OLED in a Bright Room? Can It Work?
There are few absolutes in this world, though that’s not going to stop people from claiming they exist. One such absolute is that you should never have an OLED in a bright room. You’re better off with a different, brighter TV. But is it true? Can an OLED work in a bright room? What’s the truth? Let’s discuss!
Why the Claim
OLEDs are known for their great contrast and black levels. As each pixel can be individually turned off, they are generally considered to be the gold standard. The concerns about OLED are twofold. First, there are brighter TVs on the market. All the LCD variants (QLED, QNED, Neo QLED, etc.) generally can get brighter (on paper) than OLEDs. They are also (generally speaking) less expensive.
Second, and maybe more importantly, there are concerns about sunlight degrading OLED panels over time. This can create inconsistencies in the picture (if the sunlight is only hitting part of the panel) or a general softening of the image.
Let’s Talk About Sunlight
When people say that sunlight can degrade an OLED panel, they aren’t wrong. But that’s not the whole story. Direct sunlight can also degrade and damage LCD panels. This is partially because of the UV radiation, but more importantly the heat. Heating up your TV with sunlight or other environmental factors will shorten its life. Of course, this is true of nearly all electronics. Heck, most of our phones have OLED screens and they are in sunlight all the time!
When these naysayers are talking about OLED TVs and sunlight, they usually leave out the word “direct.” It isn’t just the presence of sunlight that hurts the OLED panel. It is only the sun shining directly on the panel for periods of time. Want to use your OLED in a bright room? Buy some curtains and call it a day! Just remember to close them whenever the sun might shine directly on your TV.
Are OLEDs Bright Enough for Your Room?
Let’s start off with the fact that OLEDs have been getting brighter with every generation. This “OLEDs aren’t bright enough for rooms without total light control” claim has been around for years. It may have been true with early iterations of OLED panels, but not so much anymore.
More importantly, when do you use your TV? Do you ONLY watch your OLED when the room is bright? Or are you like most of the world and watch a little during the day and mostly at night? Because if you watch at night and have the ability to turn lights off, then you’ve solved your “bright room” problem.
The follow-up claim is that OLEDs cost more than LED TVs. That extra cost is for those true blacks and great contrast. You’ll never see those great OLED features in a bright room. That may be true, but it is also true of LEDs. The contrast of any TV suffers in a bright room. At least with an OLED, when the sun sets and the lights are off, you’ll have the best picture available. If you buy an LCD because your TV mostly sits in a sunny room, then when the lights go out, you won’t have that OLED performance. All because the TV sits mostly unused in a bright room?
No TV will last long in direct sunlight. That’s just a fact. Do you use your TV exclusively with other lights on? Do you never watch at night or with the lights off? Then skip the OLED and get an LCD. But if your room isn’t always bright, and you mostly watch at night with the lights off, OLEDs are still the best option.