IPS vs VA panels in TVs: Which one is better?

When buying a TV with LED technology, we can find different screen technologies. Choosing a TV with one type of screen or another is a factor that will influence the image quality significantly. Mainly two types of panels are manufactured: IPS and VA panels. As we will see now, depending on the use you are going to give to your TV, you may be more interested in a TV with VA panel or IPS panel.

Next, we are going to explain the differences between IPS panels and VA panels. In this way, we hope to help you choose the best TV for your particular use.

IPS Panels

We start by looking at IPS panel technology and how it works, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

First of all, comment that the name IPS comes from the fact that the liquid crystals of the panel are aligned horizontally (In-Plane Switching). These crystals are parallel to the glass substrates allowing the orientation to be changed by rotating the liquid crystal molecules in the same plane.

IPS panel performance - IPS vs VA panel comparison.IPS Panel Performance – IPS vs VA Panel Comparison

This is the technical explanation, but the interesting thing is to know, what performance this type of panel is going to give us and what pros and cons it offers.

An IPS panel offers as a great advantage, wide viewing angles. This means that even if the TV is viewed from a side angle, contrast and color are maintained.

Some IPS panels offer lossless viewing angles up to 178°. Thanks to this, a TV with an IPS panel can be viewed correctly from the sides. The good thing about this is that color saturation and contrast will remain almost lossless when viewed from the side.

So, you may be interested in buying an IPS panel TV if you are going to watch it from different points or if you are several in the family and there are some of you who watch the TV from a more foreshortened position.

Their response time is usually somewhat lower than those offered by VA panels. The time it takes for the pixels to change is somewhat less and they can deliver moving images with a little more clarity.

IPS Panel Pixel Matrix - IPS vs VA PanelPixel Matrix IPS panel – IPS vs VA Panel

As weaknesses, their contrast is usually quite low. The contrast values of any IPS panel are always poorer than those offered by a VA panel. In this type of panels, the black level achieved is very low and are usually dark grays instead of blacks.

The black level, however, can be improved in Full Array TVs with Local Dimming and in Mini LED models. The models with this system use more LED bulbs and with the possibility of adjusting the illumination by zones, achieving better black values. The downside is that as a general rule, IPS panels tend to have more light leakage problems than VA panels, although this varies from unit to unit and the type of backlight used.

Also the transition between dark tones is very poor and causes a lot of information to be lost in the shadow areas. When there are dark tones, all those tones tend to look like one tone and often the transitions between those different tones are not distinguishable.

Generally, they are not the best choice for movie buffs as a lot of information is lost in dark scenes. Compared to a VA panel, this problem is noticeable.

It is also common, that they have more reflections compared to VA, although this depends on each model and if it includes any added filter to reduce reflections.

IPS panels are widely used in monitors, thanks to what we have said about their better response time and better color reproduction and are especially recommended for photo editing.

The main manufacturer of IPS panels is LG. Some Sony and Panasonic models carry IPS panels, and these are mostly manufactured by LG Display. Although recently LG announced that it was cutting back on LCD panel manufacturing.

Within IPS panels there are different variants with different names but which are based on the same concept and obtain very similar performance. The best known are the PLS and ADS panels, which are mounted in some current Samsung TVs.

ADS panel pixel structureADS panel pixel structure

In this case, this type of panels are manufactured by other companies such as BOE, Innolux or AU Optronics.

VA Panels

Having seen how IPS panels work, it is now time to see what VA panels consist of.

Unlike an IPS panel, a VA type panel has an alignment of liquid crystals in a vertical plane to the glass substrate and which tilt when a voltage is applied to let light through.

VA panel operationVA panel performance – VA vs. IPS panel

VA panels achieve much higher contrasts than IPS panels. Their major advantage is the reproduction of deep blacks and better detail in shadow areas, so that not as much information is lost as in IPS type displays.

Pixel array VA panelPixel array VA panel

The contrast levels of a VA panel, can be up to 300% higher than that of an IPS panel. The black tones it achieves are always much deeper. This is very noticeable in dark scenes in movies. Therefore, it is the best choice for moviegoers.

(The following images are for guidance only, as it depends on each particular model and the type of backlighting used, whether Full Array, Edge LED or Direct LED).

Contrast on IPS panelIPS panel: grayish blacks and loss of detail in shadowsVA screen contrastVA panel: Deeper blacks and better shadow definition

Its weak point is the viewing angles. They usually offer reduced viewing angles, and from 35-40º there is a degradation in contrast and color.

However, new versions of these panels are being produced and the angles are improving, especially in the high end, and in some cases are equal to the angles offered by IPS.

Some examples are the top of the range series Samsung Neo QLED which feature the Ultra Viewing Angle filter or the X95K and Sony’s Z9K series with the X-Wide Angle filter. These series look very good from the side and in this respect have a viewing angle similar to that of OLED TVs.

The main manufacturer of VA panels was Samsung and their own TVs mainly mounted panels manufactured by themselves. However, like LG, they have greatly reduced production and it is now very common for them to carry panels from other manufacturers such as BOE, AUO, etc.

The other manufacturers such as Sony and Panasonic have long since stopped making panels and carry panels made by companies such as Chi Mei, Sharp or AUO. In any case, the fact that a brand does not produce its own panels, does not mean in any case, less image quality.

Summary advantages and disadvantages IPS and VA panels

We leave you with a summary of the advantages offered by each type of panel for you to value which is the option that suits you best according to the use you give to the TV.

Viewing angles

Here the winner is IPS panels by offering better viewing from extreme angles. Colors and contrast are best maintained when viewed at angles greater than 35°..

Wider viewing angle on IPS panels.Wider viewing angle on IPS panels.

It is recommended that you choose a TV with IPS screen, if you are going to watch it from an armchair located in a far corner, if you have a TV hanging on the wall and you watch it from very low or very sideways or if you are several in a family and not everyone can see it more or less from the front.

In VA screens, there is usually a loss of contrast quite pronounced from about 35-40 ° looking a more washed out image. Also the colors begin to lose saturation and flatten out, losing detail in the colors and looking more uniform.

IPS panel vs VA panel viewing angle comparisonIPS panel vs VA panel viewing angle comparison

Anyway, there are some TVs with VA panel, which incorporate a filter that improves the viewing angle. An example is the Samsung’s top-of-the-line QLED models. and the X95K and Z9K from Sony.

In summary, especially in the low and mid ranges IPS panels provide a better side view than VA panels, so they are better if you view them from different points.

Contrast

The winner in this field is VA panels. The contrast is much higher than that offered by IPS panels, which are far inferior in this respect. Blacks tend to be purer on VA panels than on IPS panels.

The difference between IPS and VA panels is usually quite noticeable in this aspect reaching up to 300% in some cases. Therefore, they are always much more recommendable for users who like movies.

In IPS screens also, there is a worse transition in the shadow areas producing a gray spot effect losing more information in that area.

(The following images are only for orientation, since it depends on each specific model and the type of backlight used, whether Full Array, Edge LED or Direct LED).

Dark scene on IPS panelDark scene on IPS panel – Contrast IPS panel vs. VA panelDark scene on VA panelDark scene on VA panel – Contrast IPS panel vs. VA panel

This difference in contrast, is mainly noticeable, when the TV is viewed in a dimly lit or totally dark room.

In the contrast variant, the brightness level also comes into play. In this aspect, an IPS or VA panel can reproduce a similar brightness, but having a better black level, the contrast ratio of a VA panel is usually much higher than that provided by an IPS.

Therefore, the best panels for watching movies and series especially in dark or very low light environments are VA panels.

Screen markings and retentions.

It is unusual for burn-in or retentions to occur on LCD displays whether they are IPS or VA type. This problem occurs when an image is left static for a prolonged period of time. However, the risk is higher for IPS type displays.

In any case, the risk is minimal and not as likely as it can happen in OLED TVs, although also in these, the risk is very low today if used at home and not in a store.

IPS vs. VA panel Which is better then?

As we have seen, depending on your intended use, each offers a number of advantages and disadvantages.

VA panels are more recommended for watching movies and series in dark rooms and in a location that is quite in front of the TV. They give us the highest contrast values and allow us to see better details in the dark parts of the image. Also, although it depends on each specific model, they usually have less reflections.

IPS panels on the other hand, are the best option, if the location from where you sit is not fully frontal to the TV and you usually watch it in a brightly lit room. Colors and contrast are maintained with less variation when viewed from the sides.

Summary of advantages and disadvantages IPS panels

Advantages IPS panels
  • Good viewing angle
  • Better color reproduction
  • Best response time
Disadvantages IPS panels
  • Low contrast
  • They tend to have more light leakage
  • Loss of detail in dark parts.

Summary of advantages and disadvantages VA panels

Advantages VA panels
  • High contrast
  • There is usually less light leakage
  • Better shadow detail
Disadvantages VA panels
  • Worst viewing angle

List with some examples of 2019-2021 models with IPS and VA LED panels.

Here we leave you a list of TVs from the most important brands with IPS panel and VA panel organized by manufacturer and year of manufacture.

Samsung

2022 models2021 models
QN900B, QN800B, QN700B, QN95B, QN90B: VAQN900A, QN800A, QN750A, QN95A, QN90A: VA
QN85A: ADS-IPS (VA at 85″).QN85A: ADS-IPS (VA at 85″).
Q80B, Q70B, Q60B: VAQ80A, Q70A, Q60A: VA (IPS in 65Q60A).
BU8500, BU8000: VAAU9005, AU8005, AU7175: VA

LG

2022 models2021 models
QNED96, QNED91, QNED86, QNED80: VA or IPS depending on inchAll the range mounts IPS panel except in 50 and 70 inches which is VA.
Nano76, Nano75: IPS (VA at 43″ and 50″). 
UQ90, UQ80: VA or IPS depending on inch 

Sony

2022 models2021 models
Z9K: VAZH9:VA
X95K, X90K, X85K, X73K: VAX95J, X90J, X85J: VA
X80K and X81K: IPS (VA at 50″)X80J and X81J: IPS (VA at 50″)

Panasonic

2022 models2021 models
LX950, LX900: IPSTo be confirmed
LX650: VA 

Philips

2022 models2021 models
PML9637: VA
PML9507: VA
PUS8507: VA
PUS7607: VA
PFL5507: VA
PML9636: VA
PML9506: VA
PUS8506: VA (IPS at 65″)
PUS7906: VA
PUS7406: VA
PFL5756: IPS

Hisense

2022 models2021 models
To be confirmedU9GQ: IPS
U8GQ: IPS
A7GQ: IPS (VA at 43″ and 50).
E76GQ: IPS (VA at 43″ and 50).
A6G: IPS (VA at 43″, 50″ and 58″).

As you can see, each type of panel has its advantages and disadvantages. With this comparison, hopefully the differences between IPS and VA panels are clear to you. Moreover, these panels are not only found in televisions, but are also manufactured for monitors and cell phones.

Recommendations of the best TVs with VA panel

Recommendations of the best TVs with IPS panel

LG 55-Inch Class QNED80 Series Alexa Built-in

4K Smart TV, 120Hz Refresh Rate, AI-Powered 4K
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Frequently Asked Questions

What type of panel is best for dark viewing?

For viewing in dark or very dimly lit rooms, the best choice is a TV that mounts VA screen, as it will provide better blacks as well as less blooming and light leakage.

If I view the TV from the side, what type of screen is best?

If in your case you are going to be viewing the TV from a fairly foreshortened angle, IPS panels are going to offer you a better angle than VA panels. The colors will maintain better saturation as well as the contrast will be maintained, making the picture look less washed out.

Which is better, an IPS panel or a VA panel?

As we have seen, it depends on each situation, but generally in the absence of assessing other important aspects such as the image processor, refresh rate, etc., we recommend a TV with VA panel. They are the most recommended for watching movies and series due to their better contrast and detail in the dark parts.

Is an LED TV or an OLED TV better?

It depends on the models we compare, but usually the highest picture quality today is going to be provided by a TV with OLED technology, thanks to being a self-emissive technology. This means that each pixel is the light source and can be switched on and off independently, giving a pure black, which LED TVs cannot achieve.

Recently, TVs with Mini LED technology have been launched, which still use an LCD panel with backlighting by LED bulbs, but now the size of these is much smaller. In this way, they can have many more bulbs, so that the backlighting is more accurate, improving blacks and reaching a higher peak brightness. In this last aspect of brightness, Mini LED TVs are superior to OLED models.
If you want more information about these technologies you can visit the following article where we give you all the details: Mini LED vs OLED – Which is better? Comparison and differences

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