When shopping for a new TV, you may have come across the terms OLED and QLED. These technologies both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and understanding the key differences between them can help you make an informed decision when purchasing a new TV.
It's important to consider factors such as the space you have at home, your viewing preferences, and your budget when deciding which technology is the best fit for you. Neither OLED nor QLED TVs are inherently better than the other; it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
When it comes to performance and picture quality, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people may prefer the deep, rich blacks and vibrant colors of OLED TVs, while others may prefer the bright and vibrant image quality of QLED TVs.
If you're interested in finding the best TV for your needs, whether it's a large screen for a cinematic experience, a gaming TV for the next-gen consoles, or a smaller screen for a spare room, read on for a breakdown of the key differences between OLED and QLED. You decide which technology is the best fit for you.
OLED vs. QLED: An Overview of Current TV Technologies
OLED TVs are widely supported by leading TV manufacturers such as LG, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, and Vizio. As a result, OLED technology is currently the most widely-available premium display panel option for TVs and is becoming more affordable.
QLED TVs are primarily manufactured by Samsung, although they are also available from other brands such as Sony, Hisense, TCL, and Vizio. It's worth noting that there is also a newer TV technology called QD-OLED, which combines the benefits of OLED and QLED by using a blue OLED panel with a quantum dot filter to produce brighter primary colors. QD-OLED TVs have higher color saturation (about 200% of traditional LED-LCD TVs) and improved off-axis viewing compared to other technologies.
OLED TVs: Pros and Cons
In summary, the main difference between OLED and QLED is that QLED is an enhanced version of LCD technology, while OLED is a completely new technology. OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, which uses a carbon-based film between two conductors that emits light when an electric current is applied.
OLED TVs are known for their excellent picture quality, with deep blacks and realistic colors due to the fact that each pixel produces its own light. This allows for "infinite" contrast, fast refresh rates, and a more muted brightness that is ideal for movies. The lack of a backlight also means that the pixels can be switched off completely when they need to display black, resulting in true black levels.
OLED TVs have traditionally been available in a limited range of sizes, but in 2022, several major brands have expanded their OLED offerings. Watching an OLED TV for the first time can be a truly special experience.
- Lighter and thinner design (2.57mm)
- Self-emissive pixels produce their own light
- More realistic blacks due to ability to switch off pixels completely
- Faster refresh rate (0.001ms) for smooth, judder-free motion
- Blur-free image due to fast refresh rate
- Limited screen sizes currently available
- Limited brightness (typically up to 1,000 nits) compared to some other technologies
- Higher cost compared to some other TV technologies
QLED TVs: Pros and Cons
QLED is not a completely new TV technology, but rather a rebranding of Samsung's previous flagship TVs known as SUHD. In 2017, Samsung changed the name of its SUHD TVs to QLED, which stands for Quantum-dot Light-Emitting Diode. The name QLED is similar to OLED, which can be confusing, especially with the introduction of LG's QNED TVs. It's worth noting that QLED and OLED are different technologies with their own unique sets of benefits and drawbacks.
QLED TVs differ from OLED in that they are not self-emissive and still utilize a backlight. They use a quantum dot color filter in front of the LCD backlight, which enhances brightness, contrast, and color vibrancy. While QLED is not a true next-generation display technology, it is a significant improvement over traditional LCD TVs. Despite being a modified version of LCD technology, QLED TVs offer impressive picture quality and are worth considering if you are in the market for a new TV.
In recent years, Samsung has updated its QLED line with a new technology called Neo QLED. This refers to the use of a mini-LED backlight, which allows for more precise brightness control and improved viewing angles. Neo QLED also has the potential to increase brightness and reduce blooming compared to traditional QLED TVs.
- Vibrant, rich colors
- Ultra-bright (up to 2,000 nits)
- Wide range of screen sizes available (32-98 inches)
- Thicker design compared to some other technologies
- Black levels may not be as deep as OLED TVs
- Slower refresh rate compared to some other technologies
Pros of OLED TVs
Pros of QLED TVs
Lighter and thinner design
Vibrant and stunning colors
Precise and accurate colors
High brightness potential
Deep, convincing blacks
Wide range of screen sizes available
Faster refresh rate
Cons of OLED TVs
Cons of QLED TVs
Small risk of burn-in
Typically not as slim as some other options
Limited brightness compared to some other technologies
Less convincing blacks
More expensive than some other options
Slower pixel refresh rate
Which Brands Offer OLED and QLED TVs?
The competition between OLED and QLED is more about branding than technology. This is because OLED panels, with the exception of QD-OLED panels used in TVs sold by Samsung and Sony, are primarily manufactured by LG Displays. Similarly, the display panels used in QLED TVs have a generic origin.
Many TV brands have embraced OLED technology in recent years due to its excellent picture quality. LG, Sony, Panasonic, and Philips all offer OLED TVs, although they tend to be more expensive than other TV technologies.
This is partially due to limited production of OLED panels by manufacturer LG Display, which has made OLED TVs a top-tier, premium option. However, with the introduction of new, smaller sizes and increased production, prices for OLED TVs are slowly decreasing.
Samsung discontinued its OLED TV production in 2014 due to low production yields and began promoting QLED technology in 2017. In an effort to increase the popularity of QLED, Samsung has partnered with other companies such as Hisense and TCL to form the QLED Alliance in 2017. The alliance aims to advance QLED development and increase QLED TV sales in the Chinese market.
Which TV Technology Is the Best for Gamers?
When it comes to choosing the best TV for gaming, it's important to consider factors other than OLED vs QLED technology.
With the release of the next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles, you'll want to look for a TV with HDMI 2.1 ports that can support 8K video at 60Hz and 4K video at 120Hz.
Low input lag is also an important consideration, although it may not always be specified on product pages.
OLED TVs offer excellent contrast and can make cinematic games look stunning, and LG's OLED TVs also come with Nvidia G-Sync to smooth out gameplay.
QLED TVs, on the other hand, offer higher brightness and may be better for clearly visualizing environments and objects in games.
Ultimately, the most important factors for gaming are low input lag, VRR (variable refresh rate), and an HDMI 2.1 port, rather than the underlying panel technology.
Which Is the Best Choice for You?
Both OLED and QLED technologies have their own unique strengths. QLED TVs offer brighter pictures, longer lifespan, lower prices, and no risk of burn-in. OLED TVs offer better viewing angles, deeper blacks and higher contrast, and lower power consumption. They may also be a better choice for gaming.
Ultimately, the decision between OLED and QLED will depend on your personal preferences and budget. OLED TVs may be the better option for most people, but QLED TVs may be more suitable for those looking for a smaller size or who have a smaller budget.
At the moment, OLED and QLED TVs are roughly the same price at the 55-inch size, but OLEDs tend to be more expensive overall.
Prices and Availability
Previously, OLED TVs were much more expensive than LED TVs, but their prices have significantly dropped in recent years and they can now be found at more reasonable prices. However, it is also possible to find good quality QLED TVs from budget brands such as Hisense and TCL at even lower prices. Most high-end TVs use quantum dot layers, so only mid-range and entry-level models still have LED panels and can be found at low prices.
As for availability, OLED TVs are mostly produced by a small number of companies, with the majority coming from LG, and they are usually only available in larger sizes. Their line-up is starting to include entry-level OLEDs, but the main difference between models is the features they offer, as they generally have similar picture quality. Many major TV companies, with the exception of Sony, have produced quantum dot TVs, while LED models can be found from any manufacturer.
There are plans to develop self-emissive QLED TVs that combine the benefits of both OLED and QLED technologies and could pose a threat to OLED panel manufacturers like LG Display.
These 'true' QLED TVs, which are not yet available on the market, are expected to offer many of the same advantages as OLED TVs with fewer potential drawbacks.
While OLED TVs currently dominate the premium TV market, the future of mainstream TVs may belong to QLED if LG Display is unable to increase production and offer more screen sizes.
OLED TVs have the advantage of flexibility, allowing for new audio solutions and form factors such as LG's rollable OLED, the LG Signature Series OLED R.
Currently, OLED TVs are considered the best, but also the most expensive TV technology. It remains to be seen how the market will evolve in the coming years.
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.
© 2023 Ionel Anton