OLED vs QLED TV Technology

OLED vs QLED: The next big TV rivalry

OLED vs QLED – Introduction

VHS vs BetaMax, LCD vs Plasma, Blu-Ray vs HD DVD. And now OLED vs QLED?. Is OLED vs QLED going to be the next big format battle when it comes to digital media? Both camps have good technology, some benefits, some drawbacks and strong supporters in both camps. Can they co-exist or will it be a battle to the finish. And while we are on the subject, which of these technologies is objectively better when it comes to YOUR TV viewing experience? We will look at these topics and more in our current article.

Samsung QLED TV
LG OLED TV
LG OLED TV

OLED TV Technology – the disruptor

OLED TV is a revolutionary technology when it comes to Television displays. It is wholly different from the current crop of LED TVs and promises an enhanced viewing experience. We would say that not since the days of LCD screens and LED backlit TVs has such a revolutionary technology been introduced.

So, what makes OLED TV technology so disruptive and revolutionary? First, lets talk about how current LED TVs work. The display in all LED TVs consists of an LCD screen which is backlit by LEDs. The light from the LEDs passes through various filters which proviide the different colors which are required to display the final image on-screen. Now, the LEDs can be placed right behind the plasma screen or they can be at the edges of the screen. When they are placed right behind, the configuration is called a Full array LED TV. A full array LED TV provides even backlighting and better local dimming for areas of the picture which need to be dark.

Edge-lit LED TVs have the LEDs placed at the sides of the TV from where they provide illumination. The advantage of edge-lit LED TVs is that the total panel thickness can be minimized and the overall cost of manufacturing is also lower. However, the disadvantage is that the edges of the screen can be brigther than other parts and local dimming is not as good as a full array LED.

LED TVs require filters to be placed beyond the LEDs – which emit white light. These filters convert the white light to various colors which when combined show the picture on your TV screen. Hence they are called a transmissive display technology since the light from the LEDs needs to be transmitted. OLEDs on the other hand are what are called an emissive display technology. This is because the light from the OLEDs are what you see on the screen. Since OLEDs can be made very small and can emit different colors of light, they are placed directly behind the display of an OLED TV.

Because of their emissive property, the colors displayed on an OLED screen are much richer as compared to an LED TV. Since individual OLEDs can also be turned on and off selectively, parts of the display can become completely black. This leads to the holy grail of contrast ratios where the contrast ratio can actually be infinity on OLED TVs since the color of the black area is pure and complete black.

A couple of criticisms leveled against OLED TVs are that they are not as bright as compared to LED TVs. This is definitely true currently. LED TVs have better brightness and this works in their favor especially when it comes to displaying HDR content which requires exceptional brightness from the display panel.

The second criticism leveled against OLED TVs is that of the screen burn-in issue. Screen burn-in is caused whenever a static image like a logo is displayed on screen for a very long time. Screen burn-in is when an outline or ghost of the logo image is permanently displayed on the screen afterwards. Again this is a valid concern with OLEDs since screen burn-in can happen due to the nature of OLED technology. However, with improving technology we foresee screen burn-in to be a non-issue soon. We did an in-depth review on screen burn-in in OLED TVs recently as well.

QLED TV Technology – improvement over the current

So now that we have a good idea about OLED TV technology lets take a look at QLED TVs and what makes them the favorite technology of manufacturers like Samsung. QLED stands for Quantum Dots LED. The fundamental technology of the LED TV does not change when it comes to QLED TVs. Instead, they are what may be termed as an iterative improvement over LED TVs.

As we have seen in the LED TV section, LED TVs have a light source which passes light through various filters before it reached the LCD display where you are able to see the picture. In a QLED TV, there is an additional filter to this layer of filters which has Quantum Dots. So what are these Quantum dots? Quantum dots are tiny molecules that produce light of their own when they are hit by another light source. In a QLED TV, the LEDs produce white light which hits these quantum dots which produce light of their own. The light from these quantum dots is multi colored however. This multi colored light helps your TV in producing a wider color palette which leads to more vivid colors on your screen.

Quantum dot technology has been around since 2015 with Samsung being the main proponent of the technology. Samsung has also roped in TCL and Hisense into the QLED alliance which aims to manufacture and popularize the technology. Check here for more on QLED TV technology.

ParameterWinner
Contrast and depth of black colors
OLED
BrightnessQLED
Overall Picture Quality
OLED
Viewing Angles
OLED
CostQLED

OLED vs QLED: comparisons across parameters

So now that we know more about both the technologies, lets find out how they compare across different parameters.

Picture Quality

When it comes to contrast and deeper blacks, there is really no way that OLED TVs can be beaten. Due to their emissive technology, they can achieve perfect blacks on part of the screen which is simply not possible with a transmissive technology like QLED

However, when it comes to brightness, QLEDs might hold the edge over OLEDs. The best QLED TV can outperform most OLEDs when it comes to brightness. This is especially important when you are watching HDR videos which require higher brightness levels.

Overall, we have to say that OLEDs are comfortably ahead right now when it comes to picture quality as compared to QLEDs.

Viewing angles and uniformity

Since OLEDs are perfectly emissive as a display technology, each pixel can be viewed clearly at almost all viewing angles. This is not true for QLEDs which have LEDs in their panel which provide illumination. The LEDs can cause non-uniform illumination across the panel.

Cost

Now that we have talked about picture quality parameters, it is also important to consider the cost. OLEDs as they stand today are quite expensive and will remain so in the foreseeable future. QLEDs on the other hand are cheaper and are also available in a large variety of sizes.

OLED vs QLED: Conclusion

OLED TVs are the newest paradigm when it comes to TV display technology. They provide amazing picture quality and never before seen contrast ratios. QLEDs are an incrementatl innovation on LED TVs and are more cost effective and available in a larger variety of sizes. We foresee that the battle of formats is not over yet. We are however rooting for OLEDs just because of the amazing picture quality that they provide.