Television screens have evolved, giving viewers lots of options when choosing a display that meets their needs and preferences. Advertising is full of different terminology. There is a wide selection of televisions, displays and monitors available for consumers. This makes the decision-making process complex.
A couple of these new display technologies are available to consumers in the form of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) and QLED (Quantum Dot LED) but which is best? Check out the details below comparing OLED vs QLED.
If you would like to learn more about High Dynamic Range or HDR as it is known in the industry jump over to our previous article where we go through the different formats, benefits and uses. Jump to areas of interest using the links below.
- Delving into OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes)
- Exploring QLED (Quantum Dot LED)
- OLED vs QLED: Which is Better?
- The Global Standards for Display Technology
- So which is superior?
Delving into OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes)
The distinctive feature of OLED screens is their ability to produce their own light, eliminating the need for a backlight. This feature allows OLEDs to be incredibly thin and flexible and offer a unique picture quality. Sometimes Known by the brand name Samsung QLED or called QD OLED.
Benefits of OLED panels
- True Blacks and Infinite Contrast: One of the most remarkable attributes of OLED technology is its ability to produce truly deep blacks. Since OLEDs are capable of turning off individual pixels completely tanks to the mini LED backlights, they can create a pitch-black image, resulting in an “infinite” contrast ratio. This feature provides a striking visual experience, especially in low light conditions, producing images that are vibrant and teeming with life.
- Superior Color Accuracy and Saturation: Due to their ability to control the lighting of individual pixels, OLEDs can achieve exceptional color accuracy. The separate control of each pixel allows OLED displays to reproduce highly accurate and saturated colors, thereby contributing to a much more immersive and realistic viewing experience.
- Rapid Response Times: OLED displays boast impressively fast response times, a feature that is particularly beneficial for fast-moving content. This swift change in pixel state significantly reduces motion blur and provides clearer, more fluid images, thereby enhancing the viewing experience during fast-paced sports broadcasts, high-action video games, or fast scenes in movies.
- Broad Viewing Angles: OLEDs are renowned for their superior performance when it comes to viewing angles. They are capable of maintaining consistent colors and contrast, even when viewed from sharp angles. This ensures that the quality of the image remains uncompromised, regardless of the viewer’s position relative to the screen, making OLEDs an excellent choice for group viewing scenarios.
- Thin and Sleek Design: OLEDs don’t require a backlight to function, which allows for an incredibly thin and lightweight design. This paves the way for sleek, modern, and elegant television designs that can seamlessly blend with any interior decor or can even serve as a design focal point in a room.
- Flexibility and Potential for Innovation: The inherent flexibility of OLEDs allows for innovative display designs. These displays can be curved, bent, or even made foldable, pushing the boundaries of traditional display formats. This opens up a world of exciting possibilities for futuristic designs and applications, from curved televisions and monitors to foldable phones and wearable tech.
- Energy Efficiency: On scenes where large portions of the screen are dark or black, OLEDs can be more energy-efficient than traditional LED displays. This is because each individual pixel in an OLED display only uses power when it is lit up, so darker scenes or images require less energy. This can contribute to energy savings over the lifetime of the display.
Drawbacks of OLED
However, there are a few downsides to OLED technology:
- Limited Brightness: While OLED models excel in presenting deep blacks, they often struggle with achieving high brightness levels, particularly when compared to their LED and QLED counterparts. This deficiency can sometimes lead to less vibrant images in brightly lit environments or when viewing content with a lot of bright scenes. Despite having superior contrast ratios, the lower peak brightness can slightly limit the performance of OLED displays in certain situations.
- Burn-In Risks: OLED technology is susceptible to a phenomenon known as “burn-in”. This situation arises when static images are displayed on the screen for extended periods, potentially leading to permanent damage where these images become etched into the display. For users who frequently watch channels with static logos, play video games with fixed interfaces, or use their screens as computer monitors, the risk of burn-in is a significant consideration.
- Shorter Lifespan: The organic materials employed in OLEDs are prone to degradation over time. This natural deterioration process can lead to a diminished lifespan of the display. While the rate of this degradation can be affected by various factors like brightness settings and the duration of static content displayed, it’s a fundamental limitation that users need to be aware of when considering an OLED display.
- Color Balance Shifts Over Time: Over the course of an QD OLED TVs display’s life, the different organic materials used for each color pixel (red, green, and blue) may degrade at different rates. This can potentially lead to shifts in color balance over time, with some colors becoming oversaturated or undersaturated. This change could gradually impact image quality and color accuracy.
- Costly to Produce and Purchase: Due to the complexity of manufacturing processes involved, OLED displays tend to be more expensive to produce, which often translates to higher retail prices. While prices have been coming down over time, as of my knowledge cutoff in 2021, OLED TVs tend to be more expensive than equivalent LED or QLED TVs, making them less accessible to some consumers.
- Limited Screen Sizes: As of now, OLED screens come in a more limited range of sizes than LED or QLED screens. This limitation, coupled with their higher cost, can make it more challenging for consumers to find an OLED TV that fits their specific needs and budget. However, this could change in the future as manufacturing processes improve and become more scalable.
You might also be interested in the difference between LCD TVs and LED TVs covered in our previous article.
Exploring QLED (Quantum Dot LED)
QLED is a term coined by Samsung, standing for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode. While it uses LED backlighting similar to traditional LED TVs, it employs a layer of quantum dots to enhance color and brightness for a unique picture quality.
Advantages of QLED panels
QLED TVs offer several advantages:
- Exceptional Brightness: A defining advantage of QLED technology is its ability to produce remarkably high levels of brightness. This feature allows QLED displays to excel in well-lit environments and makes them highly suitable for viewing content with bright scenes. It enhances the color volume and makes images pop, providing a stunning viewing experience in various lighting conditions.
- Vibrant Color Volume: QLED displays leverage quantum dot technology to render a vast array of colors at any level of brightness. This characteristic endows them with the capability to present images with outstanding vibrancy and color accuracy. Quantum dots essentially supercharge the color capabilities of the display, contributing to a more lifelike and immersive viewing experience.
- Robust Lifespan: One of the strong suits of QLEDs, thanks to their reliance on LED backlit technology, is their resistance to the kind of burn-in issues that can plague OLED displays. This resistance enhances the longevity of QLED displays, making them a solid investment for long-term use. Users can enjoy static content or leave on-screen elements displayed for longer periods without fear of causing permanent damage to their screens.
- Strong Resistance to Burn-In: Given the structure of QLED displays and the absence of organic materials in their construction, they are considerably less susceptible to image burn-in compared to OLEDs. This attribute makes them an ideal choice for users who frequently have static images displayed on their screens, such as gaming interfaces or news channels.
- Cost-Effective and Accessible: Compared to OLED displays, QLED TVs are generally more affordable, providing a high-quality viewing experience at a more accessible price point. This makes QLED a great option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of advanced display technology without breaking the bank.
- Variety of Screen Sizes: QLED TVs come in a wide range of sizes, from relatively small to extremely large. This variety allows users to choose the perfect display size for their specific viewing needs and spaces, offering much more flexibility than OLEDs in this regard.
- Energy Efficiency: QLEDs are generally more energy-efficient at higher brightness levels compared to OLEDs. Given their ability to produce bright images without using as much power, QLEDs can be a good choice for users conscious about energy consumption.
Disadvantages of QLED
The disadvantages of QLED include:
- Lesser Black Levels and Contrast: A significant drawback of QLED technology lies in its inability to produce absolute blacks. This is due to the use of a backlight that is always on to some degree, which leads to a certain amount of light leakage. This leakage prevents QLED TVs from achieving the same depth of black and contrast ratio as OLEDs. In darker viewing environments or while viewing content with darker scenes, this can result in less immersive and less life-like images.
- Limited Viewing Angles: Although strides have been made to improve the viewing angles of QLED TVs, they generally can’t match the wide viewing angles offered by OLEDs. When viewed from the side, QLED images may experience changes in color and contrast, reducing the overall image quality. This could be a disadvantage in scenarios where viewers are spread out across a room or for set-ups where the display is not always viewed head-on.
- Slower Response Time: QLED TVs generally don’t perform as well as OLEDs when it comes to response time. They may exhibit more motion blur during fast-action scenes, such as in sports broadcasts or action-packed video games. This is an important factor to consider for users who primarily view high-motion content.
- Bulkier Design: Due to their reliance on a backlight and the construction of the quantum dot layer, QLED TVs are typically thicker than OLED TVs. This might not fit with the preferences of consumers seeking a slim, sleek aesthetic for their display.
- Energy Consumption: While QLEDs are more energy-efficient than OLEDs at higher brightness levels, they tend to consume more power overall because the backlight is always on when the TV is in use. For consumers with a strong focus on energy efficiency, this might be a deciding factor.
- Risk of Light Blooming: Due to the backlighting used in QLED TVs, they can sometimes exhibit a phenomenon known as “light blooming,” where lighter areas on the screen may bleed into darker ones. This can impact the sharpness and contrast of the image and is more noticeable in dark viewing environments.
OLED vs QLED which is better TV tech?
The “better” TV technologies between OLED and QLED often depends on your specific needs and viewing conditions. If deep black levels, contrast ratio, and viewing angles are your priority and you mostly watch TV in a dark environment, an OLED might be the better choice for you. However, if you need a TV that can get very bright, offers vibrant color volume, and you’re worried about burn-in or intend to use it in a brightly lit room, then a QLED might be your best bet.
Ultimately, the choice between OLED and QLED will depend on your individual preferences and viewing circumstances. Both technologies have their strengths, and understanding these can help guide your decision when purchasing a new TV. Whether you value the deep blacks and infinite contrast of OLEDs, or the high brightness and vibrant color volume of QLEDs, there’s a display technology out there that’s perfect for your home entertainment needs.
The Global Standards for Display Technology
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is responsible for establishing and publishing international standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies, including display technologies like OLED and QLED. You can learn more about their work and standards on their official website.
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