What Is a VA or SVA Display? A Basic Definition

VA stands for vertical alignment and is a a type of LED (a form of LCD) panel display technology. VA panels are characterized as having the best contrast and image depth among the other main types of display panels, TN (twisted nematic)and IPS (in-plane switching), but also the longest response times. As such, you may want to think twice before choosing a VA panel as a gaming monitor. However, we regard contrast as the most important factor in a monitor's image quality. So if you’re looking for the best possible picture, we highly recommend a VA display.

What’s the difference between VA and SVA panels?

When buying a PC monitor or even a gaming laptop, you may see displays listed as “SVA” instead of “VA”. SVA stands for “super vertical alignment” and is a term created by Samsung. Long story short, SVA is a type of VA panel that claims to bring better viewing angles, which is why some people will say SVA stands for “super viewing angles.” Either way, SVA means better image quality when viewing the screen from the side, above, below or in very sunny or bright atmospheres.

According to Samsung, SVA panels achieve better viewing angles by laying its liquid crystals into varying directions, allowing viewers to see the same color no matter their viewing angle. “With shaping liquid crystal cell structure as a boomerang, further dividing each sub-pixel into two different sections that are oppositely aligned (also referred to as fish-bone structure), viewing angles are no longer an issue,” Samsung says. However, an IPS display will likely still offer better viewing angles than an SVA display.

SVA panels also use polymeric stabilizers, which are is supposed to bring better cell transmittance and eat up less power than regular VA panels.

Common Types of LCD Panels:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 TNVAIPS
PerformanceFastest: low response times, highest refresh rates, minimal motion blur; Low input lagLongest response times typically; Higher refresh rates possibleSlower response times than TN, faster response times than VA; Gaming-quality refresh rates are rare
DisplayWorst viewing angles;Worst colorViewing angles typically better than TN, worse than IPS; Good color; Best contrast;Best image depthBest viewing angles; Best color
PricingCheapestPricier models can have performance comparable to TNMost expensive
Best UseGamingGeneral UseProfessional

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

Further reading:

Scharon Harding

Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.