Samsung launched its first OLED TV more than a decade ago last year, but it didn’t use LG’s regular WRGB OLED panel that most OLED TV makers use. The South Korean TV company used a new QD-OLED panel made by Samsung Display (the display panel manufacturing arm of Samsung). Is it better? And how is it different from LG’s OLED panel?
In this article, let’s find out exactly what QD-OLED TV is and what are its advantages over WRGB OLED TVs.
How does a QD-OLED TV work?
QD-OLED is a self-display technology, very similar to Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays used in Galaxy smartphones, tablets and wearables. Each pixel in this display panel can produce its own backlight and color. It works differently than LG’s WRGB OLED screens and Samsung’s Super AMOLED screens. It uses millions of tiny quantum dots to improve the overall color volume and average brightness.
The QD-OLED display uses a blue OLED layer as the backlight source, and this is a great idea from Samsung Display. An OLED layer is made using organic materials (hence the O in OLED), and the light from that layer is passed through quantum dot color filters (also known as quantum dot color converters) to create red and green colors. Since the backlight is blue, it does not need a color converter to make the blue color, and the backlight is passed as is.
Now, let’s see how these magical quantum dots work.
The importance of quantum dots in QD-OLED TVs
Quantum dots, as the name suggests, are extremely small. It is usually measured in nanometers. When quantum dots are struck by any form of light, they absorb this energy and reproduce monochromatic (pure) colors. And they are so energy efficient that they can pass 99% of all the light they receive.
Moreover, quantum dots of different sizes create different colours. For example, quantum dots with a diameter of 2 nm create blue light, while quantum dots of 3 nm, 4 nm, 5 nm, and 7 nm can create green, yellow, orange, and red colors, respectively. As a result, QD-OLED panels create pure reds, greens, and blues, and these colors can be mixed as necessary to create any color.
Why is LG’s RGBW OLED technology inferior to Samsung’s QD-OLED?
By comparison, LG’s WRGB panel uses a white backlight (which isn’t pure, to begin with), and it runs through red, green, and blue color converters to create those respective colors. Some of that backlighting is lost in the process. LG uses a white sub-pixel in each pixel to compensate for the missing backlight.
However, this white sub-pixel reduces color fidelity and scale. The combination of the not-so-pure white backlight and white sub-pixels results in colors that aren’t as deep as QD-OLED, and the overall color luminosity is inferior.
A look at Samsung’s lineup of QD-OLED TVs
Samsung’s first QD-OLED TV will be launched in early 2022, the S95B. It came in two sizes: 55 inches and 65 inches. Both options feature 4K resolution, 144Hz variable refresh rate, HDR10, HDR10 + Adaptive, HLG, AMD FreeSync Premium, and Nvidia G-Sync. This TV can reach a peak brightness of 1,500 nits in HDR scenes.
It has four HDMI 2.1 ports with eARC and a 2.2.2 channel speaker setup with up to 60W output. It was also among the first televisions in the world to support Wireless Dolby Atmos.
Connectivity features include Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, three USB 3.2 Type-A ports, AirPlay 2, Tap Sound, and Tap View. It also supports Alexa, Bixby, and Google Assistant and can control Apple HomeKit and SmartThings compatible smart home devices.
The Samsung S95B has received rave reviews from all TV experts around the world, thanks to its perfect blacks, wide viewing angles, and infinite contrast ratio. It delivered deeper colors and higher brightness than competing OLED TVs from LG. It runs on Tizen 6.5 and has additional features like Game Bar, Object Tracking Sound Pro, and 32:9 ultrawide mode for gaming.
In early 2023, the company followed up with two new QD-OLED TVs: the S90C and S95C. Both devices feature the latest generation QD-OLED panels and come in three sizes: 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch. Both TVs still use a 4K QD-OLED panel with a variable 144Hz refresh rate, HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive, HLG, AMD FreeSync Premium, and Nvidia G-Sync. Thanks to newer materials and AI algorithms, Samsung claims the S90C and S95C can reach peak brightness of up to 2,000 nits.
The S90C continues to use the same design and 60W 2.2.2-channel speaker setup as the 2022 S95B. The S95C, the higher of the two 2023 QD-OLED TVs, features a slimmer design with One Connect Box on the stand and a 4.2.2-channel 70-speaker setup Watts.
Both TVs run Tizen 7.0 out of the box, and feature Alexa, Bixby, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, Game Bar, Object Tracking Sound Pro, and an ultra-fast 32:9 (for gaming) mode. Connectivity features for both new TVs include four HDMI 2.1 ports (with eARC), Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, AirPlay 2, Tap Sound, Tap View, and three USB 3.2 Type-A ports.
Samsung also sells QD-OLED gaming monitors
Samsung has also started selling gaming-oriented QD-OLED screens. In 2022, it launched a 34-inch Odyssey G8 QD-OLED display at IFA 2022. In early 2023, the South Korean company unveiled a 49-inch Odyssey G95SC, which is an ultra-wide gaming monitor with an aspect ratio of 32:9, 5120 x 1440 pixels resolution, 1800R curvature, 240Hz refresh rate. It exceeds VESA’s HDR True Black 400 capability, which means it can reach a peak brightness of 400 nits.