LG OLED vs. Samsung QD-OLED: Who has the better TV tech?

Before we get into a more detailed discussion of our review, we need to explain a bit about OLED TV technology in general, and how Samsung’s and LG’s sets differ from each other.

OLED, short for Organic Light Emitting Diode, is what is called an emissive technology, which means that each pixel emits its own light. As each individual pixel goes from bright to completely off, OLED TVs can produce true deep black tones.

In contrast, most TVs are LCD TVs, and these require a separate LED backlight behind the screen. This backlight is always on, so an LCD assembly must selectively block this light in certain areas of the screen in dark scenes, but some light still leaks into adjacent areas of the screen. This is why, on LCD TVs, even the darkest shadows often appear grayer than jet black. (This can be solved with a feature called local dimming, but on sets that have it, you may see bright “blooms” or halos around light objects against dark backgrounds. This is less common on some new LCD assemblies that use mini LEDs and a huge number of local dimming zones.)

Until this year, all OLED TVs used a technology called WOLED. This approach uses a white OLED light source – it combines blue and yellow OLED material to produce white light – along with color filters to produce the red, green and blue colors of the spectrum. Since color filters absorb some of this brightness, these sets add a white sub-pixel that bypasses the color filter to add additional brightness. The downside is that at the higher brightness levels required for HDR content, that extra white sub-pixel can sometimes make colors look a bit washed out.

QD-OLED TVs, offered by Samsung and Sony this year, take a different approach by using quantum dots – nanometer-sized crystals – instead of color filters. Much like the QLED LCD TVs we see from several companies, including Samsung, the QD-OLED sets use a blue OLED light source, with quantum dot material producing red and green light. (The size and composition of quantum dots determine the colors they emit when hit by blue light.) Since these TVs do not use color filters in front of the light source, QD-OLED TVs have the potential to achieve higher peak brightness. levels without losing contrast. Additionally, quantum dots help keep the colors of the image vibrant at higher brightness levels.

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