• TECH
  • Monday, 16 Jan 2017

A Samsung TV, which uses QLED technology for better contrast and deeper black, at CES. — dpa

Will Samsung’s Quantum Dot TV technology overtake the more expensive OLED?

Samsung is championing a new TV display technology which it showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The South Korean company’s new top-of-the-range QLED models use Quantum Dots, nano-crystals made out of semiconductor ­materials. And if Samsung’s involved, you better take notice – it was the world’s biggest TV maker last year, beating competitors LG, Sony and Panasonic for the 11th year in a row.

Quantum Dots are photoactive, which means that they absorb light and then release it again.

Each Quantum Dot puts out ­specific colours and the new-­generation screens presented at CES can control the particles more precisely. The result is a TV with better contrast and deeper black. Also, you can watch the TV from almost any angle.

The name QLED can be seen as an attack on the OLED technology that Samsung competitor LG uses in its top-of-the-range TVs. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode.

The diodes are made out of organic semi-conducting polymers that don’t need backlighting, which means that screens can be extremely thin with deeper blacks than an LED screen.

The picture on an OLED screen also looks better when viewed at an angle than it would on an LED screen.

Samsung’s new QLED technology offers the same advantages but with the Samsung name behind it.

LG is currently the only ­manufacturer of OLED panels for TVs – other makers that sell OLED TVs such as Panasonic, Philips and Sony simply buy LG’s panels and resell them.

Who wins the QLED vs OLED battle depends not least on ­whether LG can manage to reduce the price of the currently very expensive OLED TVs. Samsung management dismissed the OLED option several years ago because they couldn’t see how the ­technology could be made ­affordable for the mass market.

Either way, the success of the new generation of televisions won’t depend on the display ­technology alone. To most people the images on QLED and OLED screens will look more or less the same and many potential buyers feel overwhelmed by the ­numerous industry acronyms such as OLED, QLED and HDR (high dynamic range).

For most consumers, other ­questions are just as important when buying a TV such as what does the unit look like in the living room? Can it be easily fixed to the wall? Does it work with streaming ­services?

And above all, how much does it cost? – dpa

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