Is OLED or QLED better? – You need to know
Television technology is in its heyday right now. With streaming, we have access to an almost limitless amount of content 24 hours a day. Ultra HD 4K is now well established, 8K TVs are growing more popular, HDR is widely available, and Ultra HD 4K is now well established.
However, the influx of new terminology and marketing jargon makes this a bewildering period for TV technology. The contrast between OLED and QLED, the two competing technologies in the high-end TV market, is one of the recurring confusion. What precisely are they, how do they differ, and which should you choose if you want the clearest picture? Is OLED or QLED better?
Let us give you the details.
OLED pros and cons
The OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a display technology that uses a carbon-based film that emits light when two conductors send a current through it. Importantly, this light can be produced pixel-by-pixel, allowing a brilliant white or colored pixel to appear adjacent to one that is completely black or a different color without having any negative effects on either.
A conventional LCD TV, on the other hand, relies on a separate backlight to produce light that is subsequently transmitted through a layer of pixels. No TV with a backlight has ever been able to eliminate the problem of light leaking from an intentionally bright pixel to those around, despite numerous attempts over the years. OLED displays also have the advantages of being lighter and thinner than traditional LCD/LED displays, as well as viewing angles that are typically much wider and response times that can be extremely fast.
The fact that OLEDs are rather expensive to create is one drawback. OLED TVs are still slightly more expensive than the majority of traditional LCD models, despite production volumes and retail competitiveness increasing thanks in large part to LG, the world’s leading producer of OLED panels for TVs, selling panels to other manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic, and Philips.
As far as OLEDs are concerned, sizes can be a problem. Up until very recently, OLED TVs were only available in sizes up to 55 inches. Although they are currently produced in relatively limited quantities, these “tiny” OLEDs are typically not much more cost-effective than their 55-inch versions. Additionally, compared to the newest, brightest, larger sets, the panels often have lower peak brightness, which may make them less cost-effective. Even the ordinary illuminated model’s peak brightness levels are beyond what all OLEDs can achieve.
What about burn-in for OLEDs?
Burn-in occurs when a persistent portion of the image, such as a phone’s navigation buttons or a TV’s news ticker, scoreboard, or channel logo, stays as a ghostly background no matter what else is displayed on the screen. All OLED displays have the potential to burn in, and from what I can tell, they are more prone than LCD panels, including QLED.
QLED pros and cons
Samsung may suddenly be on board the OLED train, but for a long time, it avoided it and supported a competing technology called QLED. It is important to note that other manufacturers, like Hisense, Vizio, and TCL, also employ QLED, but occasionally under a different moniker. QLED has primarily been identified with Samsung. The acronym QLED refers to Quantum-dot Light-Emitting Diode. In theory, at least, QLED and OLED share many similarities, most notably the ability of each pixel to independently emit light, in this case, due to quantum dots, which are extremely small semiconductor particles.
Again, in principle, these quantum dots can emit colors that are even more brilliant, colorful, and varied than OLED. The issue is that the quantum dots utilized in the QLED TVs now on the market do not emit their light. The light from a backlight is simply transferred through them, exactly like an LCD layer does on conventional LCD/LED TVs.
It’s conceivable that this will alter in the future. Several self-emissive QLEDs, including the first 8K self-emitting QLED display created by BOE, have already been on show at industry gatherings. The self-emissive QLEDs from BOE contain quantum dot nanocrystals that can emit their light when exposed to an electric field, in contrast to conventional QLEDs that use a quantum dot film sandwiched between an LED backlight and an LCD panel. This indicates that it does not need a backlight, similar to OLED and that each pixel may be individually muted.
Self-emissive QLEDs for the home are still a ways off, though. The gap between LCD and OLED is currently being closed by conventional quantum dots, but this isn’t the next-generation, paradigm-shifting technology that Samsung has consistently implied with its QLED branding.
OLED has an undeniable advantage over QLED because of its capacity to individually illuminate each pixel. Even if there are fewer bright spots overall, the contrast is still really stunning. For its most expensive models, which it refers to as “Neo QLED” TVs, Samsung has tried to improve contrast by switching from regular LED backlights to Mini LED backlights. These backlights, as their name implies, use considerably smaller LEDs that can be packed in much more densely and resemble sparkling sand grains. A large increase, in contrast, can be achieved by increasing the number of independent dimming zones while concurrently increasing the number of LEDs.
So, Is OLED or QLED better? Both QLED and OLED TVs have advantages and disadvantages, but OLED technology wins out because of its infinite contrast ratio and wide viewing angles. In addition, new developments are anticipated to raise the bar for OLED performance. Sony and Samsung will release the first QD-OLED TVs on the market later this year. Quantum dots are used in these OLED panels to enhance their color capabilities. It still doesn’t appear that QD-OLED will be able to match the brightness of a QLED based on preliminary testing with Sony’s model, but the technology does help narrow that gap even further. Over the past few years, the cost of standard OLEDs has also decreased; you can now find 65-inch models at the entry level for less than $1,500.
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