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All about In-Plane Switching (IPS)

by Newhaven Staff
Published: Last Updated on 906 views

find out what In-Plane Switching is capable of

Everything you need to know about in-plane switching

In-Plane Switching, or IPS, is used in everything from televisions, computer monitors, and even wearable devices. But what does it do? And why should you consider it for your next display application?

In short, IPS changes the behavior of an LCD’s liquid crystals to produce a sharper, more accurate picture.  This technique allows IPS displays to deliver a higher quality viewing experience than other screen types like TN or MVA. 

Read on to learn the science behind IPS and see the technology in action.

A twist on TFT displays

How In-Plane Switching Improves Image Quality

IPS acts on the liquid crystals inside an LCD so when voltage is applied, the crystals rotate parallel (or in-plane) allowing light to easily pass through them. By reducing the amount of interference on the light being produced by the display, the final image on screen will be much clearer. 

GIF demonstrating how liquid crystals rotate in IPS displays

In-Plane Switching in action

More Colors, Wider Viewing Angles, and Improved Contrast

The difference that IPS makes is easy to see. Notice the quality of contrast, color, and viewing angles between the IPS TFT on the left and the standard TN TFT on the right.

Side by side comparison of IPS and TN TFT viewing angles

One of the leading advantages that IPS offers is its ability to deliver wide angles while preserving colors and contrast. This means you can view an IPS screen from nearly any angle and get an accurate representation of the image on-screen. Colors on IPS displays won’t get washed out or distorted when viewed at an angle the way they might on a TN or MVA screen.

This demonstration simulates a TN TFT (left) and IPS TFT (right) being viewed at an angle in bright sunlight conditions. Use the slider to compare the viewing angle quality, color, and contrast of the displays. 

Image of a TN TFT display when viewing from an angle in direct sunlight.Image of a IPS TFT display when viewing from an angle in direct sunlight.

why use In-plane switching?

How IPS will improve your LCD Display

Widest Viewing Angles

TN LCDs often struggle to display accurate images from wide viewing angles. IPS LCDs eliminate nearly all color distortion and fading when viewed from various angles.

Accurate Color Representation

The powerful technology of In-Plane Switching delivers the most vivid, true colors available on any TFT LCDs. IPS is capable of producing over 16 million colors.

Direct Sunlight Visibility

A powerful LED backlight combined with unparalleled viewing angles makes for the best image quality under direct sunlight. IPS displays deliver higher quality images in sunny conditions than TN LCDs or OLED displays.

before you buy

consider this before choosing an IPS display

This isn’t to say that IPS is a one-size-fits-all solution. Like all other display types, there are drawbacks you may encounter with IPS. Things to consider:

Conclusion

Should you choose a display with in-plane switching?

As IPS technology continues to advance, you’ll see it integrated into more display applications. Because of in-plane switching’s ability to boost viewing angles and retain color accuracy, it allows LCDs to compete with the high contrast images found on OLED displays.

If you don’t require the highest refresh rates and don’t mind slightly higher power consumption, then an IPS display will greatly benefit your project. 

Keep reading to learn more about the other LCD screen types and see how they compare to IPS. 

Watch: 7.0" IPS TFT displays

See a demo of our own 7” IPS TFTs as we compare their colors, contrast, and viewing angles to TN TFT displays.

Learn more about display technology in our Knowledge Center.

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