TN vs IPS Liquid-Crystal Displays (LCDs): What’s the Difference?

Sep 29, 2021

Light-crystal display (LCD) has become the world’s leading display technology. More display devices are powered by LCD than any other technology. As the name suggests, LCD is characterized by the use of liquid pixels. LCDs contain a layer of organic and liquid pixels, which is illuminated to produce images. While all LCDs contain this layer of liquid pixels, there are different types of LCDs, including twisted nematic (TN) and in-plane switching (IPS).

What Is a TN LCD?

A TN LCD is a type of LCD-powered display device that lives up to its namesake by featuring nematic pixels. Nematic essentially means that the liquid pixels can change their orientation. They don’t remain in the same place. Rather, the nematic pixels used in TN LCDs can change their orientation.

Like all LCDs, TN LCDs have polarizing filters. The polarizing filters are placed at 90 degrees from each other, thereby preventing light from passing through them. With that said, the nematic liquid pixels can change their orientation in a way that allows light to pass through them.

What Is an IPS LCD?

An IPS LCD is a type of LCD-powered display device in which the liquid pixels can move parallel to the panel. The liquid pixels can essentially “switch” in and out of a plane, which is why this technology is known as “in-plane switching.”

Differences Between TN and IPS LCDs

Both TN and IPS are LCD technologies. They simply use different mechanisms to create images. TN LCDs have liquid pixels that can change their orientation, whereas IPS LCDs have liquid pixels that can switch in and out of a plane.

Aside from their mechanics, there are other differences between TN and IPS LCDs. IPS LCDs, for instance, have superior viewing angles than their TN counterparts. TN LCDs often suffer from limited viewing angles, which can make them difficult to see when viewed from the side. IPS LCDs don’t suffer from this problem. They offer wider, better viewing angles. Many consumers and business owners prefer IPS LCDS specifically because of their superior viewing angles.

IPS LCDs also have higher refresh rates than TN LCDs. Refresh rate, of course, is the speed at which a display device changes its images. A high refresh rate results in a more fluid display. Display devices with a low refresh rate may appear to stutter. For a high refresh rate, you should consider choosing an IPS LCD.

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