Virtual Reality – Display

vr display

We think you’ll agree with us when we say that the display in a virtual reality headset is the most important component. We can say that it’s equivalent to horsepower in a vehicle. 

If you’ve decided to try virtual reality, it’s important that you know different VR displays since they will define what kind of experience you’ll have. 

Here is everything you need to know about virtual reality displays. 

Quick Summary 

In this post, we will go over:

  • What kind of displays are used in virtual reality?
  • Which VR display is the best?

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What Kind of Displays Are Used in Virtual Reality?

As you might already know, VR headsets are fully immersive.

This means when you put them on, they will completely block your view of the outside world. These displays, combined with sensors, track your position in the real world and translate it to the virtual environment. 

If you want to learn more about VR headsets, you can read our post here. 

Currently, VR headsets use two types of displays:

  • LCD (RGB stripe subpixel arrangement)
  • OLED (PenTile subpixel arrangement)
VR display

Which VR Display is the Best?

To answer this question let’s see what LCD and OLED are as well as how they differ from each other. 

What is a LED Display?

Since LEDs are widely used, we’re sure this isn’t a foreign concept. 

An LED display works by having an LCD backlit by a LED panel. 

Without a source light, an LCD would just be black without emitting any. This is why the LED panel at the back provides the light that shines through the LCD. This is also what creates pixels that we see on the screen. 

What is an OLED Display? 

Compared to LEDs, OLEDs have organic light-emitting diodes. This is also why they’re called OLEDs. 

These light-emitting diodes produce their own light and do not need an LCD panel.

Principally, each pixel that is created is self-sufficient in terms of color and illumination. 

In practice, these displays act as their own light source. This means when it is turned on, you can see the pixels and it’s completely black when off. 

Therefore, you’ll see incredibly deep blacks and contrast levels in OLED displays. 

LED Display vs. OLED Display 

We tested LED and OLED VR displays side by side to find out which one is the best. 

If you compare OLED displays, they are usually thinner in profile and lighter than LED. This is also why they offer better viewing angles while consuming less energy. 

LEDs on the other hand, offer a much higher brightness level. This is because the diodes backlighting the LCD are stronger in luminance than the organic diode of OLED. 

While comparing color accuracy, we noticed a tie between both display engines. The LED panel backlighting works deliver results on par with the OLED color performance. 

In addition, software solutions such as high dynamic range (HDR) also equal the playing field in regards to the color accuracy between LED and OLED. 

So, which one is better?

OLED technology is better for virtual reality on almost all fronts. Since it features a deeper black level, it will increase the immersion since the distance between your eyes and the screen is much closer.

LED displays are also a good option however they’re a bit outdated. So, if you want a headset with a lower price point, we suggest you go with LED. 

As we said before, they produce higher levels of brightness. But, this is not as important in VR since the experience is contained in a closed headset in dark settings. 

If you’ve never tried VR and are curious about the experience, we suggest you read our post here. 

Conclusion

VR display technology is much more complicated than this. However, this was a simplistic attempt to make you understand different VR displays. 

While purchasing a VR headset, look for one with an OLED display since they offer much more benefits. All VR headsets will likely feature OLED displays in the future. 

If you’re new to virtual reality, it’s a good idea to start by reading our post on VR for beginners here. 

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