What is a QLED?

Recently, Samsung has announced their new TV technology using QLEDs to counter the OLED TVs that LG and others have put on the market. QLED stands for Quantum dot LED, and though Samsung has been using the concept of quantum dots in its TVs for quite some years now, they claim they will be bringing out several flavors of the QLED technology.

According to Samsung, QLEDs are transmissive, as LCDs are, and light goes through several layers to create an image on the surface of the screen. The company claims to be working on the ability of the QLEDs to overcome the challenges currently plaguing the OLEDs.

Although the Q part is currently demanding a premium in the price of Samsung TVs on the market, it will likely decrease in the future. According to Samsung, the QLEDs are bringing several advantages with reference to picture quality, such as higher light output and brighter colors. Samsung claims the light output in highlights is now 2,000 nits, a relative quick loss of peak luminance, and improvement of the delayed ramp-up.

Samsung compares their QLED performance with OLEDs and points out that the new quantum dots offer superior color, providing rich, fully saturated colors even for bright images. However, there is yet no independent testing to substantiate the claims of the company. Moreover, the claims cover only the high-dynamic range as against the standard dynamic range, where the OLED would be a superior performer.

While many observers claim to see better clarity and improved colors in the new TV technology, others fail to notice any difference. You can see QLEDs in Samsung TV model UE55KS9000, and in tablets such as Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7, and HDX 8.9.

QLEDs contain quantum dots or microscopic molecules between two and 10 nanometers in diameter, which emit their own, differently colored light according to their size, when struck by photons or light particles. In the QLED TVs from Samsung, the dots are restricted to a film, and the LED backlight provides the illumination to light them up. This light then goes through other layers inside the display, which includes an LCD layer, ultimately creating the picture. As the light from the LED source passes through different layers before reaching the screen surface, the process is said to be transmissive.

The advantage of QLEDs is they can emit brighter, more vibrant, and more diverse colors—capable of making HDR content really shine—mainly due to their ability to achieve high peak brightness levels.

Compared to OLED TVs, it is more cost-effective to manufacture quantum dot TVs, which translates to better picture quality at a lower price. However, OLED displays still produce the deepest blacks, which means that OLEDs offer better contrast ratios. Therefore, while OLEDs offer true blacks, quantum dots offer great bright images.

QLED technology replaces the photoluminescent quantum dots with electroluminescent nanoparticles. Therefore, rather than coming from the LED backlight, light now comes directly to the display. Although the process is a lot similar to the light transference process within an OLED TV, within the QLED TV, individual pixels emit the light, thereby combining the best of quantum dots and OLED technology.