Q or O: what’s the difference between QLED and OLED TVs



Which is better QLED or OLED?


Today there are two TV technologies, LCD technology, which includes QLED TVs, which is based on liquid crystals with edge or backlighting consisting of LEDs. And OLED technology, which does not need backlighting because the matrix itself is an independent light source/all eight million pixels are ultra-miniature organic LEDs. That is, first of all, it is necessary to understand that QLED and OLED are two fundamentally different technologies.

What is better QLED or OLED, many are worried about this question, almost like Shakespeare’s characters “To be or not to be … We will try to consider the pros and cons of these technologies to help readers in their final decision when choosing the “blue screen”.

QLED or OLED what is the difference


It is no secret that the battle of technology is, above all, a confrontation between two giants, such as corporations Samsung and LG. On the market there are a sufficient number of TVs with different equipment and functionality, but the main difference between OLED and QLED is still the panel itself. In the last five years, many people are interested in what is OLED and QLED technology, how do they differ and which technology is better? Let’s find out.

What is QLED


More recently, the company Samsung, for its “senior” line of TV models, used the acronym “Quantum Dot SUHD”, but since 2017 there is a new one – QLED (QD-LED). Agree, very consonant with OLED, which fits well with such a concept as marketing and thus classifies both technologies to high quality.

QLED TVs use a cadmium-free quantum dot (QD) method, exclusively developed by Samsung. The structure of quantum dots contains no organic substances and is built on nanocrystals with diameters ranging from 2 to 10 nanometers. Depending on the size of the nanocrystals, the color they glow changes. Using several nanocrystals, you can get all the colors you want. But the basic technology is the same LED backlighting, just using an additional layer/filter/film on which the QDs are placed. In addition to the LED backlighting system, which is blue rather than the standard white, there is a film with quantum dots.

The advantage of using the quantum dot method is the minimal distortion of the light structure. The essence of the technology is that the size of these dots is easy to control, and thus to achieve accurate color. The light that comes after the Quantum Dot filter has almost maximum brightness, saturation and uniform hue. For Samsung, quantum dot technology is a real boon, because creating higher-quality displays does not require serious intervention to re-equip production lines. All you need to do is to remove a couple of previously used filter layers and in their place install a layer with nano-crystal particles.

In simple terms, QLED is a more advanced form of conventional LCD technology, where standard LED backlighting is still required to produce an image. It is more correct to consider QLED quantum dot technology not as superior to OLED technology, but as a new stage in the development of LED technology on liquid crystals.

What is OLED



OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is a TV where the main functional element is the organic light emitting diodes. This technology refers to an emission type of screen, where each pixel generates its own light independently of each other (self-illuminating pixels/organic LEDs). Since LEDs themselves emit light, distributing it evenly across the entire surface of the matrix, respectively, they do not need additional backlighting. Due to the fact that the LEDs themselves emit light and do not need additional backlighting, OLED TVs are lightweight and very thin.

Thanks to the realization of this technical process, the pixel setting on OLED screens is much easier and thus the way of obtaining the image is completely different from the methods based on liquid crystals.

QLED or OLED comparison



Samsung’s LCD devices built on the Quantum Dot method use the RGB matrix structure, that is, a pixel consists of three subpixels of red (Red), green (Green) and blue (Blue) colors. In other words, inside each of the three thousand eight hundred and forty pixels that make up one line, in a typical UHD LCD TV with RGB spectrum there are red, green and blue subpixels (3840 x 3 = 11,520 in total). They combine in a variety of ways to create the entire color gamut we see when watching content.

In OLED panels RGB-pixels were added with white W (White) subpixel, and matrix with WRGB structure was formed. That is, on OLED TVs, one pixel consists of four subpixels.



No division of the white subpixel in Organic Light Emittin Diode between adjacent pixels, hence, all color is accurate. WRGB OLED has a full 3840 pixels (15360 subpixels), the subpixels are smaller and closer together.

Why this is done, there are several explanations. One of them is that such a solution makes it possible to achieve a richer, more accurate and realistic representation of halftones, as well as various color tones. Allows you to transmit the maximum number of colors and increase brightness, and a bonus to all this is lower power consumption than other competitive technologies. And it also allows you to save on panel production.

Contrast, blacks and viewing angles



Black levels and contrast create a visual perception of brighter colors due to the way the human eye perceives tones. OLED screens are more productive in achieving maximum contrast and deeper blacks, which leads to a high-quality picture in general – the picture looks more three-dimensional. This happens due to the peculiarities of the technology. OLEDs are TVs that can adjust the brightness of each of their pixels individually, including completely turning them off, which allows for infinite contrast and “pure” black.

QLED, as we said, refers to LCD technology and is built on a VA (Vertical Alignment) matrix. The main job of which is to pass the LED backlight through pixel blocks and color filters to form an image on the TV. Therefore, in LCD, it is impossible to get black and contrast at the level of OLED, because of the LEDs constantly shining through the matrix. In simple words, the crystals block out the light, but the backlight continues to work. The light falls on the “black” pixels, making the dark image faint.

With super contrast and full black, OLEDs also have the widest viewing angles. QLED panels have high enough contrast for LEDs, but lose image quality at viewing angles. Unfortunately, in liquid crystal technology one excludes the other.

In this category, OLED is the clear leader.

Color Space and Peak Brightness


The biggest improvement that can be seen in the quantum dot technique is the improvement in color reproduction. Samsung has made great strides in achieving a wider color gamut with its proprietary Quantum Dot technology. However, this does not mean that in the matter of color rendering OLED is significantly inferior, the difference is very small and we can say that Organic Light Emitting Diode is practically on the heels, that is, many users practically this difference, to the eye, do not distinguish.

As for maximum brightness levels, in this matter, if you look strictly at measurements from popular resources, the advantage of LCD QD TVs at first glance seems more obvious, but this is not entirely true. Despite the fact that OLEDs can not achieve the same peak brightness on test slides, in reality, on real content (especially when watching movies) readings are quite commensurate on both technologies. In this matter, QD-LED has only one advantage, it, unlike OLED, has no automatic brightness limiter (ABL), that is, in bright scenes on a larger screen area it does not dim as it does on the organic screen.

Therefore, the advantage in this category is on the side of QLED.

Pros and cons of OLED


The matrix itself is an independent light source (8 million controllable zones)
Lightweight and thin
Unlimited contrast and more accurate blacks
Significantly shorter panel response time (0.001 ms. Due to the nature of light and color of organic LEDs, pixels change colors almost instantaneously)
Wide viewing angle. You can look at the display from any angle without losing quality
Uniformity of the screen on black (if you darken the entire screen with black, you won’t see the lighter areas, which is especially noticeable in the dark)

Only available in three screen sizes: 55, 65 and 77 inches
OI (residual image) risk
Muted brightness on large screen areas

Pros and cons of QLED


Brighter (can reach 2,000 nits at peak brightness)
Variety of screen sizes (from 49″ to 88″)
Wide color range due to nano-particles
Availability of settings in game modes


What is better than OLED or QLED, the question today remains open. At one time there were heated debates on the choice between Plasma and LCD, and the unequivocal answer to this question was not obtained.

It remains to note one thing, OLED and QLED are used only in top-end and high-end models of TVs, equipped with full functionality, which is available at the present time. But, the desire for the best has spurred many of the world’s leading manufacturers of home screen brands such as Sony, Panasonic and many others to work closely with LG to produce devices on Organic Light Emitting Diode (at the time of writing, LG is the only one producing TV panels with OLED technology).

There are also rumors that Samsung has not abandoned the idea of releasing its OLED TVs on quantum dots. Honestly, I really want to see these rumors come true.

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