The television market it is packed with different types of screens and features that claim to provide excellent picture quality. And now, to further confuse consumers, a new display technology called QD-OLED, or QD Display, has arrived.
The best of two worlds
As the name suggests, QD-OLED is a hybrid display technology that takes the elements of OLED and combines them with quantum dots. Samsung has developed it with the intention of producing a screen that maintains the benefits of OLED technology and eliminates one of its main drawbacks.
In recent years, OLED televisions have successfully established themselves as leaders in picture quality by offering perfect blacks, a contrast ratio near infinity and wide viewing angles. However, they are relatively lower in brightness than LED-backlit LCD panels. This hampers its HDR performance and can be a problem if you place your TV in a well-lit or sunny room.
To solve this problem, Samsung decided to use quantum dot technology, something that it already uses in its QLED and Neo QLED televisions. A layer of quantum dots in QLED TVs improves color accuracy and helps deliver a wide color gamut. But when used with OLED panels, it has an added benefit: higher brightness.
How does a QD-OLED screen work?
According to Samsung Display, a QD-OLED screen has three main components : a TFT layer that includes an electronic circuit to pass current through the OLED material, a layer of blue OLED material that generates blue light and a layer of quantum dots.
When the blue light from each pixel passes through the layer of quantum dots, green and red sub-pixels are created which, combined with the blue sub-pixel, form the model of RGB color . In this color model, red, blue, and green add together to produce other colors for the images you see on your television.
By using quantum dots instead of a color filter for color transformation, virtually no light energy is lost. This results in a brighter screen compared to traditional OLED TV panels. And since QD-OLED panels have self-emissive pixels, individual pixels can be dimmed for perfect black levels. Thanks to deep blacks and high brightness, QD-OLED panels can provide significantly better HDR performance than traditional OLEDs.
Samsung says QD-OLED screens can achieve a high contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, offer a wide color gamut, and have excellent viewing angles. Additional improvements made by the company also allow the display to better combat glare and reduce exposure to harmful blue light wavelengths.
QD-OLED vs. OLED
Although QD-OLED displays offer some of the benefits available with OLED panels and are somewhat similar in structure, they have two key differences in how they work. First, as mentioned, QD-OLED screens only use blue OLED material, which generates blue light. OLED TV panels, on the other hand, have red, green, and blue OLED materials. These materials are interspersed to create white light, which acts as the light source for each pixel. This is why the OLED panels used in modern televisions are also called white OLEDs.
The second difference is how QD-OLED and OLED panels convert their main light source to produce other colors. Instead of the quantum dots used in QD-OLED panels, OLED panels use a color filter that converts white light into red, green, blue, and white colors. They are then added to make other colors. However, this color filter is not as efficient as quantum dots and some of the light energy is lost, reducing the brightness of the panel.
While these changes will help QD-OLED screens, which potentially offer higher brightness, a wide color gamut, and more realistic colors, the panels are likely to remain susceptible to burn . It is commonly associated with OLED panels, and since QD-OLED panels also use organic material, they too will degrade over time and may have to deal with burn-in issues.
QLED vs. QD-OLED
Quantum Dot technology is not new to the television market. It is used in QLED or Quantum Dot LED TVs from various manufacturers, including Samsung. So you can already get a wide color gamut and excellent color fidelity on QLED TVs. But it’s the OLED elements of the QD-OLED panels that really separate these two types of display.
QLED TVs are essentially LED televisions that include a layer of quantum dots. So while they may have better color rendering than other LED TVs, they still have the same drawbacks that other LED TVs have. For example, LED TVs can’t reach the perfect black levels of OLED or QD-OLED TVs, so QLED TVs also have the same weakness.
Also, depending on whether they are using a panel type VA or type IPS , QLED TVs can have narrow to wide viewing angles. The presence of an IPS-type panel also significantly affects the contrast ratio.
But even though QD-OLED panels will have higher brightness than OLED panels, QLED TVs will outperform QD-OLED TVs on the brightness front. According a graphic shared by Samsung Display a QD-OLED or QD screen can achieve up to 1000 nits of maximum brightness in HDR. By comparison, some QLED TVs have a peak brightness of over 1,500 nits.
And finally, unlike OLED TVs, QLED TVs don’t have to worry about wear and tear.
Which TVs use a QD-OLED screen?
As of the end of 2021, none of the TV manufacturers have released TVs with a QD-OLED panel. But Samsung is expected announce the first QD-OLED TVs at CES 2022. The company is likely to launch 55-inch and 65-inch models initially, with more sizes to be added later.
In addition to Samsung, Sony Y TCL they’re also working on QD-OLED TVs, but there’s no word on when they might launch.