Samsung caused quite the stir with the surprise launching of their new QLED TV at CES 2017.
With Samsung the only brand at the Consumer Electronics Show to release a QLED set, they’ve sprung what was tapped to be 2018’s tech in 2017.
So what is a QLED TV?
With TVs, technical jargon and marketing terms often combine to form a perfect storm of impenetrable-sounding terminology. So let’s break things down as simply as possible.
First things first, QLED stands for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diodes. We know what you’re thinking, it should be QDLED, but that’s not as snappy (that’s the marketing terminology at play).
A QLED TV places a film of quantum dots in front of an LCD backlight. The quantum dots themselves are tiny semiconductor particles, spanning mere nanometres in size. Ranging from 2 to 10 nanometres across, quantum dots emit different coloured light depending on their size, with small dots appearing blue and larger ones appearing red.
So Samsung’s QLED TVs combine the illuminative power of LCD, pushing out between 1500-2000 nits (another terminology rabbit hole for you) with the precision of the quantum dots enhancing the colour to “True RGB” definition.
QLED TVs are simply far brighter than rival OLED technology. And they are much better at maintaining colour volume at high brightness levels too. There is bit of a compromise at play here, however. The back or side-lit nature of Samsung’s QLED screens means that, despite significant advances that have been made in local dimming tech, you can’t get as pure and deep blacks as with OLED TVs, in which the individual light emitting diodes do all the light-emission heavy lifting.
This is because OLED diodes are either on, and emitting light, or off… and emitting no light.
With QLED, the back light can’t be entirely filtered outm which can lead to a slight greyness to the blacks as light leaks through. That said, local dimming tech has been beefed up and anti-reflection filters added to the Samsung’s QLED screens which allows for deeper blacks. The trade off is basically: do you want higher brightness and colour volume or deep and crisp blacks?
QLED versus OLED
QLED stands in opposition to OLED TVs such as flagships unleashed by LG, Sony, and Panasonic at CES 2017. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. The “organic” part of the label refers to organic layers of polymers that transport electrons from the light emitting cathode at the heart of the set.
Q is for quality
The QLED experience is not just about fancy screen technology. Samsung have developed curved screens that can be viewed off-centre without loosing colour and contrast. This is not just to do with the curvature of the screens, but also by advances made in LCD backlighting. The “backlight” in this cases lights the screen from multiple sides, making for powerful resolution from all angles.
The Samsung QLED range comes in three model variants: the flat screen flagship Q9F, the curved Q8C, and a Q7 model available in either curved or flat screen formats. Screen sizes range from 55 to 88 inches.
Other neat touches includes an almost-invisible optic cable sending all light signals to the screen, and a new rotatable tripod TV stand, as well as refined wall-mounting brackets.
If you’re looking for brilliant, top quality colour display, with great contrast and high colour volume, delivered with the Samsung style and quality we know and love, QLED is the path you need to walk down.