In-plane switching (IPS) and twisted nematic (TN) are two of the most popular liquid-crystal display (LCD) technologies. They both involve the use of liquid pixels and polarizers. The polarizers control the passage of light, whereas the liquid pixels serve as the pixel elements. IPS and TN are simply different types of LCD technologies. They feature different characteristics that distinguish them from each other.

What Is an IPS LCD?

An IPS LCD is a type of LCD device that features a layer of pixels sandwiched between a pair of glass layers. It’s known as “IPS” because it’s able to change or “switch” the orientation of the pixels. The pixels are aligned parallel by default, but IPS LCDs can change their alignment.

What Is a TN LCD?

A TN LCD is a type of LCD device that’s characterized by the use of nematic pixels. All LCDs contain liquid pixels — and TN LCDs are no exception. But TN LCDs feature pixels made of a liquid, organic nematic substance.

Nematic substances are able to change the polarization of light passing through it. TN LCDs feature nematic pixels. They still have two layers of polarizers. As the backlighting produces light, it will pass through the polarizers while subsequently becoming polarized.

Differences Between IPS and TN LCDs

You might be wondering how IPS and TN LCDs differ from each other. Aside from using different technologies, there are other nuances between them.

TN LCDs almost always cost less than IPS LCDs. TN is a simpler, more basic LCD technology. The end result is lower manufacturing costs that manifests in the form of lower device prices. If you’re on a budget, you may want to stick with a TN LCD.

TN LCDs are also more energy efficient than IPS LCDs. Research shows that IPS LCDs consume about 15% more energy than their TN counterparts. And by consuming more energy, IPS LCDs have higher operational costs. They cost more to use than TN LCDs because they consume more energy.

IPS LCDs, on the other hand, offer wider viewing angles. You can view an IPS LCD from the side. In comparison, you’ll typically need to be sitting or standing in front of a TN LCD to view it.

Another difference between IPS and LCD is the contrast. Most IPS LCDs have a higher contrast ratio than TN LCDs. A high contrast ratio means they can produce a wider range of light and dark colors.