What Exactly Is Samsung QLED Technology?

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What Exactly Is Samsung QLED Technology?


A picture of Samsung QLED technology

Here’s an interesting topic that I felt would be worth talking about today; what exactly is Samsung QLED Technology? Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, then you’ll know that Samsung is now one of the biggest innovators in.. well come to think of it, just about everything actually!

In what seems like the blink of an eye, this once small South Korean company has managed to become a household name across the globe. From appliances to smartphones, they seem to be able to do it all. Even when it comes to televisions, their reputation certainly precedes them.

Whether it be introducing the world’s first bezel-less curved TV, or winning over 100 awards in a awards single show, they’re no strangers to breaking the mold. So wouldn’t you know it, they’re back again with something new; QLED.

Besides the funny name choice, this new tech promises to revolutionize the way we watch TV. How though exactly? Let’s find out.

 

What’s With The Name?


QLED is actually an acronym, and stands for quantum dot light emitting diode. (Woah!) I know. But it’s actually not as complicated as it sounds. The quantum dot part of it stems from Samsung’s own quantum dot technology from a few years back (meaning that it’s just technically the next iteration of this) and that last part is just a fancier way of saying LED. So this is still an LED TV; just a really souped up version.

 

But What Is A Quantum Dot?


A picture of a quantum dot.

I know by now you’re probably wondering what a quantum dot even is, so bear with me. To put it simply, think of these as extremely tiny particles each capable of producing light. How small? Try 2-10 nanometers. To put that into perspective, that’s about the equivalent of 50 atoms in total. However this small size is what gives them a distinct advantage; accuracy.

You see, in most televisions today, there are white LEDs that while bright, have trouble producing adequate saturated colors. Quantum dots on the other hand utilize blue LEDs by transmuting the light they emit into their own, depending on their size. The bigger the dot, the redder it’ll appear. The smaller the dot, the bluer it’ll appear.

This variation in size at essentially the microscopic level is what allows quantum dot displays to be more colorful, brighter, and more accurate.

 

QLED Has Actually Been Around Since 2014


A picture of QLEDS being created

So if these have been around for years, why is it being touted as new? Well because it is…in a way. It’s technically been around since about 2014, but was originally scrapped a little while later in lieu of working on other display technologies.

However in 2017, they resumed working on it again because they felt the current generation of TVs still had limitations.

Here’s the interesting thing though; QLED isn’t really QLED, at least the version that Samsung claims. An actual QLED would give off its own light from each individual dot (hence the light emitting diode part) It doesn’t do that. Instead with this version, they manipulate the light from the backlight by placing the dots in front of it.

This distinction is important to note because we’re still a ways off from that. The closest thing to this would be micro led, but that’s another topic for a different day. Point is, this is Samsung’s 3rd version of it’s signature series that manages to bring with it some pretty important changes. To appreciate those changes though, we would first need to understand how it works.

 

How Does QLED Work?


A picture of a blue quantum dot

Alright, how’s it work? Well remember that little tidbit earlier about quantum dots with how they change color depending on their respective size? That’s exactly how. They’re placed so closely together that they create a film that subsequently goes in front of the backlight panel. This film is what dictates how the image looks depending on which dots are active.

Only this time, each particle has also a new, thinner, aluminum interior and exterior that allows for more light to pass through. This increase is what allows the screen to be brighter, as well as more colorful (understatement of the year) In fact, it’s able to display so many colors that it covers 100 percent of the DCI/P3 color spectrum; that’s over a billion for the unaware.

A picture of the color spectrum.

In other words, it’s able to display every color that the human eye can possibly see, becoming the first display technology capable of doing so. Quite impressive to say the least.

 

What Are The Advantages?


By now you’re probably thinking there has to be some pretty large benefits here, and you’d certainly be right. The first thing QLED allows for is a higher saturation. This is due to the fact it can cover the entire color spectrum with ease. To put the significance of that into perspective, even the best TVs today only manage to get into the 90s range. So this basically outperforms the best out there in that regard, allowing for images that are dramatically more vivid and intense.

A picture of a color palette.

But what good is a more colorful image if it isn’t accurate? Which is why the next advantage ties in with the previously mentioned one, in the form of better accuracy. Better color accuracy equates to a more lifelike image, and the benefit of that is pretty obvious. You get scenes that look exactly how they would in person, which further adds to the immersion.

The next advantage is one that’s two fold. First off, QLED allows TVs to get much brighter than they could previously, reaching a peak brightness of up to 2000 nits. Think of nits as units of luminance; meaning the higher the number, the brighter the image. For HDR, another prominent display technology, at least 1000 nits is required to be shown properly. So with just about double that, HDR content will look downright amazing.

It doesn’t stop there either, as not only is it able to get brighter, but it’s able to retain color accuracy at a higher brightness as well; a hard task to do for most other television sets. Yet another plus for QLED (there’s a lot) is that because of the way it’s structured inside, it gives viewers much better viewing angles as well. That’s huge.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but if you try and look at your TV from the side, you’ll see that the picture quality fades the more off center you go. This can sometimes make it hard to see certain details. That’s no longer the case here, meaning you don’t have to sit directly dead center in front of the TV to get the best picture. That also means the people watching with you off to the sides a better image as well; so it’s really a win win.

 

What Are The Disadvantages?


However like most things in life, the good tends to comes with the bad. At least in this case though there aren’t too many drawbacks. To be frank, there’s really only one that immediately springs to mind, and that has to do with the very structure of the TV itself.

Given the fact that it still relies on a backlight (albeit a much improved one) black levels will still fall ever so slightly behind something like say OLED, where individual pixels themselves produce light. Actually, that perfectly segues into the next question…

 

QLED Versus OLED


A picture of an image from an OLED TV

If you don’t know, OLED is the other competing display format that’s been around for quite some time now. It’s major draw is that it doesn’t rely on a backlight at all; instead opting for each pixel to have the ability to shut itself off completely.

The result of that speaks for itself, with black levels that are essentially infinite. It’s also able to provide for more saturated colors as well, making the image look nothing short of breath taking. So with that, Is QLED better than OLED? Well both yes and no. It depends on how you look at it.

Truthfully, speaking from experience of having seen both of these in action (and even side by side at that) OLED still edged out Samsung’s quantum dot technology ever so slightly. Now I say ever so slightly because it was the first time I’ve ever seen a backlit display coming that close to matching OLED. If you weren’t comparing them side by side though, I’d venture to say that you’d be hard pressed to notice any difference at all, all things considered.

A picture of a colorful sunset on an QLED TV

That’s an amazing feat in of itself. But what’s particularly surprising is that QLED does manage to offer a better as a whole due to some pretty big advantages. For one, it’s able to get much brighter than an OLED, which is especially important for HDR content. This coupled with it’s incredible black level provides for a much more dynamic looking image comparatively.

Another benefit has to do with color accuracy. In extremely bright scenes, OLEDs tend to skew in the way of color accuracy, meaning the image becomes less true to life the brighter you go. With QLED, not only can it go brighter, but it can maintain that composure even in the most vivid of scenes.

That’s not even to mention it can display 100 percent of the entire color spectrum, something OLED can’t do. QLED TVs also have a distinct advantage over the competition in the form of longevity.

A movie playing on a QLED TV

(Credit: William Murphy)

Given the fact that OLED displays use special chemicals that react to electricity opposed to a dedicated backlight, over time these chemicals burn off causing the picture to become distorted; effectively shortening the screen’s lifespan.

QLED doesn’t have that issue since it’s still technically an LED TV. That means you won’t have to worry about this one crapping out on you any time soon. Yet another benefit is that burn in doesn’t occur.

Burn in is an issue where an image essentially gets burned into the display that becomes visible during any viewing material. This is most common with things like logos in the corner or dark text on a lighter background. OLEDs can potentially run the risk of having this due to the way they’re designed. Now mind you, the threat has been greatly mitigated in recent years due to advancements, but there is still that slight chance.

In any case, it’s just nice to know that manufactures are tackling this issue head on, and coming out with displays that don’t really have to worry about this. I also noticed that the OLED did happen to have a slightly better viewing angle as well, so that’s something else to think about. Also because of their lack of a backlight, they provide less energy consumption too.

So for the original question as to which is better, you can see that it really depends. OLED for better black levels, QLED for better colors and brightness.

 

Is it Better Than Their SUHD Range TVs?


To put it simply, yes, QLED is definitely an improvement over their previous flagship range SUHD TVs. They are able to get brighter while remaining more colorful, providing for a better presentation overall. No doubt about it though, Samsung is the king when it comes to unique names. The UHD part stands for Ultra High Definition, and the S stands for superb (not Samsung surprisingly).

So when you put it together, it stands for Superb Ultra High Definition (which sounds like a video game combo from Tekken honestly) It also stands for 8 other things including smart, special, and striking. The point is, the switch from SUHD to the “quantum dot” is more of a marketing buzzword if anything, with the difference between them being a simple upgrade on their already existent tech.

 

What Is The Best QLED TV?


Winner: Samsung Electronics QN55Q7F 55-Inch

If you were curious on which one I would personally recommend, it’d have to be this one. The QN55Q7F really is amazing. Besides offering everything you’d expect from a high end TV like 4K, HDR, etc. It utilizes the awesome quantum dot technology we talked about earlier that really makes things look incredible.

This is the kind of TV where you’ll find yourself watching shows you aren’t even interested in just to see what it looks like (I know this was the case for me) Oh yeah and it’s completely bezel-less so it’s just all screen when you’re watching it. It really is breath taking honestly.

Samsung Electronics QN55Q7F 55-Inch

 

Final Thoughts


Hopefully this helps in the way of actually understanding Samsung’s QLED technology. Having personally seen it myself up close, it really is nothing short of mind blowing. It’s one of those things where you really have to see it to believe it (and even then you likely still wont) It’s seriously that good.

Even though it’s likely that most people haven’t heard of it now, that’s likely to change in the upcoming year as I could definitely see this picking up steam. But that’s all I got. What do you think? Will it become the next big thing? Let me know down in the comments below! Until next time, make it easy, keep it simple. 😉

 

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12 Comments so far:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. I had, of course, heard of Samsung, but I had no idea how advanced they are in this area. I will be watching for them as time goes on for sure!

  2. Thank you Jas for your in-depth review of the Samsung QLED Technology and how it compares to OLED and the SUHD Technology.

    The Samsung Electronics 55 Inch QLED sounds like the way to go for me and anyone else who loves Vibrant colors.

    You say that the OLED has no backlight and is only slightly better quality than the QLED, what is the cost difference?

    Easy Home Theatre is now my go to website to find information on all things dealing with home theatre equipment, thank you for sharing your expertise.

    Tony

    • First off appreciate that man, means a lot 🙂 And that really depends on the size, but I’d say they’re pretty comparable honestly.

  3. Wow that’s a ton of techno for a television. I have to admit technology has come a long way since the tube tv’s. I don’t watch a whole lot of it but for tv enthusiast this is a must read if you’re into viewing on the best platform possible.

  4. Great article, I had never heard about QLED technology before, so thanks for explaining what it is. The range of colors it covers is amazing! I have to find one and test the difference. I’m currently in Chile right now, do you think there are some here?

    • It truly is impressive to say the least. But I’ll be honest I looked and couldn’t find anything out, but amazon does deliver to Latin America so if anything, you could still do it that way. As far as general electronics stores there, I genuinely have no idea sorry man. :/

  5. Whoa! That was a lot to take in! sounds like you know your stuff! Thank you Jas! I have a site that has electronics and other things. I was doing research to add a blog (not so detailed), so I could outline some of the best TV’s out to make their choice easier. With this article It definitely clears things up! Perhaps you would be willing to let me put a link in my blog to this page so people can get a more in depth look at the Samsung QLED Technology and how it compares to OLED and the SUHD Technology. I do more marketing than blogging lol I gave you a follow so I can stay up to date and refer people to you if they have any home theater questions.

    • Yeah it’s an interesting subject but I’m glad you found it useful. And sure, the more people who understand it the better in my opinion.

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