Quantum Dot OLED TVs Finally Get Their Day In the Sun
The big deal with QD OLED screens is that they combine OLED technology with the Quantum Dot colour technology typically used in LCD TVs. This combination enables them to deliver both the contrast advantages of self-emissive pixels and the brightness and wider colour volume advantages of Quantum Dots. As a result, QD OLED is potentially the Holy Grail of today's HDR-driven AV world - especially as Micro LED technology looks like it's years from becoming anything even approaching a mainstream proposition.
We've been hearing about something called QD OLED technology tucked away in the deepest, darkest corners of Samsung's R&D division for a few years now. Finally, however, CES 2022 sees us with not one but two series of QD OLED TVs to talk about - plus a few gaming monitors besides.
As you might expect, given the technology's origins, one of the QD OLED TVs in circulation at the CES comes from Samsung. But, oddly, the South Korean brand isn't exactly making a song and dance about it. In fact, it's only being shown to a small group of select journalists by Samsung's Display (rather than TV) division, although it has won a 2022 Best of Innovation CES Award! An award presented with supporting text that states that “Samsung's 65-inch QD Display TV is the world's first true RGB self-emitting Quantum Dot OLED display… combining the contrast levels of RGB OLED with the colour and brightness of Quantum Dots.”
The text supporting the award also provides pretty much the only available insight into the wider specification of Samsung's QD OLED TV debutante, stating that it includes four HDMI 2.1 ports, supports PC-friendly 144Hz refresh rates, and is driven by Samsung's latest Neo Quantum Processor.
On the other hand, Sony has gone in with all guns blazing and announced the launch of two QD OLED TVs at CES, releasing their model names alongside a comprehensive feature list.
The sets are named the A95Ks, and they will be available in 55 and 65-inch sizes. Their picture quality will be driven by a specially optimised version of Sony's new and improved Cognitive XR processor, complete with an XR Triluminos Max colour engine to cope with the huge colour gamuts opened up by the QD OLED's pure RGB (versus the less pure RGBW system used in standard OLED TVs) capabilities.
Sony also points out in its information on the A95Ks that their QD OLED panels can hit deeper colour peaks for the green and red elements of any given image, resulting in markedly richer, more natural saturations across the widest gamut of tones.
Additionally, Sony is quick to point out that the A95Ks are fitted with a heat dissipation element that helps keep the sort of heat that can contribute to screen-burn spread evenly across the screen. Also, a local heat analysis system can spot and run countermeasures against even small areas of excessive heat should one or more appear in a particular part of the screen.
The pieces of essential information missing about Sony's debut QD OLED TVs, however, are their price and release date - although we are expecting them to land before the end of 2022.
QD OLED is undoubtedly a thing for 2022 as CES has even given us a trio of gaming monitors that use the technology; one from Samsung, one from Alienware and even one from Dell.
We are interested in seeing how QD OLED technology takes off. But, of course, this will ultimately depend on a) how well its on-paper advantages translate into actual performance and b) how much more the new technology costs per screen inch. Early indications on the first of these two fronts, at least, appear to be very promising, so we can only hope that we won't have to wait until too late in the year to get a QD OLED TV safely perched on our test benches.
I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology. In that time I’m fairly confident that I’ve reviewed more TVs and projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-hand the rise and fall of all manner of great and not so great home entertainment technologies.