OLED vs QLED

If you are in the market for an 8K TV, you are likely weighing the benefits of OLED vs QLED. These four letters represent distinctly different approaches to create the very best 8K image, but which one is better? More importantly, which was is better for you?

There are more in-depth explanations of QLED and OLED elsewhere on the website, so here is just a quick overview of each technology.

OLED TV

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. This is the first “emissive” LED technology meaning the individual LEDs in the display create their own light. Millions of these LEDs cover the screen’s surface and light up individually when supplied with voltage. There is no need for a backlight as found in previous LCD-LED and the newer QLED displays. This allows for a thinner, lighter display with some other advantages we will cover below.   

QLED TV

QLED is shorthand for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode. Quantum dots are tiny semiconductor nanocrystals that become luminous when exposed to light. The colour they produce is determined by the size of the crystal which can be precisely tuned to a specific colour. Unlike OLED, Quantum Dots are not “emissive” and are illuminated by a more traditional LED backlight. While not as revolutionary as OLED, QLED has some advantages over other 8K display technology.

OLED vs QLED: Blacks

In the quest to create the ultimate home cinema experience, one of the most sought after traits is ultimate black. Early LED-LCD displays could not achieve true blacks because the LED backlight would always shine through. LED-LCD technology has made dramatic improvements moving from edge lit to full array, to full array with local dimming allowing for something closer to pure black. Meanwhile, OLED has found the ultimate way to produce pure black. Because each of the millions of organic LEDs in the display can be controlled independently, true black can be achieved anywhere on the screen by merely turning those LEDs off.

This is where OLED holds a serious advantage over QLED. Since QLED displays are still relying on a LED backlight, some amount of light bleed is inevitable. However, Samsung has made massive improvements. Their full array panel with increasingly powerful software controlling the pixels in the array has done quite a bit to keep light in its place. The latest Samsung models have a new anti-reflective layer that helps considerably.

When it comes to blacks, OLED has a clear advantage, but there are some other things to look at.

OLED vs QLED: Brightness

At the opposite end of the spectrum from pure black is brightness. When it comes to HDR (High Dynamic Range) content, contrast ratio is an essential measurement. The contrast ratio measures the difference between the darkest part of the picture and the lightest. You can increase the contrast ratio either by making the darks darker or the brights brighter. Since OLED has mastered pure black, QLED can only compete by making the brightness higher. And that it does. Because QLED continues to use an LED backlight, it can push a lot of brightness. The new Quantum Dot filter also makes it possible to handle more light without washing out the colour, leading to a higher colour volume.

If your 8K TV is going to be in a room that has a lot of ambient light, the QLED may have the advantage in terms of brightness. However, if contrast is your biggest concern and can control the lights, OLED’s pure black can deliver a high contrast ratio without the extra brightness.

OLED vs QLED: Viewing Angles

While QLED has made some significant improvements in viewing angles in the last couple of years, OLED has all but eliminated this as an issue. Organic LEDs don’t lose colour or contrast, even when viewed from severe angles. If your home cinema setup requires some viewers to sit far off centre, this may be important for you. However, if most of your viewing will be done from dead centre, this probably won’t be a significant issue for you.

OLED vs QLED: Other Considerations

While the depth of blacks, brightness, and viewing angles are the common factors used when comparing these different 8K display technologies, there may be other things that are important for individual consumers. If the overall thickness or weight is important to you, OLED has a significant advantage. Because there is no need for a backlight, screens are thinner, lighter, and even have the potential to be flexible. OLED TVs also consume less power.

Manufacturers

If you prefer to purchase your new 8K TV from a specific manufacturer, this may have an impact on the display technology you choose. While in 4K models some additional manufacturers are offering OLED and QLED TVs, for 8K, it comes down to Samsung and LG. Samsung continues to promote its 8K QLED, including it’s new 98” model. Meanwhile, LG is placing its bets on the future of OLED and will soon release its 88” OLED 8K TV.

OLED vs QLED: You Decide

If you prefer to purchase your new 8K TV from a specific manufacturer, this may have an impact on the display technology you choose. While in 4K models some additional manufacturers are offering OLED and QLED TVs, for 8K, it comes down to Samsung and LG. Samsung continues to promote its 8K QLED, including it’s new 98” model. Meanwhile, LG is placing its bets on the future of OLED and will soon release its 88” OLED 8K TV.