OLED and QLED are fighting for the favor of customers in the television market. But which technology can do what and which is better?
If you want a new high-end television, you currently have the choice between two display technologies: QLED and OLED. The advocates of both worlds rave about the advantages, of course. But how do they differ and which technology is really better for which application? We compare that for you here.
What is QLED?
QLED is not a new technology in itself. It is based on LED technology, which Samsung has expanded with so-called quantum dots. LED TVs work with a backlight. Various filters are placed over them to block the light at certain points. This is how the finished picture is created on the television. In QLED televisions, another layer, the quantum dots, is placed over the existing LED filters.
The Quantum Dots ensure that the TV can reproduce brighter pictures than the already bright LED TVs. It should also make the black areas darker, which has always been a problem with LED technology. Black tones often look gray and not pitch black. As a third advantage, Quantum Dots can display more colors than conventional LED TVs.
The term QLED was created by Samsung. The electronics giant from Korea was the first to market televisions with this term. It’s no coincidence that QLED and OLED sound very similar. Samsung itself has been testing OLED screens for a long time and mainly uses them in the significantly smaller smartphones from its own production. According to their statements, they had not had good experiences with OLED in TV sets and therefore reoriented towards QLED TV’s.
Hisense and TLC are two other television manufacturers on board who want to make QLED big. The three electronics heavyweights call it the “QLED Alliance”, with which they want to declare war on OLED. But is QLED the better technology for television, or at least as good? That is controversial.
What is OLED?
With OLED technology, millions of these organic light-emitting diodes are arranged in a network. When these OLEDs are powered, they light up. The more electricity they get, the brighter they get. This is how the finished picture is created at the end. The biggest difference to QLED or LED is that the OLEDs themselves light up and therefore do not require backlighting. This has the advantage that black areas are really black, which provides a rich contrast.
OLED is a very versatile technology that can be used to manufacture many different types of displays.
The first TV manufacturer to launch OLED TVs was LG. And for a long time, the Koreans exclusively offered OLED televisions. That was also due to the initially very high prices. In the meantime, however, numerous other manufacturers have OLED televisions on offer, such as Sony, Loewe or Philips. And the prices have dropped sharply.
Which technology is better?
If I want to buy a new TV now, should I buy an OLED TV or a QLED TV? The question is not that easy to answer – both technologies have advantages and disadvantages, of course. In the end, it depends on your personal preference and possibly also what you want to use the TV for.
The advantages of OLED TVs
As already mentioned, one of the greatest advantages of OLED TVs is the high-contrast picture, which is created by the rich black tones. Since OLED does not require a backlight, the OLED diodes are completely black when they are not supplied with power. For many, this is one of the most important factors when it comes to a good television picture.
The response time is also faster with OLED TVs than with QLED TVs. The response time is the time it takes the diodes to turn on or off. A fast reaction time ensures that the picture looks “crisp” and sharper overall, especially with fast action scenes. A responsive TV set is therefore also important for gamers, as the overview is not lost so quickly, even with action-packed titles.
Another advantage of the self-illuminating OLEDs is the viewing angle. The image can be easily recognized from almost any angle, as the light is emitted by the diodes instead of being blocked by a backlight as with QLED or LED. This is an advantage if you have a large living room and the couch stands around the TV. In this case, not every seat has an optimal viewing angle to the television, but with an OLED this should no longer be a problem.
OLED is also ahead in terms of energy consumption. Since there is no need for a backlight that has to be permanently lit, the energy consumption for OLED TVs is lower than for QLEDs or LEDs.
The advantages of QLED TVs
When it comes to brightness, the point clearly goes to QLED. Even LED TVs are brighter than OLED TVs, with the extra quantum dots the image of QLEDs can be even brighter than that of LEDs. This increases the contrast, since the diodes lose none of their color even with more brightness. This is a great advantage, especially in well-lit living rooms, since a brighter picture can be seen better here. If the contrast is also right, you have the best overall package for bright rooms.
When it comes to very large televisions, QLED has an advantage. LCD panels can also be easily produced in large sizes. LG presented an 88-inch OLED television at IFA 2018, but it was a prototype and was in no way ready for the sales halls. Samsung was able to score with an almost marketable 85-inch 8K QLED television. So if you’re after a really big TV, QLED is a good choice.
While images can burn onto OLED TVs, this cannot happen with QLED TVs. This is not a problem for most TV viewers anyway. Only if an element on the television would appear in the same place for ten or more hours a day for weeks could OLED televisions burn in a certain element. But this happens extremely rarely. QLED has the advantage that images cannot burn in there. So if you want to protect yourself from this, QLED is a good choice.
We think OLED TVs offer greater benefits overall. Especially for us as gamers, the fast response time and the crisp picture are interesting. But that doesn’t mean OLED is the better choice in every situation. QLED shows its strengths especially in well-lit living rooms. Both technologies offer good image quality with their own strengths and weaknesses.
By the way, neither technology is a bargain.