In the world of display technologies, the In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel has established itself as a top-tier choice, offering superior image quality, color accuracy, and viewing angles. However, recent years have seen the emergence of IPS-like modes – ADS, AAS, AHVA, SFT, and PLS. These technologies, although similar to IPS, offer unique capabilities and advantages. Understanding these differences can help you make a more informed decision when buying a monitor. This guide will provide a comprehensive comparison between the IPS panel and its IPS-like modes.

Section 1: Introduction to IPS Panel

IPS panel technology is generally considered the best overall LCD technology for image quality, color accuracy, and viewing angles. It is well suited for graphics design and other applications that require accurate and consistent color reproduction. IPS panels offer the best viewing angles of any current LCD technology, with wide viewing angles up to 178 degrees.

However, as with any technology, IPS panels have their drawbacks. The primary one being their higher price range compared to VA and especially affordable TN panel LCDs. Another disadvantage is the “IPS glow”, a brighter white/yellow tinge that is harsher and more noticeable by comparison, especially in a dark room.


Subsection 1.1: IPS Panel Variations

There are various iterations of IPS panels with new and improved versions releasing over time. These include S-IPS, H-IPS, e-IPS, P-IPS, AH-IPS, IPS Pro, Super IPS and Nano IPS. While they all use similar technology, there are slight differences. For instance, H-IPS introduced a slightly different pixel structure from S-IPS, and the majority of e-IPS panels only offer 6-bit color depth.

Section 2: Introduction to IPS-Like Modes

While IPS panels are renowned for their superior performance, the industry has seen the development of IPS-like modes that aim to offer similar benefits at a lower cost. These include technologies like ADS, AAS, AHVA, SFT, and PLS.

Subsection 2.1: ADS

ADS (Advanced Domain Switching) is a variant technology of IPS technology developed by Chinese company BOE, therefore it inherits the features of IPS and adds new features to improve them. The characteristics that improve this type of screens are: greater luminosity, improved contrast and greater rigidity of the screen.


Subsection 2.2: AAS

AAS (Azimuthal Anchoring Switch) is a technology developed by Innolux. Like ADS, it offers similar performance to IPS panels, providing high color accuracy and wide viewing angles. It’s commonly used in large-scale displays such as industrial system and laptops. AAS screen can features high color gamut, high refresh, high resolution and fast response time, but the color reduction degree is still poor, so it is no problem to play games.


Subsection 2.3: AHVA and AMVA

AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle) is a proprietary “IPS-like” panel type developed by AU Optronics in 2012. AHVA offers similar performance to PLS, boasting high color accuracy and wide viewing angles. However, it is not to be confused with Vertical Alignment (VA), as it makes use of In-Plane Switching (IPS).


AU Optronics have more recently (around 2005) been working on their latest generation of MVA panel technology, termed ‘Advanced Multi Domain Vertical Alignment’ (AMVA), and it have been upgraded to AMVA5 today.

AMVA panels attempt to fix the problems of earlier technologies, including color washout and color distortion, by utilizing more domains than standard MVA panels. This technology produces extremely high contrast ratios, which makes for a more comfortable viewing by the user, and can be easier on the eyes. AMVA panels have extremely deep black color depth. In addition, power consumption is often lower because of the backlight module and high cell transmittance, which lowers the number of LEDs used.

Subsection 2.4: SFT

SFT is a technology from Tianma, enabling a wide viewing angle without significant change of brightness or colour. Viewing angles of typically 88 degrees in any direction can be achieved.

In many LCD panels the electric field (the “switching voltage”) is applied to the cells in a direction perpendicular to the surface of the panel. The liquid crystals are aligning in the same direction. Brightness and colour are changing with viewing angle. In SFT panels the electric field is applied parallel to the surface. The liquid crystal molecules align parallel as well. There is no dependency of brightness or colour from viewing angle.


Subsection 2.5: PLS

PLS was introduced by Samsung at the end of 2010 and designed to compete with LG.Display’s long-established and very popular IPS technology. It is an IPS-type technology and for all intents and purposes can be considered IPS, just being manufactured by another company.

Samsung claimed they had reduced production costs compared with IPS by about 15% and so were making a play at the market of IPS panels when it was launched. At the time it was also being dubbed “S-PLS” (Super-PLS) but that name seemed to be dropped quite quickly in favour of just “PLS”.


Section 3: Comparison of IPS and IPS-Like Modes

Now that we’ve introduced the IPS panel and various manufacturer’s IPS-like modes, it’s essential to compare their performance in various areas. This will provide a clearer understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.


Subsection 3.1: Image Quality and Color Accuracy

When it comes to image quality and color accuracy, both IPS panels and their like-modes offer superior performance compared to other LCD technologies. They can reproduce a wide color gamut, ensuring vibrant and true-to-life colors. However, some differences are depending on the specific IPS-like mode. For instance, Samsung’s PLS panels claim to provide 10% more brightness than traditional IPS panels.

Subsection 3.2: Viewing Angles

One of the main advantages of IPS panels and IPS-like modes is their wide viewing angles. They offer near-perfect viewing angles of up to 178 degrees, ensuring that the display’s colors and contrast remain consistent even when viewed from the side. This is a significant advantage over other panel types, such as TN, that suffer from color and contrast shifts when viewed from an angle.

Subsection 3.3: Response Time and Refresh Rate

In terms of response time and refresh rate, IPS panels and IPS-like modes may not perform as well as TN panels. However, with the advancement of technology, newer models of IPS and IPS-like panels have managed to reduce their response times significantly, making them suitable for fast-paced gaming.

Section 4: Conclusion

In conclusion, both IPS panels and IPS-like modes offer superior image quality, color accuracy, and viewing angles, making them a great choice for a wide range of applications. However, they differ in terms of brightness, response time, refresh rate, and price. Understanding these differences can help consumers make a more informed decision when choosing a display.

The distinction is becoming less important these days as faster IPS displays with similar tradeoffs are being manufactured by other companies. We even can name them all IPS Panel or Wide Viewing Technology.

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