LCD Panel Types – IPS etc

Common to most LCD panels used in display systems is that they are Thin Film Transistor (TFT) ‘active matrix’ type, each pixel has its own thin film transistor which acts as the switch.

So what are TN, IPS and MVA panels? This refers to the crystal structure, they are still active matrix.

  • TN (Twisted Nematic): This is the most common panel and used in everything from laptops to TV’s.
  • IPS (In Plane Switching): Originally developed by Hitachi IPS panels it use a different crystal structure to improve the viewing angle and other characteristics. The iPad was launched with an IPS panel. 
  • MVA (Multi-domain Vertical Alignment): Used by some panel manufacturers as competitive to IPS panels in terms of viewing angles, color and response times.

Viewing angles on LCD panels are now rated at up to 178 degrees with 160 degrees being common. Whether these are meaningful numbers may depend on the application and user perception but the point is that viewing angle does not appear to be a barrier to developing a display system.

Note: There are alternative technologies such as PVA, ASV and PLS but for now TN, IPS and MVA are the most common.

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