Samsung’s QD-OLED TV tech explained

Samsung promises several image quality improvements compared to existing OLED TVs and monitors: higher brightness in highlights, better colors in bright areas where traditional OLED displays wash out to a white, better colors in dim areas where shadows swallow up rich colors. No dimming or color changes for people watching TV at an angle. Blacks are deep, and for fast-changing scenes or video games, there are minimal ghosts that can blur the edges of moving elements.

This is not just a research project. Samsung will sell a QD Display TV later this year, and Sony on Tuesday announced its own 2022 QD-OLED model.

I toured Samsung Display’s campus in San Jose, Calif., to take a first look at the panels and compare their performance with local-dimming technology with two display options, OLED and LCD. Even though this was a systematic comparison by Samsung and not an instrumented test of all display quality attributes, I’d say Samsung has a real chance to unseat the image quality leader, OLED.

However all this will come at a cost. QD will capture a premium segment of the OLED display market. If you can’t buy an OLED TV from a company like LG or Sony today, you’re not likely to find QD OLED-based TVs any more delicious.

South Korean giant Samsung Display, the maker of the new panels, has three QD display panels: 55-inch and 65-inch options for 4K TVs and a 34-inch option for computer monitors at QHD+ (3,200×1,800-) pixels. ) oath. It sells them to other companies but did not say in advance which companies will use the panels or whether TV powerhouse Samsung Electronics is on the list.

When it comes to QD OLED, Samsung is the only game in town at the moment. Even though this is an electronics colossus, expect the high cost of QD OLEDs to limit the technology to the premium market. Ross Young, founder of Display Supply Chain Consultants, said competitor LG has about six times the OLED manufacturing capacity as Samsung’s QD OLED production.

“Given the low volume, [QD OLED] will be ever smaller than OLED”, Young said. “LCD will continue to be the volume and value leader for more than five years.”

If you care about image quality and are willing to pay, though, the QD OLED will be worth a look.

How does a QD OLED display work?

I’ll get to QD OLED TVs, but let’s go through history to take some steps to get there.

Ever since the invention of color TVs, the trick has been to create a grid consisting of patches of red, green and blue light. One of the best ways to do this has always been with tiny electronic components called light emitting diodes, or LEDs. Previously there were red, but now LEDs can emit blue, green, white and other colors of light.

The prevailing LCD technology produces white light with an LED backlight. An electronic layer – the liquid crystal part of the term LCD – lets through a specific combination of red, green and blue light to each pixel. The full range of 3,820×2,160 pixels in a 4K TV, updated 30 or more times per second, creates the moving imagery you see on a TV screen.

A newer type of display uses a variation of the basic electronic component, the organic LED, or OLED. Instead of relying on a backlight, each pixel is made up of an individual OLED that emits light directly. They can also be completely turned off for deeper blacks than OLED LCDs, which can look a bit gray when some of the backlight’s rays leak through the filter.

However, OLED TV technology isn’t as bright, so it’s usually enhanced with a white LED for bright areas. That’s why current OLED TV displays, which include displays manufactured by LG and sold by LG, Sony, and Vizio in the US, are often called WOLED or WRGB OLED.

Okay, now let’s talk about Samsung’s QD OLED technology.

It relies on a combination of OLEDs and quantum dots, tiny particles of semiconductor material that Samsung procures from a specialized supplier.

When quantum dots are illuminated by a particular frequency of light, the electrons in their atoms jump into a higher state of energetic excitation. However, this is only fleeting, and when the electron falls to the bottom, the atom gives off light. Tuning the quantum dot size changes the frequency of the light they emit.

To generate blue light, QD OLED displays just use a regular OLED.

For red and green light, however, other blue OLEDs illuminate two varieties of quantum dots. One patch issues a green light and the other a red light. Samsung uses a high-tech version of an inkjet printer to carefully place the quantum dot on its display substrates.

Higher brightness, better colors, says Samsung

The result is, in Samsung’s view, the best of both worlds. Without the reliance on white LEDs, QD OLED displays can show bright colors that stay vivid. The company says that they perform better with darker colors as well.

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