performance of a TV in gaming is the input lag. This is actually the delay between pressing a button and seeing the reaction in the game. Obviously, the lower an input lag is, the better.
Therefore, as this depends of the technical details of a TV, it’s quite clear that IPS panels will have a much lower input lag than VA ones. That’s not always a rule because there are some VA models with lower input lags. But mainly you will find much more IPS TVs with lower input lags.
The image quality in gaming will also be better on a VA TV, but this doesn’t matter too much in this case. That’s because most gaming scenes are rather light, and IPS’s image look worse only in dark scenes.
5. POPULARITY – Winner: VA
Thanks to the variety of models existent on the market, VA TVs are much more popular among people of all ages.
In fact, there a quite a few users that plan to buy a TV for other than good picture. Yes, there are persons that may want to game more than watch movies, but these are quite rare. Therefore, it’s quite obvious that picture quality will be the #1 thing to consider in a TV.
According to recent studies, around 65% per cent of the LED TVs on the market use VA panels. There is a decent per cent that uses TN panels, while the remaining count on the modern IPS.
So it’s clear that most people still prefer VA panels, despite their bad viewing angles and slower response time.
6. POWER CONSUMPTION – Winner: IPS
One of IPS panels’ major downside brings in an unexpected advantage. Thanks to their inability to produce deep colors and a high contrast rate, they tend to consume less power than others.
Also, brightness levels are much lower in an IPS panel too, and this is another factor that contributes to the lower power consumption of these TVs.
So, despite not being able to deliver the great accurate image of a VA panel, IPS TVs still find a good thing in those bad ones. The lower consumption may not sound like an important factor, but it can help you save some money on the long term. That is, both in power and durability.
7. BLUR – Tie
Despite being slower than an IPS, a VA TV won’t show noticeably more motion blur or judder than its contender.
This depends rather of each TV’s system, as there can be a lot of models with great motion blur control. So their type doesn’t matter so much.
However, if compared directly with numbers, VA panels do deliver a bit more blur than IPS ones. That’s because their pixel alignment, that leads to a lower response rate. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. To the human eye, this is almost impossible to notice. It’s about milliseconds actually, so you can’t see this without an analyze program.
So practically you can say there’s no difference between these 2 types when it comes to motion blur and judder.
8. PRICE – Winner: Let’s Say IPS
Although it isn’t a rule, IPS models tend to cost a bit less than VA ones. The main explanation is probably their lower picture quality, as this is the factor most people care about when buying a TV.
On the other hand, there isn’t such a wide variety of IPS models on the market. This also means that top producing companies like LG or Sony can afford raising the prices. But if the demand isn’t high enough, they might make a slip.
Therefore, there isn’t a substantial difference between the prices of these 2 types. VA tend to be more expensive, but they also tend to have some extra features as well. That is, besides the ones I presented above.
Nowadays, no producers makes basic TVs, no matter if they are VA or IPS based. This means the price isn’t necessarily a differential factor anymore. Each TV’s price depends of several extra features like smart system or up-scaling engine, so that’s what lies behind the price.
So Who Wins The Battle?
If we compared the points, IPS panels would win with 3.5-3 thanks to their great angles and fast response time in gaming. However, it’s hard to pick a winner without reference to the circumstances.
If gaming is your main purpose for the next TV you buy, then get an IPS for sure. Also, if you plan to watch it in a bright room, with a larger group, an IPS is a must if you want a good viewing experience for everyone.
On the other hand, if you’re in the biggest category and care most importantly for image quality, don’t think twice and get a VA one. It will not only deliver deeper colors and better contrast, but you will also have a great viewing experience in a very dark room.
So no matter if you get a VA or an IPS TV, you will get a lot of advantages of it. But downsides are also on the list of each. So keep that in mind and choose wisely! 🙂