What does QLED mean exactly?

The Q in QLED stands for quantum, as in quantum dot LED TVs, according to Samsung. It’s a variation of LED/LCD. What’s interesting is that the technology seems to be going backward in QLED’s similarity to standard LCD that today’s zoomy OLED technology is trying to surpass.

So, here’s the story: Samsung will be selling QLED TVs vs. OLED TVs on the market made by LG, Philips, Panasonic and Sony. Samsung is saying there will be many flavours of the QLED technology. Is this a marketing gimmick? Seems like it, especially since the company has been using quantum dots in its TVs for the past couple of years. Samsung says that QLEDs, like LCDs, are “transmissive,” whereby the lights travel through other layers to create a picture on the screen’s surface. They are working on the ability to match OLEDs without the OLED challenges.

It isn’t hard to guess that the “Q” will demand a price premium, as the least expensive 55in model starts at $2,500. The premium will likely decrease in the future though. Where they may be an advantage is in picture quality, with improved light output and colour. Samsung says it has increased light output up to 2,000 nits in highlights, and improved on the challenge of delayed ramp-up, and relatively quick loss of peak luminance.

 
QLED TV samsung fig1 (cr) Figure 1: QLED TVs feature saturated and rich colour volume for bright images.  

Samsung claims that its new quantum dots enable superior colour volume, providing fully saturated, rich colour even with bright images, when compared with OLED TVs. So far the company’s claims are not yet substantiated by independent testing. In addition, the claims also are centred on high-dynamic range versus standard dynamic range, where OLED would likely win out. It will be interesting to see what the labs say once they get their hands on the technology.

While I can often “see” clarity and colour improvements in TV technologies, most of these claims of vastly improved TV are frankly lost on me. Maybe I just don’t have the eye for it, which is a distinct possibility, or maybe they are very subtle gains not suitable for my aging eyes. In any case, seldom do they justify the price tags.

First published by EDN.