What is QLED?

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QLED TVs are different from OLED models in several ways

“QLED” is a marketing label that refers to a specific type of ultra-high definition television screen that Samsung and a few other companies (TCL and Hisense) produce. The “Q” in the name refers to the quantum dot technology that displays use to create color alongside LCDs. The more general term for QLEDs is “Quantum dot displays”, which are of two types: photo-emissive (or photoluminescent) and electro-emissive (or electroluminescent). Consumer QLED TVs are all photo-emissive displays that exist in direct competition with OLED TVs, which produce the same resolutions but operate differently.

Here’s what you need to know about QLED displays.

What are quantum dots?

The main difference between QLED displays and their competitors is the use of “quantum dots” by the former. Quantum dots are conductive microscopic crystals. When light passes through a quantum dot (for example, the LED backlight of a TV), they emit different wavelengths of light depending on their size.

QLED displays use a quantum dot “film” on the back of the TV to create a more saturated range of colors than on other displays. These screens can also produce brighter images without loss of saturation.

QLED TV resolutions

Most QLED displays are ultra-high definition, which means they are available in 4K and 8K resolutions. You can still find cheaper devices that use the older 1080p HD standard, but these are rarer. If you’re taking the plunge on a QLED screen, you might as well go for the highest resolution.

Pros and Cons of QLED TVs

Besides richer colors, QLED TVs generally cost less than similar-sized OLED displays. They also work best in bright rooms.

QLEDs have two drawbacks – they can’t display deep blacks, and bright colors require you to sit close enough to the screen.

The darker areas of the screen might not be as impressive because, despite the cool quantum dots, they both use LED backlighting and LCD circuitry. These LCD circuits are always on so they can produce a wide range of colors, but make the darker areas less dark.

These brilliant colors demand that your head be in full view of the screen. In fact, if you are sitting a few tens of degrees from the center, you will probably notice a difference in the image. For comparison, some OLED displays can maintain ideal picture quality up to nearly 50 degrees from the center.

Photo-emissive and electro-emissive displays

All of the QLED TVs you’ll see in a store today are ‘photo-emissive’ type, which means quantum dots release energy (in this case, in the form of colors) after being exposed to light. In electro-emissive screens, the dots emit light in the presence of electricity.

Electro-emissive screens offer better control of the image since they allow individual control of each pixel. Although “real” quantum dot displays are not yet available at the consumer level, displays that use them are said to be thinner and more versatile than current photoluminescent options.


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