The TV market is full of different display types and features that claim to provide excellent picture quality. And now, to confuse consumers even more, a new screen technology called QD-OLED or QD Display has appeared.
The best of both worlds
As the name suggests, QD-OLED is a hybrid display technology that takes OLED elements and combines them with quantum dots. Samsung developed it with the goal of producing a screen that preserves the advantages of OLED technology while removing one of its major drawbacks.
Over the past several years, OLED TVs have successfully established themselves as a leader in picture quality by offering perfect blacks, near-infinite contrast ratio, and wide viewing angles. However, its brightness is relatively lower than that of LCD panels with LED backlights. This hinders their 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 it already uses in QLED and Neo QLED TVs. A layer of quantum dots in QLED TVs improves their color accuracy and helps deliver a wide color gamut. But when used with OLED panels, it has an additional benefit: increased brightness.
How does a QD-OLED display work?
According to Samsung Display, a QD-OLED display 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 blue light from each pixel is passed through the layer of quantum dots, green and red sub-pixels are created, which, together with the blue sub-pixel, make up the RGB color model. In this color model, red, blue, and green are added together to produce other colors for the images you see on your TV.
By using quantum dots instead of a color filter for color conversion, almost no light energy is lost. This results in a brighter screen compared to traditional OLED TV panels. And since QD-OLED panels contain self-emitting pixels, individual pixels can be dimmed for perfect black levels. With deep blacks and high brightness, QD-OLED panels can provide much better HDR performance than traditional OLED screens.
Samsung says QD-OLED displays 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 enable the screen to better combat glare and reduce exposure to harmful blue light wavelengths.
QD-OLED vs. QD-OLED. You are
Although QD-OLED displays offer some of the advantages available with OLED panels and have a somewhat similar structure, there are two main differences in how they work. First, as mentioned, QD-OLED screens use only blue OLED, which generates blue light. On the other hand, OLED TV panels contain red, green, and blue OLED materials. These materials are combined to create white light, which acts as the light source for each pixel. This is why the OLED panels used in modern TVs are also called White OLEDs.
The second difference is how QD-OLED and OLED panels convert the primary 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. These are then added to create other colors. However, this color filter is not as efficient as quantum dots, and some light energy is lost, which reduces the brightness of the panel.
While these changes will help QD-OLED screens, which will likely provide higher brightness, wider color gamut, and more realistic colors, panels will likely still be prone to burnout. It is most commonly associated with OLED panels, and since QD-OLED panels also use organic materials, they will also degrade over time and may have to deal with combustion issues.
Related: How to maintain an OLED TV to prevent burning and more
QLED vs. QD-OLED
Quantum Dot technology is not new to the TV market. It is used in QLED or Quantum Dot LED TVs from many manufacturers, including Samsung. So you can really get a wide color gamut and excellent color accuracy in QLED TVs. But it’s the OLED elements of QD-OLED panels that really separate these two types of displays.
QLED TVs are LED TVs that incorporate a layer of quantum dots. So, while it may have better color reproduction than other LED TVs, it still has the same drawbacks as other LED TVs. For example, LED TVs cannot reach the optimal black levels of OLED or QD-OLED TVs, so QLED TVs also suffer from the same weakness.
Also, depending on whether they are using a VA-type or IPS-type panel, QLED TVs can have narrow to wide viewing angles. The presence of an IPS panel significantly affects the contrast ratio.
But although QD-OLED panels will have a higher brightness than OLED panels, QLED TVs will connect QD-OLED TVs at the forefront of brightness. According to a graph shared by Samsung Display, a QD-OLED or QD display can reach peak brightness of 1,000 nits in HDR. By comparison, some QLED TVs have a peak brightness of over 1,500 nits.
Finally, unlike OLED TVs, you don’t have to worry about QLED TVs burning out.
What TVs use a QD-OLED screen?
As of late 2021, no TV manufacturers have released QD-OLED panel TVs. But Samsung is expected to announce its 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.
Aside from Samsung, Sony and TCL are also working on QD-OLED TVs but there is no word on when they will be released.