The Samsung QLED TV Technology Explained

Samsung revealed their new QLED TVs at Samsung Forum 2017. They also showcased the advantages of the Samsung QLED TV technology. Join us for a quick look at the Samsung QLED TV technology, and find out why Samsung thinks it represents a quantum leap in TV technology.

 

What Is QLED?

QLED is Samsung’s brand of quantum dot displays. Despite the similarity in name, these are not a newer version of the OLED (organic LED) technology used in some TVs and many smartphones. Rather, quantum dot and QLED displays are “regular” LCD TVs enhanced with quantum dots.

For a quick, consumer-friendly summary of QLED technology, we have Jason Foo, Head of Samsung Malaysia’s AV Business Unit, to thank! 😀

 

Why Is QLED Better Than OLED?

Quantum dots are microscopic particles that very efficiently converts the light from the LED backlight into very specific colours. This ability to generate purer red and green light using a blue LED backlight allows QLED TVs to deliver a brighter display with a wider colour gamut.

Samsung quotes their new QLED TVs with maximum brightness levels of 1,500 to 2,000 nits, and the ability to reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 colour space. Compare that to OLED TVs that can only deliver 400-500 nits, and about 70% of the DCI-P3 colour space.

In this video, we will show you the new Samsung QLED TV compared to a competitor’s OLED TV in three aspects – colour gamut, contrast ratio and viewing angle.

The quantum dot technology does not affect the QLED TV’s viewing angle. However, it appears that Samsung made some changes to the subpixel arrangement of the new QLED TVs, so that they have much better viewing angles. That’s why the comparison above shows a superior viewing angle – the traditional advantage of OLED displays.

 

What’s New About QLED?

You may recall that Samsung had already introduced quantum dot displays in their 2016 SUHD TVs. Their 2017 QLED TVs though, boasts a new “alloy quantum dot technology”.

They basically coated an InP (indium phosphide) core with an inner ZnSe (zinc selenide) shell, followed by a ZnS (zinc sulfide) outer shell, creating an alloyed InP/ZnSeS quantum dot.

The Samsung QLED TV Technology Revealed

These alloy quantum dots are more efficient in converting the light of the backlight unit (BLU) into specific colours required by the display. Because they are zinc-based, they are also far less toxic than cadmium-based quantum dot displays.

 

HDR Capability

HDR was not mentioned at all in Samsung Forum 2017, but it is an important feature for those intending to invest in a new TV.

3D TV is dead, and the new killer feature is HDR (High Dynamic Range). The industry is fast moving towards HDR displays and content. The term is catchy, readily understood by the masses, and most importantly – can be easily demonstrated to all.

The 2017 Samsung QLED TVs all support HDR, but only in one format – HDR10. Samsung is focusing on HDR10 for 3 reasons :

  • it is an open standard, as opposed to Dolby Vision.
  • it is the basis for the 4K UHD Blu-ray HDR specifications
  • the vast majority of movies today are designed for 1,000 nits displays (that HDR10 supports), instead of 4,000 nits displays (that Dolby Vision supports)

Internet wars aside, the shift to HDR displays and content is just beginning. By the time HDR is ubiquitous many, many years down the road, perhaps we will have the 4,000 nits displays to justify a requirement for Dolby Vision.

 

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7 Comments

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  2. Martin

    Is this a Samsung paid marketing article?

    – Maximum brightness is becoming a pretty useless stat, especially now that we are commonly going past 1,000 nits with most comtemporary technologies. Btw, LG peak brightness spec for OLED panels was 400-500 nits back in 2015, 750-800 nits in 2016 and they are claiming 1,000 nits in 2017 models.
    – The other side of that same equation (essentially contrast ratio) is black level. What is the black level for QLED TV when it is showing some test pattern like checkerboard with white at 2,000 nits?
    – Colour space difference is not noticeable. OLEDs are right at the same sport as QLEDs, shortcomings in older models are due to control logic, not the panel.

    The video is clearly from a trade show and is just marketing, not a good comparison and it compares QLED to “conventional” panel, which is clearly LCD, not OLED. The “conventional” panel is also clearly lacking HDR which makes up for most of the difference. Non-QLED HDR screens do exist with comparable stats so in a good comparison I would very much like to see benefits specific to QLED, not ones of higher end TV. Also, note the bright content playing on the strengths of QLED (enormous brightness).

    As for the technology itself, QLED is awesome. The problem here is question about technology itself. Samsung is being very careful with their wording on what the technology actually is. Quantum dots are (or can be, depending on how they are used) light emitters similar to OLEDs which would put them on equal grounds. However, the current QLED panels from Samsung appear to be using quantum dots as better color filters in an otherwise conventional LCD panel. It is undeniably better than conventional LCD but OLEDs continue to have considerable upper hand for contrast ratio and dynamic range due to OLEDs much lower black level.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Adrian Wong

      No, this is not a paid advertorial. This is coverage at the Samsung Forum 2017 (http://www.techarp.com/events/samsung-forum-2017-coverage/). No doubt it’s not a good comparison. In fact, we are now preparing a similar comparison by their competitor, LG, to demonstrate exactly the same thing but with wildly different results.

      Correct. These are not true quantum dot displays, which is probably why they went with QLED instead. To call it a quantum dot TV would be technically wrong, and completely misleading.

      Reply
  3. Martin

    HDR10 support vs Dolby Vision support probably comes down to the price and nothing else. Dolby Vision requires fairly expensive licensing with Dolby.

    Despite what Samsung seems to claim, HDR10 is not the basis for the 4K UHD Blu-ray HDR specifications. These can use Dolby Vision just fine and spec was written with that in mind. Also, 1,000 vs 4,000 nits support as presented is simply misleading. These both should essentially be prefixed ‘up to’, Dolby Vision will work fine with 1,000 nits.

    Dolby Vision is superior to HDR10 in several ways – most importantly two specific aspects: colour depth up to 12bit (vs 10bit in HDR10) and possibility of dynamic HDR metadata that can change HDR setup mid-video (as opposed to static metadata, transferred in the beginning in HDR10).

    Despite its advantages Dolby Vision remains pricey and that leads to manufacturers leaning heavily towards open and free HDR10.

    Reply
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