NEW TV TECHNOLOGIES
Most years see great PR fanfares for what are often only iterative steps in TV tech. But this year things have gone slightly bananas, with new concepts and combinations delivering genuine advances, including for OLED.
Never have we seen more new TV technologies enter the market: Mini-LED, QD-OLED, OLED evo, QNED — what do they offer? Should you buy yet?
Let’s start with Samsung, which has plunged its fingers into the pies of multiple new screen technologies in recent years — and now has a potential ace up its sleeve for 2022. This year will see the launch of the first consumer model using the front-emissive Micro LED technology, along with ‘Neo QLEDs’ using astonishingly small Mini LED backlights claimed to be a mere one-fortieth the size of current LED backlights. (Look for ‘QN’ model numbers for the TVs which use Neo QLED.)
Plus there’s finally news of the long-awaited QD-OLED front-emissive technology TVs getting into production late this year.
The 110-inch Samsung Micro LED pictured above is certainly groundbreaking, taking the technology used in the previously available modular commercial ‘The Wall’ screen and using it in a single-panel TV. Despite being so large, it remains 4K not 8K, because of the size constraints on the LEDs themselves — a smaller TV or higher resolution would require smaller LEDs than are available, at least without pushing price far beyond what is already expected to be exceedingly premium, with predictions of around US$150,000 for the new 110-inch TV. But the technology promises to deliver the best of front-emissive goodness plus greater brightness. Doing away with backlighting and colour filters, instead producing light and color from its own micrometer-sized LED pixel structure, the
Micro LED screen claims to deliver 100% of DCI and Adobe RGB colour gamuts, with brightness of 2000 lumens, twice as bright as the best existing OLED panels.
But the most recent and exciting news is a report which broke in Korea’s ETNews that the first QD-OLED panels from Samsung Display should be made available to Samsung Electronics by the end of 2021, in time to debut in Samsung’s premium 2022 TVs. This is a true front-emissive technology with which Samsung will be able to take on the inherent qualities of LG.Display’s OLED panels, as used in all brands of current OLED TVs. Samsung had previously seemed shy of taking on the new
technology, perhaps because it already has such a raft of varied technologies in production, but also because it has spent many years declaiming loudly against OLED technology, citing their lower brightness levels and warning against burn in and lifespan issues, for blue organic materials in particular. How, then, could it suddenly pronounce QD-OLED as the next great thing?
So QD-OLED has been rechristened ‘QD Display’, though the front-emissive light is most definitely produced by a layer of blue OLED for all colours, with the red and green pixels being fronted by quantum dots which will convert the blue energy to precise green and red — there’s no white pixel, as in LG W-OLED, and with true RGB better colour precision might be possible. Currently it is believed that ‘QD Display’ panels may be even more expensive than W-OLED to create, so Samsung Display will be working hard to improve yield and reduce costs through production trials this year.