OLED is the real deal for retro

I got a LG CX and I think I’ve finally found a flat screen that can do retro games justice.

This area here, this is the bane of every LCD I have tried. When you scroll the screen, the colours change before changing back to their original shade when the scrolling stops and it looks blurry in motion… it’s hard to describe (and I know I’m making an absolute meal of this topic) but I’m sure you all know what I am talking about.

On the OLED, even without black frame insertion enabled, there is no blurring, the colours stay the same shade. It looks as good in motion as it does in stills.

I still love CRTs but this TV with its mere 1 frame of lag and the way it handles motion has me smitten!


Interesting, I’d like to test that out on my TV. What system/game/level is that?

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Don’t make me buy an OLED!!! Seriously, that screenshot looks amazing.

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Mega Sg, Revenge of Shinobi, first stage


How is your MegaDrive connected?

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Mega Sg so HDMI.


I just played some Contra Hard Corps, a game that modern displays really struggle with because of the speed of the scrolling and all the parallax. The CX handled it beautifully.


It’s been brought to my attention that what I am describing in the OP may well be some sort of auto brightness adjust during motion that has the side effect of messing with colours as opposed to being the results of ghosting. The last 3 LCDs I’ve had and my computer monitor did this and it wasn’t possible to turn it off.


Do you worry about burn in from playing retro games on it. Plenty of em have fixed HUDs

That’s the refresh rate, which is not the same as the frame rate, but they are often used interchangeably these days. It’s how long it takes for the pixels to change from one color to the next. Most LEDs are still slightly slow and have a bit of smearing going on. But it’s not as bad as it used to be years ago.

OLED still does use sample and hold technology but it’s faster than every other flat panel on the market. It will never place a CRT for me, but it’s as close as it gets with today’s technology. The infinite contrast ratio of a self emitting display means pixels can shut off immediately upon a frame refresh. So, no smearing.

Congrats on your new purchase, op. I’m peanut butter and jealous :wink:


Refresh rate is the rate at which the entire screen redraws, not really anything to do with colours per se.

60hz = redraw the entire screen 60 times per second.
120hz = redraw the entire screen 120 times per second.

The thing is, the overwhelmingly vast majority of LCD panels that are used for televisions are 60hz panels. Only in the last couple years has it been possible to get a true 120hz panel in a television, despite all manufacturers claiming all sorts of different true motion brand names that claim to be 120, 240 or more. Computer monitors have been at 120hz, 144hz, 240hz and beyond for a while now.

The thing is, there’s a lot more at play than refresh rate when it comes to our perception of what looks ‘fast’ on an LCD panel.

This scene in Shinobi will look vastly different from TV to TV due to pixel response time. Even though the panels are refreshing at 60 times a second, that’s actually quite slow to the human eye, and we can easily differentiate between a fast panel and a slow panel. Some panels pixel response time is equal to it’s refresh rate at 16.6666ms, while others are 1ms.

1000ms / 60 = 16.6666ms per refresh

If the panel is taking the full 16.6666ms to change from one frame to the next, it will look blurry and muddy to the human eye. If the panel is changing really swiftly and updating within 1ms, the image will look nice and solid for the remaining 15.6666ms while it waits for a new frame from the source.

CRTs work differently, but they are also extremely fast. They draw a single line at a time (usually 480 lines per frame), but they spend a vast majority of their time displaying nothing. It’s this huge speed advantage that gives CRTs their superior motion capabilities, even when they have significant “glow” as the phosphors are calming down after being excited each frame.

Now… here’s the huge differentiator for OLED. They are usually running response times of around 0.01ms, one hundred times as fast as the fastest LCDs. That not only puts them way ahead of the curve when it comes to pixel response times, it also puts them way ahead of CRTs too.

The big drawback to OLED panels is that they cannot refresh very fast. They have extremely fast pixel response times, but are typically limited to 60hz refresh rates. That’s why you don’t see OLED panels being used for computer monitors, as that market has moved on to 144hz, 240hz etc.


Ive been retro gaming on an OLED since 2106. No burn in at all. My sessions are usually an hour or two so no marathons but my LG has had no issues with anything I’ve thrown at it.

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Back in the day (when LCDs first hit the market) refresh rate was the same as pixel response rate. That vernacular changed over time. But yes, you explained in much better technical terms what I was trying to say. Well done.

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Good point. I’ve seen this phenomenon before but not on any of my LCDs. Though they’ve always had options to turn off all processing either through the menu or using VGA to get a pure unprocessed picture.

To expand on this a little it’s important to note that even an instant pixel response does not equal a blur free image when it comes to sample and hold. I think I’m correct in saying that in motion a CRT should still be better than an OLED even if you were to use a higher refresh rate or use black frame insertion.

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Yeah great points, there are many factors at play when it comes to a way we perceive a television. BFI can do wonders, as well as variable refresh rates (when dealing with any source that’s not equal to your refresh rate).

Even on the high end IPS panels with super high refresh rates (165+), there are vast differences in how good they look. You really do have to read reviews and make informed decisions.

If anyone is looking at buying, please check reviews on rtings.com, as they are the best at measuring all factors of the panels.

[modedit: changed the ratings url]

Yep it’s true. If you want to test this out, you can actually use the OLED Black version of Retro Game Boards in your browser.

If you scroll on an OLED screen, like many modern phone screens, you’ll still seem some slight motion blur on this setting. It has white text on a pure black background.

If you tried it on a VGA monitor, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t have any blur.

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Good to point this out! Yeah, due to sample and hold OLED still has lower motion resolution than a CRT. And it’s worse with dimmer colours.

The ease of Burn-in in traditional desktop computing scenarios, where one interface may be on screen for an entire day or more, also seems to be why OEMs have gone against adopting OLED.

A few years ago there was a Samsung Ultrabook with an OLED panel, but it came bundled with Samsung’s third party (as far as Windows is concerned) screensaver app to prevent burn-in.

Also, because the blue subpixels in OLED displays have a shorter lifespan, manufacturers moved from using an RGB subpixel stripe in OLED to a PenTile/Diamond subpixel layout where neighbouring pixels share the same subpixels.

So you get a brick-like appearance instead of a uniform grid. This isn’t an issue in the age of smartphones and tablets with 2x (4 times the points) or 3x (9 times the points!) resolution scaling, but I can’t see it going down well on displays where the resolution is set to 1x scaling (1 times the points). And that’s what the majority of computer monitors are still targeting:

The problem with the 2 subpixels arrangement of OLED displays that don’t have an RGB stripe is you get effectively 66% of the resolution. Which, again, is fine in cases where each dot point is rendered at 9x the detail or pixels (3x scaling), but it would be really obvious otherwise.

Anyway I didn’t want to be a downer - OLED has many advantages over LCD displays, and they’ve largely caught up in areas where the more mature LCD technology held a lead, like power efficiency and peak brightness. Just wanted to point out some of the caveats.


Yeah I have a Samsung Note 5 that I’ve had for coming on 5 years (not my main phone any more), and it has significant burn-in on the OLED screen.