Before buying any electrical equipment, I always like to research the subject and product thoroughly to help me make an informed decision.
This isn’t just a simple QLED vs. OLED TV system review—it’s a much broader subject because:
- This is the first ‘Smart’ TV we’ve had. So there is our experience of how it automatically linked all our home entertainment devices together seamlessly, and synchronised the whole system to work together; including the remotes.
- It’s the first TV (although not first home entertainment device) we’ve had with Internet access. So it’s changed our viewing habits because accessing them through the TV rather than through the other devices is a lot easier and quicker.
- In addition to its own remote, the TV also came with a smart universal remote, which has dramatically enhanced the ease of use of the whole system.
- Linking our new TV to our home theatre system for better quality sound, when we already have two devices linked to the sound system, proved a little challenging.
On the last point, the home theatre system only has two optical audio inputs, which wasn’t an issue previously because our last TV didn’t have Internet access and the Freeview channels are included in the cable TV box anyway. So previously, we didn’t connect our TV to the audio system for best quality sound, because we got that through the cable TV box and the Blu-ray player which also has Internet access.
However, because our new TV is a smart TV with Internet access and comes with a universal remote that links everything together for easy access, it’s now a lot easier and quicker to access streaming video from the TV than the cable TV box or Blu-ray player.
Therefore, I had a great desire to hook up our new TV (as a third device) on our home theatre cinema system. This way we could have full Dolby Digital 7:1 surround sound, rather than just using the TV’s speakers.
This article covers:
- Why we chose a QLED, rather than an OLED TV.
- How we like to use our QLED television and its universal remote in relation to our other home entertainment devices.
- How I resolved the optical digital audio issue to get all our devices linked to our sound system.
What Is QLED TV and How Does It Differ From OLED TV?
In simple terms, without getting too technical:
- A QLED TV is essentially an LED TV that uses quantum dots for its display; nanocrystal semiconductors that produces pure red, green and blue light.
- An OLED TV is essentially an LED TV that uses an organic (carbon based) light-emitting diode which (unlike LED screens) works without the need of a backlight.
- An LED screen uses light-emitting diodes e.g. a semiconductor light source that emits light when a current flows through it.
The video below summarises these points quite succinctly.
LED vs. QLED vs. OLED
Why We Needed to Buy a New TV
It wasn’t through choice—because we loved our old plasma TV. It was because the TV was coming to the end of its life (e.g. the plasma was rapidly breaking down so that we ended up with large cloudy patches spreading across the screen).
Why We Opted for a QLED TV
Having grew up during the height of the analogue era, the hi-fi and coloured CRT TVs at their best, and since the advent of digital seen the quality of audio and video display deteriorate e.g. MP3 music files and LED screens; I’ve become a bit of a purist.
People might think of digital as being superior to analogue, but analogue is a smooth line e.g. a sound wave (and potentially high quality); whereas digital is the sound or image being represented by millions of dots (pixels); the more pixels per inch the higher the quality.
I remember the days of LPs (Long Playing Records), and CDs (which although digital) is a good representation of LPs e.g. WAV (Wave) files; although when I listen to the two media formats I can tell the difference, and (apart from the odd crackle) I prefer the pure sound of the LP. However, the MP3 files are not music files, they are highly compressed data files with the high and low frequencies cut; thus a tenth of the file size of a wav file, but a distinctive loss in quality.
Likewise, although the old analogue CRT TVs were bulky (because of the tube) and limited in size to 32 inch, in my view the digital LED screens are not a patch on the CRT screens; they lack the brightness, contrast, true blacks, and fast moving objects are blurred on an LED screen, in contrast to being smooth on a CRT screen.
When we had to replace our old 32 inch CRT TV we opted for a 50 inch Plasma TV. Not quite as good as our old CRT TV in many ways, but it wasn’t too bad, and most certainly it was a lot better than the LEDs.
However, when we recently needed to replace our old Plasma screen we couldn’t buy another one because they are no longer manufactured; and we certainly didn’t want to make a retrograde step by buying a LED TV.
Therefore, the only option for us was between QLED or OLED. QLED is being pioneered by Samsung, while LG is the foremost manufacturer developing the OLED technology. Only as recently as just a couple of years ago the OLED was the leading technology in high quality TV, but Samsung are making some advancements in their QLED technology; so that currently there is little difference between the two, and the final choice has to be a personal preference.
The Deciding Factors
At this precise moment there isn’t a great deal of difference between QLED and OLED, but I have faith that Samsung will be on the verge of some major breakthroughs in their QLED technology within the next few years.
However, for now the defining factors that led us to opt for a QLED included:-
- A more natural colour.
- Almost eliminated the problem of fast motion blur on digital screens.
- The ‘One Connect’ box; that avoids having to plug everything into the back of the TV.
- Superb stand design with their new models.
- Great vertical clearance under the TV; which makes ideal storage space for various devices, and Blu-ray box sets that you're currently watching.
Having spent a lot of time researching for a replacement TV I found this video below summarises the comparison between QLED and OLED extremely well.
Samsung Q90 4K QLED TV vs. LG C9 OLED TV
Summary of Pros & Cons
I’ll not give a full review because the above video does a far better job than I ever could. However, having recently bought one our overall view is that it’s an excellent TV that does far more than we need; some of the main pros and cons are:-
In addition to the deciding factors mentioned above, that swayed us into choosing a QLED over an OLED, other positive aspect of the TV includes:
- Smart TV
- Internet TV
- Easy set-up and use
- Integrates itself with the other home entertainment devices
- Comes with its own universal remote that gives basic control of all the devices
For the UK market only, it also comes with Freeview built-in, which is standard on all TV’s sold in Britain.
From my perspective there are only a couple of minor cons:
- No analogue connections to the TV, and
- As with all TVs, the sound quality from the TV’s speakers (although respectable) isn’t brilliant.
With respect to the former it means you can’t connect the TV to older equipment that doesn’t have IDMI outlets, such as the Wii, without buying adaptors; and neither can you use analogue audio cables to connect the TV to a sound system.
I appreciate this section below is specific to the UK, and the availability of services will differ in the USA and other counties; but the way in which our new TV, along with its universal remote, presents the different viewing options, has had a profound effect on the way we now use our TV and associated devices in relation to those services.
In the UK the available viewing options on or through a modern TV are:-
- Freeview: Terrestrial TV receiver built into all TVs sold in the UK; a free service offering 85 TV channels (including 15 in HD).
- Cable TV: Virgin Media; subscription TV service offering up to 301 TV channels (many in HD and some in 4K), including Sky Movies and most of the Sky channels, plus all the Freeview channels.
- Satellite TV: Sky TV; subscription TV service that’s almost identical to Cable TV in the channels available.
- Internet TV: Paid subscriptions streaming video service on demand e.g. Netflix.
- BBC iPlayer: catch up on demand service; Free Internet based services available to UK residence e.g. option to re-watch BBC TV programmes recently aired on TV.
- Other Internet based catch up on demand services (similar to iPlayer) provided by other TV channels e.g. ITV, C4 & C5.
- Home streaming e.g. view media content (music, videos and pictures) from your PC on your TV via your home network (Intranet).
- DVD & Blu-ray players
- Set top boxes internal hard drives e.g. the cable and satellite boxes. We have the Virgin Media TiVo cable TV set top box, with a 1 terabyte hard drive, which has been enhanced by TiVo for Virgin Media to include six in-built receivers, so we can record six programmes simultaneously, while watching a seventh that was previously recorded to its hard drive.
Although our old Plasma TV had Freeview (as standard) it didn’t connect to the Internet and it was only connected to our surround sound system via analogue cables, so although it used the surround sound speakers the quality was never as good as true digital Dolby that we could get from using our cable TV box or Blu-ray player. Therefore as all the TV channels that are available on Freeview are also included with cable TV we never used the TV as the viewing source.
However, both our cable TV box and Blu-ray player connects to the Internet so we used those to view streaming video as appreciate e.g. YouTube, iPlayer etc., plus our Blu-ray player connects to our PC allowing us to watch media content from the PC whenever we wanted.
Universal Remote That Came With the QLED
When I first switched on our new QLED TV it automatically searched for and set up all our other devices, synchronising them with itself and the universal remote that came with the TV; and put pictograms of each device in the TV’s menu bar at the bottom of the screen, along with pictograms for all the other Internet based services listed above.
Therefore, when we turn the TV on in the morning it also automatically turns on the surround sound system and the Virgin Media cable TV box at the same time.
Likewise, when we use the universal remote to turn the TV off, the TV automatically turns the sound system off.
Also, the TV has set itself up in such a way that regardless to which device we’re using, the volume control on all our existing remotes work; so it helps in making the use of all our remotes more seamless.
Then if we want to watch from a different device e.g. the Blu-ray player, or use an Internet based service such as YouTube, iPlayer or Netflix etc., it doesn’t matter which device or service we’re using, all we need do is just press the OK key on the universal remote to bring up the TV’s menu bar and select the device or service we want; which is a lot easier and quicker than navigating through all the menus on the cable box to get to the YouTube or iPlayer app etc.
Therefore, using the TV, and its universal remote, to navigate the different media devices and services, is easy; except initially watching YouTube or some other Internet base service from the TV (rather than from the cable TV box) was less desirable because our sound system only has two optical audio links, and I was using those for our cable box and Blu-ray player. Therefore, when using the TV itself we were restricted to using just the TV speakers.
The Audio System and Its Remotes
The only down side, or so we thought at the time, with our new TV is that we couldn’t link it to our sound system for full 7:1 Digital Dolby because I’d already had our cable TV box and Blu-ray player plugged into it via the two optical audio links; albeit the TV is connected to the sound system via an HIDM cable.
Therefore, determined not to be deterred, because I was keen to be able to start using the TV for all the services it offered (with ease of use) I bought an optical audio switch with remote control; one input and four outputs.
When it came to wiring up the optical audio switch, that’s when I quickly realised that if I had plugged the optical audio from the sound system straight into the TV, rather than into our Virgin Media cable TV box that the TV was smart enough to re-route the digital audio from the cable TV box via the HDMI link from the cable TV box to the TV through the optical audio link from the TV to the sound box, as and when required. It doesn’t do the same for the Blu-ray player, but even so, if I’d known that the TV was going to do that I needn’t have bought the optical audio switch; not that it cost much anyway, less than $20 including spare optical audio cables.
Nevertheless, I’ve kept the optical audio switch wired up because it’s such a neat solution; and it gives me spare capacity (future proofing). I’ve also taken the optical audio link from the Blu-ray player out of the second in-put in the back of the sound system and plugged that into the switch instead; so that I only need to use the one remote to control audio routing.
The wiring configuration of the optical audio switch I’ve gone for is:-
- Channel 1 = TV
- Channel 2 = Cable TV box
- Channel 3 = Blu-ray player
- Channel 4 = spare
In practice, because when we’re using the cable TV box the TV automatically reroutes the audio signal via HDMI from the cable TV box through its on optical audio link to the sound system, when channel 1 is selected on the optical audio switch we get full digital Dolby through the 7:1 speakers regardless to whether we’re watching from the TV or from the Cable TV box. Whereas if we select channel 2 we only get audio form the cable TV box; and likewise, we only get audio from the Blu-ray player if we select channel 3.
Therefore, we always keep it switched to channel 1, unless we want to watch a DVD or Blu-ray, in which case we’ll switch the optical audio switch to channel 3.
Consequently, because we can select which device to switch the audio to via the remote for the optical audio switch, and the TV automatically switches on the sound system when turn the TV on; we have little use for the remote that came with the sound system; but we keep it handy in our remote control holder for the occasional use.
HDMI Adaptor for the Wii
As the QLED TV doesn’t have any of the old analogue sockets you can’t plug old equipment, like the Wii straight into the TV.
However, I resolved this issue by buying an adaptor for the Wii that allows you to connect the Wii to the TV via an HDMI cable. The adaptor isn’t expensive, and is well worth the investment. Albeit, to fit the adaptor I had to remove the dust cover from the Wii's fan, but there wasn't any dust on it anyway, so this isn't going to be an issue.
As with all modern equipment, when you start plugging it all together you quickly end up with a spaghetti junction. The QLED helps with this to some extent with its ‘One Connect’ box that (if you don’t wall mount the TV) fits comfortably underneath the TV; and then all the TV cables plug into the box rather than plugging them into the TV itself.
However as we sit our TV on a sideboard, and angle it to give the best viewing angle for everyone in the room, all the cables, plugs and sockets are all conveniently hidden behind the TV.
The Importance of High Quality Audio
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Arthur Russ
Liz Westwood from UK on December 20, 2019:
After I posted the comment, I wondered if you might have done. The truffle hub sounds good. I look forward to reading it.
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 20, 2019:
Yep, already done; I did that a few years ago. Although I am thinking of doing a hub on my truffle making.
And yes, I'm quite liberal, I'll recycle any candle wax, of any type, included scented ones; it all goes in the mix so that nothing goes to waste. And I even add scent to the candles I make.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 20, 2019:
Maybe that's an idea for a future hub. You could share your candlemaking tips with us all. It's a good idea for recycling, especially as candles are so popular. Can you recycle the scented candles?
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 20, 2019:
My wife likes to burn a candle or two on weekends, with the lights dimmed, while watching the telly; and over the year the melted wax builds up. I first started making candles when my mother bought me a candle making kit one Christmas, not long after I was married; although it wasn’t until I retired that I’ve had the time to make them every year.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 19, 2019:
Sounds like you are well prepared. Impressive recycling with the candles. You must have used a lot of candles last year. Hope you have a great Christmas and enjoy the truffles.
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 18, 2019:
Yep, I fully agree with you; I also take the view “Why pay someone else to do something that I can do myself?” That’s one reason why I do a lot of DIY, the other reason being that I enjoy it any way.
I got the candles made, 16 large ones (about the size of a pint glass), using 100% recycled wax, saved from the candles my wife burnt last year.
I’m looking very much towards making the chocolate truffles tomorrow. It’s a recipe I got from the British TV Series ‘River Cottage’ by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall about 7 years ago, using either lemon curd or jam as the filling. I do both versions, as they are both lush (just melt in your mouth).
We don’t have a formal booking log, but we do check with each other if one of use wants to use the kitchen for the day; and once agreed we do jot it down in the wall diary for reference.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 18, 2019:
I agree. Each week when I repeat the same housework tasks I wonder how much time I could save to do other more interesting things. But then again, I always take the view 'Why pay someone else to do something that I can do?' I hope you got the candles made and enjoy making the truffles. Do you have a booking log for the kitchen?
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 17, 2019:
Yep, they are certainly labour saving devices; and fun to watch.
Although I wouldn't want them to make me lazy: I like to keep busy around the house during the day; and these robots do give me more 'quality' time to do more interesting things, like gardening, DIY, writing and cooking etc.
Over the next couple of days (in the run up to Christmas) I'll be busy in the kitchen: I want to spend tomorrow making my wife candles from re-cycled wax, then on Thursday make the chocolate truffles for Christmas.
My wife has booked the kitchen for Friday and the weekend to do the baking and make the Christmas cake.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 17, 2019:
It sounds like you are on your way to a fully robotic system in your house with the lawn mower and vacuum cleaner. Interesting to hear about the buried wire for a boundary. I learn something new everyday.
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 16, 2019:
''Funny you should mention robotic lawnmowers, my wife actually bought me one last Christmas; something I had on my ‘wish’ list for almost 20 years; ever since the local newspaper let me trial one for a week, for a product review article they were doing. They also gave us a washing machine and Dyson vacuum cleaner to trial for the week. The washing machine was good, but the vacuum cleaner was far too big and heavy for my wife to use, as she’s only 4’ 11”.
The robotic lawnmowers are actually kept in their designated area by a boundary wire buried in the lawn around the perimeter; the boundary wire carries a low DC voltage that the robot detects so that it knows it mustn’t go beyond that point.
Some people actually dig a shallow ditch to bury the perimeter wire, whereas I just pegged it down on the surface to let nature bury it; which in our lawn it already has. I also went one stage further by adding a 2nd perimeter wire that stops short of our mini orchard, and added an exterior (weatherproof) switch to the circuits so that I can switch between the two boundary wires. That way I can restrict our robotic lawnmower to just cutting the lawn near the house during the early part of the year so that it doesn’t munch on the daffodils and all the other bulbs under the fruit trees in the spring and early summer. Something I covered I a recent article.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 16, 2019:
It sounds like you have got the vacuuming thoroughly covered in your household. I like the idea of a robotic vacuum cleaner. I was quite taken with the robotic lawn mower I saw working on the grass near Prague Castle. I'm guessing that it worked well because the grass had stone borders around it. Otherwise the lawnmower might have mown down the tourists!
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 16, 2019:
Yes personal recommendations are often the best. A close friend of ours frequently uses eBay, but we’ve always been apprehensive about it because it doesn’t afford the same security and peace of mind that Amazon offers; when packages get lost in the post or arrive damaged Amazon has always sent a replacement without question.
Although before buying from Amazon we always check the local stores and the manufacturer’s website because Amazon isn’t always the cheapest; and we’ve stopped buying our printer inks from Amazon as they’ve tended to be end-of life, and even some of the watch batteries we’ve bought from Amazon have reached the end of their shelf-life and haven’t lasted long.
Our main vacuum cleaner is a Henry, which a friend of ours gave us when he moved. Being partially disabled he had two, one upstairs and one down stairs, because he had difficulty in carrying it up and down the stairs. But he moved to a ground floor flat (with back garden), so only needed one; which was convenient for us because our old vacuum cleaner (an upright Hoover) was coming to the end of its life.
Having used a Henry I don’t think I would ever go back to an upright, because in comparison the Henry is so powerful; it’s only drawbacks is that it’s too heavy for my wife to carry up and down stairs (so she can’t use it), and it has a cloth bag (rather than a paper bag) which is a lot more expensive to replace when the bag is full e.g. the only way to empty the cloth bags is through the small hole that the hose fits into, which is rather cumbersome. However, I took a tip from our friend’s electrician who uses an industrial vacuum cleaner with a cloth bag. He got around the problem by slitting one end with a Stanley knife, and then folding the end over, and holds it in place with large bulldog clips; which works a treat.
The one thing I really love about the Henry is that the power cord (which stores inside the vacuum cleaner, on a real, when not in use) is mega long so that I only need plug it into one socket and it’s long enough for me to do the whole house (upstairs and downstairs) without me having to change sockets.
Although I do most of the vacuuming, it’s because the Henry is too heavy for my wife that she wanted just a simple lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner that she could quickly use around the house to pick up the large chunks of cats hair between me vacuuming; especially during the moulting season. So after a bit of research she opted for the Hoover H-Free Pets 3 in 1 cordless vacuum cleaner; which (like you said about your previous cordless vacuum cleaners) is okay; it does its job (but I’m sure it’s not as good as the Dyson you have), but she didn’t want to spend too much on one because we’ve got the Henry as our main vacuum cleaner.
The other thing my wife bought (for me as a birthday present), so that I don’t have to spend so much time vacuuming, is a cheap robotic vacuum cleaner. In spite of the fact that it’s not very powerful, and it doesn’t have a large collection bag, it does a surprisingly good job of deep cleaning the carpet of cat’s fur; pulling up the cat’s hair that gets entangled with the carpet pile and which is normally stubborn to get up with even the Henry. Although its brushes do need frequent cleaning as they get clogged up with all the long cats’ hair; but that doesn’t take long, and is something I can do in front of the TV with a coffee.
But in spite of that it is labour saving, as I don’t have to do a full vacuum so frequently, and can spend more time doing other things around the house and garden, and the DIY in my workshop.
And it is fun sitting down in front of the TV with a cup of coffee watching the robotic vacuum cleaner zigzagging around the room as it bumps into objects; although the cats are a bit wary of it, especially when it starts heading in their direction!
Liz Westwood from UK on December 15, 2019:
Several people I knew had cordless Dyson vacuum cleaners. So, after a succession of cheap cylinder vacuums that worked okay for a while and then failed, I decided to push the boat out. Time will tell if it was worth it. My son advised using the Dyson outlet via eBay. Even on Black Friday the price I got beat the best I saw by 25%.
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 15, 2019:
Cool; it certainly is well worth spending the time to choose the right vacuum cleaner to best suit you and your needs; we could have done with your views and experiences earlier in the year when my wife was looking for one.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 15, 2019:
Thanks for the advice. I have just done similar with a Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner.
Arthur Russ (author) from England on December 14, 2019:
Thanks Liz, when you do take the plunge to buy a new TV (now that the technology is reaching what I would consider a respectable level), one way to keep the cost down is to consider buying the previous years model, rather than the latest model.
Of course, that depends on what you want from a TV, your budget, and on whether you consider the new features in the latest model is worth paying the extra for; if not then, provided the older model meets your expectations, the older model may well be the better bet.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 14, 2019:
As our remote is on its last legs and our tv was inherited, I have read your article with interest. When our tv finally goes, I shall be returning to read up again on your advice.