Spring 2017 will see Samsung launch its new so-called QLED TV series — the Q9, Q8, and Q7 Series — which are armed with metal quantum dots, better viewing angles and deeper black levels. They are still the only TVs that can show 100\% colour volume and are up to twice as bright as Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TVs using a peak brightness of 1,500 to 2,000 nits.
However, it seems like each year, TV manufacturers make the claim that previous year’s TVs were normally OK, but this year’s TVs will be the best thing ever made.
Here’s what we would like to know: Why is this a ‘significant paradigm shift in the visual display industry’, according to Samsung’s President of the Visual Screen Company, HyunSuk Kim, or simply Samsung’s attempt to wrest back some momentum since Sony embraced OLED TVs?
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Review, can Samsung stand alone in breathing new life into ageing LCD TV tech? Let us explore the TV tech jointly.
What is QLED?
Literally QLED signifies — or we suppose it means — quantum scatter light-emitting diode (QLED, not to be mistaken with OLED TVs), but this Samsung-baked notion is basically only the latest set of improvements to the identical quantum dot technology that the company has been operating on for the last couple of years.
Technically speaking, Samsung’s QLED TVs are not QLED in any way, well, at least in the manner that we understand the expression. A ‘proper’ quantum light-emitting diode element emits its own light — the clue is in the name — whereas Samsung’s latest TVs use a separate LCD backlight (and an edge-lit backlight, at that) just like any other LED-LCD TV. So in which the QLED moniker comes from, we’re unsure.
How Can a QLED TV work?
It’s complicated, but hang in there with us. So, to start, all QLED TVs have a quantum dot filter. This season, there’s a new elegant aluminium compound which help make the dots more efficient (and so brighter) and more effective at passing pass light throughout, which generates wider and more precise colour.
So what is a quantum dot filter exactly? It’s a film of tiny crystal semi-conductor particles that can be exactly controlled for their color output, which substitute the red, green and blue colour filters that old TVs used.
Samsung states its QLED TVs use the filters to show 100\% coverage of this DCI/P3 color space (see much deeper black levels and glossy HDR), and maintain functionality whatever the brightness.
Contemplating 1000 nits is needed to produce HDR, that is proper bright, although exactly how anyone can stand the warmth of 2000 nits, we’re not sure. Tired, anybody?
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review, Samsung claims that the new QLED TVs have a newly designed pixel panel structure to allow better off-axis viewing. For a living room environment, that could be QLED’s huge selling point.
QLED vs LED
Beyond the ‘paradigm shift’ hyperbole of Samsung’s marketing, it’s really important to understand that QLED isn’t really anything new at all. In fact, it’s really nothing more than the newest — maybe one of the past technically possible — tweaks to existing LED-LCD technology that’s dominated bigscreen TVs for the last decade.
QLED’s innovations — deeper blacks, better colors and wider viewing angles — handle three traditional problems of LED and LCD technologies, but they are the very same problems that are addressed year in, year out by TV makers. Only upcoming reviews will reveal if, in fact, QLED is a significant step forward from traditional LED-LCD screens — but chances are good that we’ll see some real improvements in these areas with Samsung’s new sets.
QLED vs OLED
Perhaps a more important comparison is QLED vs OLED. The latter uses pixels that emit their own light, but OLED displays are manufactured only by Samsung’s arch-rival LG, and now used by Sony, Philips and Panasonic, too.
There is no doubt that QLED, for now, has an advantage concerning brightness (so in theory may better handle HDR content — though might just as readily overcook it, but if you’re looking for a ‘paradigm shift’ in picture quality and the next-gen display technology, OLED is still the frontrunner. The latter utilizes individually lit pixels to achieve much better contrast ratio and wealthier blacks which LED-LCD will never be able to hit quantum dot filter or not any.
What happened to SUHD?
QLED and SUHD are essentially the same thing; the new messaging is more about marketing than technology, although the leap from 1000 nits about the top-end SUHD TVs to 1,500 to 2,000 nits on the flagship QLED TVs is more revolutionary than it sounds in the beginning. Quite simply, to get a purchasing public still getting to grips with what UHD is, SUHD simply proved overly confusing, so Samsung has dropped it. (It also probably didn’t help that the ‘S’ in SUHD didn’t really mean anything … although we’re not convinced that QLED is much clearer.)
Samsung’s QLED TV line-up to get 2017
There are just three QLED Series for 2017 — astonishingly all edge-lit neighborhood dimming LED, maybe not full array LED — the flagship Q9, Q8 and Q7.
Details are scant so far, but we do know that the Q9 comes in a 65-inch size with a flat screen, which is rather odd considering Samsung’s flagship TVs have typically been curved for the past few years.
The Q8 Series, meanwhile, was shown-off in the CES 2017 at 55, 65 and 75-inch sizes, all with curved displays and edge-lit local dimming backlights.
Both the Q9 and Q8 models will also have an ‘invisible connection’ cable which links the display to a hub which stores the HDMI slots. A bigger contribution to the ‘clutter-free’ concept behind the QLED TVs’ design are the easel-style Studio Stand and small swivel-base Gravity Stand.
Should I buy a QLED TV?
Samsung’s QLED TVs are claimed to be about the brightest possible, most accurate coloured pictures pictures, which consequently work with all sorts of content in all types of lighting conditions. Although we can’t yet confirm Samsung’s claims that its QLED TVs are the brightest and best around — our upcoming reviews will confirm or deny that — they do appear to be as much about design and flexibility of installation as about picture quality.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review, but whether you should purchase a QLED TV will ultimately come down to price. And here comes the crux of the matter; will QLED TVs be more economical than OLED TVs? They may need to be to stand a chance, but is Samsung really going to make itself a cut-price brand? We seriously doubt it. Expect oodles of advertisements which make QLED look a better option compared to OLED, though whether it is or not, only time will tell.