QLED vs. OLED TV: Similar names, completely completely different applied sciences

There’s a brand new(ish) sort of TV on the town, and it’s referred to as QLED. Samsung coined and trademarked the time period, asserting the primary QLED TVs at CES 2017, but it surely isn’t retaining that acronym fully for itself. Sources at Samsung inform Digital Trends they wish to see different firms undertake the QLED moniker for his or her quantum-dot infused LED TVs, too. To show it, the South Korean electronics big solid a partnership with Chinese producers Hisense and TCL, announcing a QLED Alliance in late April 2017, and as we witnessed at CES 2018, TCL now has a QLED line of TVs.

As you will have surmised, an alliance infers an enemy, and on this case, that might be OLED. Sounds prefer it’s time for a QLED vs. OLED TV battle!

QLED refers to an LED TV utilizing quantum dots to boost its efficiency.

OLED TVs have acquired excessive reward from tech journalists and reviewers throughout the board, together with Digital Trends; LG’s C7 OLED gained our reward because the best TV in 2017, for instance. But till 2017, LG was the one identify within the OLED sport, and premium worth tags put them out of attain of most shoppers, so the risk was low. Now that Sony is bringing competitors to the market with its own OLED TV, (with yet another on the way) and LG’s OLED lineup has expanded to incorporate extra inexpensive fashions, the warmth is on QLED know-how. However, Samsung appears poised to satisfy the problem, updating the know-how in subsequent QLED traces to attempt to shut the hole.

For these causes – and, let’s face it: the phrase QLED sounds and appears a lot like OLED — it’s vital to match the deserves of those dueling show applied sciences in a QLED vs. OLED comparability. As all the time, Digital Trends is right here to put all of it out for you. First, we’ll focus on what QLED is — and isn’t — after which we’ll pit the 2 applied sciences towards one another in a point-by-point battle for supremacy.

What is QLED?

Generally talking, QLED TVs are simply LED TVs that use quantum dots to boost efficiency in key image high quality areas. Samsung, nonetheless, claims its QLED TVs are particular, providing brightness ranges that meet and exceed any competing TV know-how, and higher black ranges than different LED TVs, and might reproduce extra colours than LED TVs with out quantum dots.

How? Quantum dots act nearly like a filter that produces purer gentle than LEDs alone can present. It’s sophisticated, so we clarify all the science behind QLED in a unique article.

Quantum dots emit good coloration in a slim wavelength when uncovered to the suitable gentle, making them ideally suited for TVs. (Credit: Samsung)

To meet the Ultra HD Alliance’s requirements for an Ultra HD Premium TV, most LED TVs should use quantum dots in some vogue. Since quantum dots are actually deployed so broadly throughout premium TVs, Samsung thinks it might scale back confusion if each producer simply began calling them QLED TVs. The objective is to distinguish them from mere LED TVs, and push again towards OLED, as Samsung has no plans to provide an OLED TV presently. However, the corporate does have its personal reply to OLED within the type of microLED. This is a separate know-how from its QLED TVs, so it gained’t think about right here, however primarily based on what we saw at CES 2018, microLED has the potential to convey some critical competitors to OLED, particularly almost about brightness and black ranges.

What QLED isn’t

QLED isn’t an emissive show know-how, like plasma, OLED, or MicroLED. Quantum dots don’t immediately emit the colours you see; they’re unfold on a bit of movie that acts nearly as a filter inside an LED TV panel. LED backlights beam by this movie, the sunshine is refined to a perfect coloration temperature, and from there, brightness and coloration are considerably enhanced.

If quantum dots produced gentle on their very own, QLED could possibly be referred to as an emissive show — however they don’t … but.

But TV fans have been hoping for a unique sort of QLED TV, one through which particular person quantum dots will be turned on and off with electrical energy like an OLED — no want for a backlight system, and no LCD panel concerned. If the quantum dots have been producing the sunshine on their very own, then we may name QLED an emissive show know-how – at current, nonetheless, it’s not.

What is OLED?

OLED stands for natural light-emitting diode. Very merely put, OLEDs are made with natural compounds that gentle up when fed electrical energy – therefore the time period emissive show. A single OLED is the dimensions of 1 pixel, so it takes tens of millions of them lighting up and shutting off independently to fill your TV display. Because of this flexibility, when an OLED TV’s pixels are shut off, they’re fully off and seem fully black. While QLED TVs will be made very skinny, OLED TVs will be made even thinner, and even flexible.


Now we’ll pit the 2 applied sciences towards one another on a point-by-point foundation and see how they stack up when it comes to distinction, viewing angle, brightness, and different efficiency issues.

Black stage

A show’s potential to provide deep, darkish blacks is arguably crucial think about attaining a superb image high quality. Deeper blacks enable for greater distinction and richer colours (amongst different issues) and, thus, a extra life like and dazzling picture. When it involves black ranges, OLED reigns because the undisputed champion.

lg 8k 88 inch oled
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

QLED TVs enhance on LED show black stage efficiency, however they nonetheless depend on backlights shining behind an LCD panel. Even with superior dimming know-how, which selectively dims LEDs that don’t have to be on at full blast, QLED TVs nonetheless undergo from an impact referred to as “light bleed,” the backlight spills by on what is meant to be a black part of the display. This impact is noticeable in scenes with vibrant stars on an evening sky, or within the letterbox bars on the high and backside of a film. The result’s a slight haze or halo round vibrant objects which blurs traces that ought to be sharp.

These points have been round for the reason that introduction of QLED, they usually’re inherent to the character of the panels, however Samsung made a quantum leap in 2018 (get it?), enhancing black ranges and off-angle image efficiency to near-OLED ranges, because of the addition of a brand new anti-reflective layer within the panels. We anticipate the hole to proceed shrinking as QLED tech grows.

OLED TVs undergo from none of those issues. If an OLED pixel isn’t getting electrical energy, it doesn’t produce any gentle and is, subsequently, completely black. Sounds like an apparent option to us.

Winner: OLED


When it involves succesful brightness, QLED TVs have a substantial benefit. LED TVs have been already good at getting extraordinarily vibrant, however the addition of quantum dots permits them to get even brighter. Because of this, QLED TVs declare superior “color volume,” which means they’re able to make all colours within the obtainable spectrum brighter with out shedding saturation. QLED TV makers additionally declare they’re higher for HDR content material as a result of spectral highlights in pictures – the glint of sunshine reflecting off a lake or a shiny automobile, as an example – are extra highly effective and extra simply seen.

In rooms with lots of ambient gentle, a QLED’s brightness benefit will be very useful.

samsung hisense tcl qled alliance announcement

When it involves that HDR argument, although, a lot will be stated for the overall distinction afforded by an OLED TV’s good black ranges. When you begin from good black, perceived distinction requires much less intense brightness in these highlighted areas for HDR programming, and the tip consequence for the viewer is just like that of a a lot brighter QLED TV – at the very least in a darkish room, anyway. In rooms with lots of ambient gentle, a QLED’s brightness benefit will be very useful for delivering that huge visible punch HDR content material ought to ship.

Samsung’s 2018 flagship fashions — the Q9 and Q8 — added full array native dimming, which solely provides to the corporate’s benefit when it comes to peak luminance. And a brand new anti-reflective coating, together with different panel enhancements, has diminished the halo — or, blooming — impact TV reviewers complain a lot about. Brightness with out a few of the LED disadvantages? That’s wanting very interesting, certainly.

Winner: QLED

Color area

OLED used to rule this class, however quantum dots, by enhancing the purity of the backlight, have allowed QLED TVs to surge ahead in coloration accuracy, coloration brightness, and coloration quantity, placing them in a lifeless warmth with OLED TVs. Again, QLED makers declare better-saturated colours at excessive brightness ranges to be a bonus, however we now have but to witness this technical declare leading to an actual benefit in regular viewing conditions.

Samsung has applied expanded coloration quantity in its 2018 QLED fashions, which may enhance saturation at greater brightness ranges, however we don’t actually have sufficient proof to declare it a hit.

Winner: Draw

Response time

Response time refers back to the time it takes for every particular person diode to vary from “on” to “off.” With quicker response time comes much less movement blur and fewer artifacts (supply materials however).

OLED, with its smaller diodes working as single pixels, merely blows QLED out of the water when it comes to response time. In distinction, the diodes in QLED TVs usually are not solely slower, however sit behind the LCD panel and illuminate clusters of pixels, not particular person ones. This causes an total slower change between “on” and “off” states. In reality, OLED presently affords the quickest response time of any TV know-how in use at the moment, making it a transparent winner on this regard.

That stated, Samsung geared up all its 2018 QLED televisions with assist for variable refresh charge, which ought to drastically enhance efficiency for these taking part in multiplayer video games with unreliable body charges.

Winner: OLED

Input lag

As for enter lag, LG has significantly improved its OLED TVs on this space, making them an actual possibility for avid gamers who play aggressive multiplayer titles, and Sony’s aren’t far behind (hovering round 30 milliseconds). We do know that OLEDs aren’t an inherently unhealthy alternative for avid gamers, however which fashions could have the least enter lag stays to be seen.

It’s additionally laborious to rank OLED towards its QLED competitors as a result of the enter lag on QLED TVs varies so vastly from mannequin to mannequin. Suffice it to say that OLED is definitely an possibility for avid gamers, and we’re to see how they carry out in 2017.

Winner: Draw

Viewing angles

OLED, once more, is the winner right here. With QLED screens, the very best viewing angle is lifeless middle, and the image high quality diminishes in each coloration and distinction the additional you progress facet to facet, or up and down. While the severity differs between fashions, it’s all the time noticeable. LG produces a kind of LCD panel referred to as IPS which has slightly better off-angle performance than VA-type LCD panels, but it surely’s nonetheless no competitors for OLED know-how. Similarly, Samsung’s highest-end QLED TVs characteristic up to date panel design and completely different anti-reflective coating, which make off-angle viewing a lot much less of a difficulty. While OLED nonetheless beats these fashions out ultimately, the hole is closing rapidly. In reality, we anticipate to see considerably higher viewing angles from Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV lineup.

Rich Shibley

Sony XBR-A1E 4K HDR OLED TV (Photo: Rich Shibley/Digital Trends)

OLED screens will be considered with no luminance degradation at drastic viewing angles — as much as 84 levels. Some QLED TVs have improved when it comes to viewing angle, and (as talked about) Samsung’s anti-reflective layer helps a ton right here, however OLED maintains a bonus.

Winner: OLED


OLEDs have come a good distance on this class. When the tech was nonetheless nascent, OLED screens maxed out at 55 inches. Today, an 88-inch OLED is out there. With that stated, there are fewer limitations on LCD show sizes, with QLED rising as giant as 100 inches and past. For most folk, this isn’t a big benefit, however technically talking, QLED has the sting right here.

Winner: QLED


LG says you’d have to look at its OLED TVs 5 hours per day for 54 years earlier than they fell to 50 p.c brightness. Whether that’s true stays to be seen, as OLED TVs have solely been out within the wild since 2013. For that motive — and that motive solely — we’ll award this class to QLED. It pays to have a confirmed monitor report.

Winner (for now): QLED

Screen burn-in

We embody this part begrudgingly, each as a result of burn-in is a misnomer (that’s simply an aggravation) and, for most folk, the impact is not going to be a difficulty.

The impact we’ve come to know as burn-in stems from the times of the boxy CRT TV, when the extended show of a static picture would trigger that picture to seem to “burn” into the display. What was really going down then was the phosphors that coated the again of the TV display would glow for prolonged durations of time with none relaxation, inflicting the phosphors to wear down and create the looks of a burned-in picture. We suppose this ought to be referred to as “burn out.” But … no matter.

QLED TVs aren’t prone to burn-in.

The similar challenge is at play with OLED TVs as a result of the compounds that gentle up do degrade over time. If you burn a pixel lengthy and laborious sufficient, you’ll trigger it to dim prematurely and forward of the remainder of the pixels, making a darkish impression. However, in actuality, this isn’t very prone to trigger an issue for many viewers — you will need to to abuse the TV deliberately with the intention to obtain this consequence. Even the “bug” (brand graphic) that sure channels use disappears typically sufficient or is made clear in order to keep away from inflicting burn-in points. You’d have to look at ESPN all day day-after-day (for a lot of days) on the brightest doable setting to trigger an issue, and even then it nonetheless isn’t very doubtless.

That stated, the potential is there, and it ought to be famous. Gamers specifically who go away their TV on whereas a static picture stays on-screen, or who play for 10 hours a day for a lot of weeks at a time may trigger some “burn-in” on an OLED TV. We would advocate for a shift in conduct (perhaps go exterior occasionally and switch off that TV once you do?) But, since QLED TVs aren’t prone to burn-in, they win this battle by technicality.

Winner: QLED

Power consumption

OLED panels are extraordinarily skinny and require no backlight. As such, OLED TV’s are usually lighter in weight than QLED TVs and thinner. They additionally require much less energy, making them extra environment friendly.

Winner: OLED


As you’ve in all probability ascertained by now, LG makes OLED TV panels, however a number of producers take these panels and put them of their televisions. As a consequence, completely different OLED TVs have vastly completely different working methods and options, so we will’t actually touch upon accessibility or usability with out going one-by-one.

However, we can say and not using a shadow of a doubt that Samsung has made its TVs — together with, in fact, the QLED household — fairly easy to arrange and use. So lengthy as you’ve acquired Samsung’s SmartThings app, newer fashions will mechanically draw data out of your smartphone, permitting them to obtain all of your streaming apps and log you in with a single faucet (they’ll do the identical for Wi-Fi).

That’s not all — Samsung’s gapless mount system and Invisible One Connect field imply mounting a QLED and hiding cables is shockingly easy. Samsung’s Tizen OS is snappy and simple to handle, too.

Winner: QLED


Once upon a time, this class can be handily gained by QLED TVs, however OLED TVs have come down in worth, and since we’re speaking all-premium right here, comparable QLED TVs value about the identical. The worth class merely isn’t a consideration on this explicit battle.

Winner: Draw


We have a winner! But word that after we’re performed testing Samsung’s 2018 QLEDs, we may see the trophy change fingers.

When pitting QLED vs. OLED when it comes to image high quality, OLED comes out on high, though the latter know-how represents a big development over the LED TVs of previous. OLED is lighter, thinner, makes use of much less power, affords the very best viewing angle, and, although nonetheless somewhat dearer, has come down in worth significantly.

QLED has its personal distinct set of benefits with brightness functionality, and with latest tweaks, black ranges and off-angle viewing have additionally improved. For many, a QLED TV will make extra sense since a QLED considered throughout the day will provide a punchier image. But when the lights go down, OLED is a extra enticing alternative.

Winner: OLED

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