Many TVs show off ‘A+ grade panel’ and ‘IPS panel’ tags in their specifications. But their meaning is often left to our imagination. Have you ever wondered what makes these TVs different from non-A+ grade and non-IPS TVs? Read further to find out.
To give you a short answer, A+ grade is a screen panel rating which guarantees the panel’s highest quality. A+ graded panels have least imperfections (i.e. no scratches and other defects) and are also transparent.
IPS panel is a screen technology among others like TN and VA. TVs with IPS panels are good for watching fast action (like gaming), and can be viewed from any corner of the room without distorting the video quality.
You’ll come across the terms ‘A+ grade panel’ and ‘IPS panel’ in a variety of devices like Smartphones, tablets, Laptops, Desktop Computers and TVs. Most of these devices use LCD (or LED) technology for their display screen.
These tags are actually related to the display technology used by the TV you’re checking out or the new Laptop you might be considering. Let’s look at this technology in detail.
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display.
The screen of an LCD TV consists of a panel filled with liquid crystals. These liquid crystals have the ability to pass or block light as it passes through them and this passing or blocking of light can be controlled by applying electric current through the crystals.
Since Liquid Crystals don’t produce any light of their own a fluorescent lamp is placed behind this panel of liquid crystals. The light passes through the liquid crystal panel, and when the electric current is applied, the result is what you see on screen— images and videos.
LED TVs have the same Liquid Crystal panel but instead of fluorescent lamp, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are used to illuminate the Liquid Crystal panel. This doesn’t just improve the images you see, but also allows the TVs to be made slimmer and compact.
Since the LED technology is an upgraded version of LCD technology, both terms are used interchangeably now-a-days.
If you want to know in depth about LCDs check this cool guide out.
A+ Grade Panel
Manufacturers and distributors rate the TV panels (or any screen panel) after strict quality checks. This is done to ensure users don’t have any complains when the product is delivered to them or while the product is in use.
The panel is checked for scratches, marks, spots, leakage and other damages. Depending on the imperfections or ‘faults’ each panel is graded accordingly.
Just like an academic report card, panels are graded either as A+, A, B or C. The grade A+ indicates the panel has the best quality.
While grading, it is the material of the panel that helps it score higher or lower.
For example, low quality panels are often tinted or colored. So, the images you see on screen are of a lower quality as they are affected by the panel’s color. It’s like watching a street wearing pink (tinted) glasses.
Transparent panels are considered to be the best for devices be it a TV or a Laptop. But it’s difficult to make completely transparent panels. There is either a blackish tinge or shine that remains, which is hard to get rid of.
Hence the more ‘transparent’ a panel is, the better will be the color contrast you see on screen. An A+ grade label also indicates that the panel is achromatic i.e. as close to transparent as it can be.
To know more about the different panel grades, check out this link.
In LCD or LED TV panel ratings, A+ grade panels are considered to be the most transparent and of the highest quality.
There are 3 main types of panels used in electronic devices— TN (Twisted nematic), VA (Vertical Alignment) and IPS (In-plane switching). TN are almost outdated while VA and IPS panels are widely used for Personal Computers and TVs.
The type of panel your new TV comes with, affects your viewing experience. This is why you should be aware of what these short-forms mean for you.
VA panels produce good contrast if the TV is placed in a dark room (room with 1 or no window). It also has a narrow viewing angle. That means you’ll have to sit right in front of the TV or Laptop.
VA panels are convenient for a Laptop as only 1 person uses it at a time. So, the condition of sitting within the narrow viewing angle is satisfied.
IPS panels are most recommended when it comes to TVs. This is because of their wide viewing angle, good contrasting ability and high response time.
IPS panels, are also known by its variants PLS (plane to line switching) and AHVA (advanced hyper viewing angle) panels. LG is the largest supplier of IPS LCD TVs while PLS is Samsung version of IPS panel (with a few tweaks).
Panasonic, AU Optronics, Acer, and Sony are other major producers of IPS panels.
· IPS panels come with wide viewing angle. You can thus sit in any corner of the room and watch the TV without seeing any image distortion. This is especially suitable for medium to large living rooms and for a family of 3-4.
· IPS panels do a good enough job of reproducing colors and shades on your TV or Computer screen.
· If you often watch daily soaps, Sports and movies then IPS panels will serve your needs.
· The color contrasts and shades produced in VA panels are better in comparison to IPS panels. So, the video may look faded when viewed during daytime or when the window light is reflected on it.
To know more about IPS vs. VA panels check out this article from rtings.com.