Are all TVs created equal?


The Consumer TV screen market is always changing and improving: resolution; colour depth; smarts. But recently there’s been some major technical changes in the way some of these screens are built. Their technology is fundamentally different and offers some very exciting opportunities, however like any technology change there are some considerations.

Recently though OLED & QLED have become the market buzzwords,
though they sound similar – the technology is quite different.

Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode (QLED) technology

Quantum dots are small, measuring at 1/10,000th of a hair and convert light from a high wavelength, like blue or UV to lower wavelengths like green and red. Manufacturers like Samsung have been deploying Quantum Dots within the LED backlight array of an LCD screen to form the QLED product. This improves the colour saturation of a display as the QLED can adjust the backlight colour to suit the majority of colours the LCD is trying to display. In doing so, this improves the perception of colour on the screen.

This makes QLED very useful for discrete colour control however, they are still ‘driven’ or energised by an LED. So, this does little to address the limitations mentioned above of depth and contrast in the end product.

Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) technology

OLED is actually a different technology to the QLED and LCD. OLED are very small LEDs made from different organic compounds giving them each a discrete and distinctive colour. The OLEDs are then attached directly to the surface of the screen and like a traditional LED, they emit light when energised. As such, theses screens are “self-emissive” and are able to turn completely off.  As a result they can provide better “blacks” and thus a higher contrast than LCD and QLED.

In addition, without the requirement for a backlight the screens can be amazingly thin and somewhat flexible, which has some amazing prospects.

However, despite all these benefits OLED is still in its infancy and whilst it is effectively used in many phones, tablets and laptops it is difficult to manufacture in larger screen sizes.

Recent larger screen sizes, such as televisions and LCD monitors has been reported to have issues with “burn in”. Finally the maximum brightness of an OLED is far below a QLED or LCD, which is not a big issue for home applications but can be extremely important for commercial applications

But which is better for your purpose?

There is no better, only different. Both technologies have their own benefits. In a home environment like a darkened room or for people who watch lots of movies or gaming OLED will really provide that “Cinema experience”.  But in a brighter room and for people prefer to watch sport, with bright uniform and pitch colours, QLED will generally perform better.

In a commercial environment OLED is not very appropriate at present. The first reason is due to the ‘burn in’ affect, where a logo or image may be displayed often and could create a permanent ghosting on the screen. The second reason is the maximum brightness of the screen is considerably less than LCD technology.

So dependent on what you are planning to use the screen for should inform which technology you choose.  However, like most of our technologies the mass smart phone market is driving development and many of these devices already use a version of OLED.