If you‘re looking to upgrade to a new high-end TV, you‘re likely considering two display technologies – OLED and QD-OLED. Both deliver amazing picture quality and performance. But what exactly sets them apart?
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain the crucial differences between OLED and QD-OLED televisions. I‘ll go over how they each work, compare picture quality, viewing experience, pricing, and more – so you can determine which is better for your needs. Let‘s dive in!
Tracing the Development History of OLED Displays
To start, it helps to understand where OLED technology originated. OLED stands for "organic light-emitting diode." Rather than requiring a backlight like LCD displays, OLED pixels directly emit their own colored light.
This enables revolutionary picture performance. But it took years to make OLED feasible for television.
1960s-1990s – Early OLED Research
OLED research began in the 1960s, with pioneering work done at Eastman Kodak on power-efficient organic electroluminescent materials. This laid the groundwork for future OLED development.
Throughout the 1970s to 1990s, efforts continued to refine OLED materials and device architectures, yielding improvements in luminance, efficiency and lifetime.
Early 2000s – First Commercial OLED Products
- In the early 2000s, OLED technology progressed to the point where commercial products could be manufactured:
- In 2002, TDK released the first OLED display in a commercial product – the VP4 electronic dictionary.
- Other portable devices with small OLED screens followed from Sony, Samsung, Motorola and others.
- But the manufacturing challenges of large OLED panels delayed OLED TV development.
2008 – OLED TVs Arrive
- Finally, in 2008, the first OLED TV entered the consumer market:
- LG introduced a 15" OLED TV priced at $2500, with only 200 produced.
- Reviews were amazed by OLED‘s:
- Perfect black levels and high contrast
- Vibrant colors
- Wide viewing angles
- Stylish, razor-thin form factor
- But mainstream adoption was hampered by OLED‘s high prices and small screen sizes at the time.
2010s – OLED TV Technology Maturing
- During the 2010s, LG invested heavily in OLED manufacturing capabilities. This expanded OLED TV screen sizes and reduced prices:
- In 2013, LG launched the first 55" OLED TV.
- By 2016, their OLED TV lineup extended to 65" and 77" models.
- Prices dropped from $10,000+ for early 55" models to under $2000 by the mid 2010s.
- Other brands like Sony, Philips and Panasonic also began offering OLED TV models, further boosting OLED‘s profile.
After major investments and refinements, OLED TVs by the late 2010s delivered outstanding picture quality at sizes and prices accessible for high-end consumer TV buyers. Next came the emergence of QD-OLED…
The Road to QD-OLED TV Commercialization
While LG pioneered OLED TVs, Samsung spearheaded development of QD-OLED displays:
Early 2000s – Quantum Dot Research
- Quantum dots are semiconductor nanocrystals that produce pure colored light. Research into their usage for displays began in the early 2000s.
- Key advantages were identified, like high color purity and tunable emission wavelengths. This made quantum dots promising for enhancing LCD TVs.
2010s – First Quantum Dot LCD TVs
- In 2015, LG released the first QD LCD TV using quantum dot film in the backlight – the EF9500.
- But quantum dot LCD backlights had limitations, unable to match OLED contrast and black levels.
2010s – Samsung Develops QD-OLED Concept
- Recognizing this limitation, Samsung researched combining quantum dots directly with self-emissive OLED tech, rather than LCD:
- In 2019, they unveiled the first QD-OLED prototype.
- It used blue OLED pixels with quantum dots creating the red and green, boosting brightness and efficiency.
- This hybrid quantum dot OLED approach aimed to merge the benefits of both technologies.
2022 – First QD-OLED TVs Launch
- After years of development, the first consumer QD-OLED TVs arrived in early 2022:
- Samsung launched their S95B series QD-OLED TVs in March 2022, in 55" and 65" sizes.
- They touted exceptional color, brightness, and contrast from this new display technology.
- The age of QD-OLED TVs had finally come, presenting an alternative high-end option to standard OLED.
QD-OLED leverages the self-emissive capabilities of OLED at higher brightness levels enabled by quantum dots – a best-of-both-worlds combination. But how exactly does QD-OLED stack up against traditional OLED? Let‘s compare.
QD-OLED vs. OLED: Side-by-Side Technology Comparison
While both utilize OLED pixels, QD-OLED and conventional RGB OLED panels have distinct designs:
|Pixel Structure||Blue OLED + Quantum Dot Layer||RGB OLED|
|Red & Green OLED||No||Yes|
|Blue Light Usage||High Efficiency||Medium Efficiency|
In QD-OLED, blue OLED light passes through a quantum dot layer. The quantum dots convert some blue to pure red and green.
OLED uses dedicated red, green and blue OLED materials to emit all colors directly. Color filters enhance the palette.
QD-OLED creates red/green through color conversion, leading to higher light efficiency and intensity compared to OLED.
So while both leverage OLED pixels, QD-OLED‘s quantum dot component makes its underlying structure fundamentally distinct from conventional RGB OLED panels.
This difference in light generation translates into divergent display performance…
QD-OLED vs. OLED TV Picture Quality Showdown
On paper the technology varies. But in real-world usage, picture quality is what matters. So how do QD-OLED and OLED TVs compare for visual performance?
Black Levels and Contrast
Here, they‘re equal. Both use self-emitting OLED pixels that can turn off completely to produce infinite blacks and contrast ratios.
Scenes with bright highlights against dark backgrounds will look stunning regardless of your OLED or QD-OLED choice.
QD-OLED wins. Quantum dots give QD-OLED TVs 60-100% higher peak brightness compared to traditional OLED.
QD-OLED can reach 1500-2000 nits for searing highlights. OLED tops out around 800 nits.
So HDR content can deliver more spectacular bright visuals on QD-OLED.
Thanks to higher luminance, QD-OLED also outperforms on color volume – the combination of color gamut and brightness.
QD-OLED produces 80-90% of the expansive BT.2020 color space. OLED lags at 70-80% BT.2020.
This wider palette at higher brightness makes QD-OLED the winner for vivid, realistic colors.
Both offer nearly 180-degree off-angle viewing without color shifting or contrast loss.
QD-OLED initially struggled a bit here but has been dramatically improved through optical film stack enhancements.
So excellent viewing angles are now a tie between OLED and QD-OLED – perfect for wide seating arrangements.
By leveraging quantum dots, QD-OLED TVs outpace OLED in brightness and color while matching their perfect contrast and viewing angles. But what about the ultimate criteria – the viewing experience?
Experiencing QD-OLED vs. OLED Picture Quality
On paper QD-OLED wins on brightness and color. But let‘s examine how it translates to real-world TV and movie watching.
On an OLED, dark cinema sequences look striking – perfect blacks accentuate highlights dramatically. But some bright scenes can lack "pop".
On a QD-OLED, those same dark scenes maintain their infinite contrast, but bright skylines, sunlight and flames burst with more realism – an extra cinematic spark.
Watching sports on an OLED delivers vibrant green fields/courts with players‘ colors popping nicely. But the picture can seem a bit dim during sunny shots.
On a QD-OLED, that added luminance takes the visuals to the next level. Arena lights, sunlight on grass, and uniforms seem closer to real life.
Animated films and nature docs look beautiful on OLED – excellent color reproduction from lush greens to bold reds/blues.
But on a QD-OLED, that expanded color volume enables some scenes to take your breath away. The added brilliance makes things like jungle foliage and coral reefs mesmerizing.
On OLED gaming monitors, visuals feel responsive and nuanced with excellent blacks. But some HDR effects don‘t quite dazzle as intended.
With QD-OLED gaming displays, lighting and special effects in HDR titles feel more natural and vivid. Explosions erupt with rich brightness and color thanks to the upgraded specs.
Across virtually all content from cinema to games, QD-OLED‘s technical capabilities give it a visual experience advantage over conventional OLED. Those quantum dots produce a noticeable, though not drastic, improvement in picture impact and immersion.
But there are some other factors to weigh…
QD-OLED vs. OLED: Additional Factors to Consider
Beyond core picture quality, here are some other elements that may affect which technology you choose:
- Both OLED and QD-OLED can experience permanent image retention and burn-in with cumulative pixel wear over time.
- However, manufacturers have developed comprehensive pixel refreshing and protection technologies to minimize risks on modern models.
- With smart precautions around static content, burn-in likelihood on both remains low for typical consumers.
Smooth Motion Handling
- Both OLED and QD-OLED deliver exceptional motion clarity with fast response times and refresh rates up to 120Hz.
- This makes fast action smooth and blur-free on both technologies – important for sports, gaming, and movies.
- With their extra quantum dot layer, QD-OLEDs currently cost $300-500 more than equally-featured OLED TVs.
- But for that premium, you‘re getting significantly boosted brightness and color. Value depends on your budget.
- OLED is available from 48 to 97 inches – ideal for small bedrooms or giant home theaters.
- QD-OLED is limited to 65, 77, and 85 inches for now. Samsung is working to expand sizes.
- OLED TV models are widely available from LG, Sony, Vizio, Philips and other major brands.
- QD-OLED is still ramping up production, with Samsung as the main maker so far. But Sony, TCL and others are joining in.
While QD-OLED wins on picture quality, OLED provides a more accessible price point along with smaller and larger screen sizes. Look at the full package to select what‘s right for you.
Now let‘s glance at the latest OLED and QD-OLED offerings and where this technology is heading next.
The Newest QD-OLED and OLED Televisions
Cutting-Edge QD-OLED TVs
Samsung S95C Series – Samsung‘s flagship 4K QD-OLED TVs for 2023. Deliver up 2000 nits peak brightness and 100% color volume. Available in 55", 65", 77", and new massive 85" screen size.
Sony A95K – Sony‘s premium QD-OLED debut, with advanced Cognitive Processor XR for optimized contrast and color. Impressive acoustic surface audio too. Available in 55" and 65".
TCL 65X925 Pro QD-OLED – TCL‘s first QD-OLED TV combines quantum dot enhancements with their affordable TV value. Could make QD-OLED tech more accessible.
Latest High-End OLED TVs
LG G3 Series – LG‘s stellar new OLED TV lineup with increased brightness up to 1000 nits. Packed with gaming features too. Multiple sizes from 55" to 97".
Sony A95K – Sony‘s top-of-the-line OLED, with XR Cognitive Processor for best-in-class clarity, contrast and color accuracy. Available in 55" and 65" models.
Vizio OLED MQX – Vizio‘s newest mid-priced OLED TVs offer terrific value with Dolby Vision HDR support. Available in more budget-friendly 55” and 65” sizes.
QD-OLED is still ramping up, but brands like Samsung, Sony, and TCL aim to make their benefits more widely accessible. OLED continues pushing performance too – with a model for every buyer.
What Does the Future Hold for Display Tech?
Brightness and Contrast Improvements
Manufacturers are targeting OLED and QD-OLED brightness up to 3000 nits through advancements like new organic compounds and panel architecture changes. This will make HDR content more stunning.
Contrast will also keep improving with black level enhancements. Expect perfectly inky blacks during dark scenes even at higher brightness.
More Screen Size Options
On the OLED side, even larger 98 and 100 inch models are in development, ideal for cavernous home theaters.
For QD-OLED, makers are working to extend beyond 85 inches for more massive display options as yields improve.
As manufacturing matures, OLED and QD-OLED costs should decrease over time. This will make both technologies more affordable and accessible to a wider consumer base.
But QD-OLED prices may take longer to fall significantly given the extra quantum dot materials production.
Both techs will see advanced compensation algorithms and pixel-shifting to minimize the chances of permanent burn-in over the TV lifespan.
Together with careful content viewing habits, this should help OLED and QD-OLED TVs last many years without burn-in woes.
OLED and QD-OLED are technologies still in their relative infancy with lots of headroom for innovation. Expect rapid improvements in brightness, size, pricing, and longevity as manufacturers refine manufacturing and protect long-term picture integrity.
The future is very bright for both self-emissive quantum dot and organic LED display technologies!
The Bottom Line – Which is Better for You?
So in the battle of QD-OLED vs. OLED, which technology reigns supreme for your next TV purchase?
QD-OLED currently delivers the pinnacle video performance – its quantum dots enable higher brightness, more vivid colors, and truly explosive HDR compared to standard OLED. If you want the absolute best picture quality available, QD-OLED is king.
But OLED TVs remain outstanding performers in their own right – their self-emissive pixels still enable stunning contrast ratios, perfect blacks, vibrant and accurate colors, and excellent motion handling. And OLED comes in more sizes at lower price points.
My recommendation? If your budget allows, splurge on a QD-OLED for an unparalleled viewing experience. But an OLED TV still provides premium performance and visuals at a more accessible price – you‘ll be amazed either way!
I hope this detailed comparison of QD-OLED vs. OLED TV technology helps you feel confident about choosing the perfect display for your needs. Let me know if any other questions come up while shopping for your dream TV. Enjoy the hunt!