OLED or QLED: What is the best screen technology for 4K Smart TVs?

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Aina Martin
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In the years of televisions with the "tube", buying a TV was something simple: once you chose the size of the screen, the brand that offered you the most guarantees (or the best price) and you already had the device resting on a large piece of furniture. your home. But as devices have gotten more sophisticated, the choices have increased: HD or Full HD? Smart or not? With or without 3D? Plasma or LCD?

Today we are experiencing another transition, for “Ultra HD” televisions with 4K or 8K resolution screens. And a new battle between technologies is being fought in stores: OLED and QLED displays. The former technology has been adopted by many manufacturers, but it has the stigma of burn-in or stains on the image. The other has less availability, but offers a lower price and promises a longer life. What is the best choice? This is what we will explain in this article.

QLED vs. OLED vs. MicroLED, what is the best technology?

How OLED works

OLED technology was created by Kodak engineers in 1987. Its name, “Organic Light Emitting Diode” comes from its construction: a thin film of organic compounds is placed between two conductors and emits light when it receives electrical current. The color of the light varies according to the composition of the film, and since each “spot” on the screen emits its own light, there is no need for a backlight with fluorescent lamps or white LEDs to illuminate the screen.

OLED technology has some advantages: the first is that because each dot emits a primary color, they are much more vivid and accurate, in contrast to LCD screens where the white backlight is "filtered" to generate colors.

QLED vs OLED what's the difference and why is it important ...

Also, since it does not emit light, an erased dot is completely black, which improves contrast and reduces power consumption. Also, by delivering the backlight, OLED TVs can be much thinner, and with modern flexible OLED panels it is possible to create curved screens.

The problem is that the organic components used in OLED panels can degrade with time of use, lose their brightness or present "spots" on the screen, the famous "burn-in" very "in vogue" for the first generations of this technology. .

How QLED technology works

QLED is one of many technology trade names with an even more interesting name: “Quantum Dots” or “Quantum Dots”. They work on microscopic crystals (measured in nanometers, one billionth of a meter) that have a special property: they can absorb light at a certain wavelength (such as blue or ultraviolet) and emit light at another, visible frequency. to our eyes as a specific color.

What exactly is Samsung's MicroLED technology (and how it affects your new TV)

The color of a point is based on the size of the crystals, ranging from red (the smallest) to purple (the largest) and all the colors between them. The advantage is that, since the crystals are stable over time, their color and brightness never change in contrast to the OLED technology. And because they emit “pure” colors, they are as bright and vibrant as on an OLED screen.

But as I said, the dots on a QLED screen do not emit their own light and must be backlit, which makes the construction of the screen very similar to that of an LCD screen. Because of this, the image doesn't have the perfect infinite and black contrast of OLED screens, and the viewing angles are a bit narrower.

Additionally, QLED screens have a higher response time than OLED screens, which may make them less suitable for games that require quick reaction. But as an advantage the production cost of the panels is lower, which can represent a good saving for the consumer.

The differences between LED TV vs. OLED TV

As I mentioned, QLED is a trade name, used by Samsung and related companies such as HiSense and TCL. Already Sony calls the same technology "Triluminos" and LG has a similar technology called "NanoCell".

What is Burn-In?

The time has come to explain what such a burn-in is. This effect is caused by the uneven degradation of some parts of the screen, caused by static images with vivid colors or high brightness displayed for long periods of time. The result is a "shadow" or blur in the image, visible in places where there are constant elements such as the transmitter brand in the corner of the screen, the score in a football match, or the status panels in a shooting game.

This effect has already happened on plasma televisions and can also occur on OLED screens. For example, if you have an older smartphone with an OLED screen, you may have noticed “shadows” where there are images on the screen such as the navigation buttons or the status bar at the top of the screen. This is burn-in.

Manufacturers are aware of this problem and include in their devices technologies to mitigate the problem such as "Pixel Shifter", which constantly changes the position of the image so that nothing remains "still" on the screen for a long time, or algorithms that detect parts. image which can cause problems and limit their brightness, reducing the chances of degradation.

Furthermore, the very composition of OLED panels has changed and with each generation the compounds are more stable and durable. In January of this year, the RTings YouTube channel tested 9 TVs that were heavily used (20 hours a day, in 5 periods of 4 hours each) for a year. And the results have been promising.

Although screens subjected to extreme use (maximum brightness at all times and images with many static elements such as a news channel) have shown burn-in, the general conclusion is that the typical user watches assorted content 5 to 6 hours a day. , you will probably never have this problem.

QLED screens, in turn, are much less sensitive to the problem. Samsung, for example, offers a 10-year warranty against burn-in on its models.

So, do I choose OLED or QLED?

The answer is… it depends. In practice, you are unlikely to have to worry about "burn-in", especially on newer models. The most important factor is the price: I remind you that QLED screens have a lower production cost than OLEDs. Hence, this is also reflected in the lower price of the phones.

The difference is most noticeable on the “smaller” 55-inch screens. Doing a quick search on a price comparison site, we found a 55 ″ LG NanoCell 4K TV for around € 3,300. Samsung has a similar QLED model for € 4,200. LG's cheapest OLED model is priced at R € 5,700. That is, those who choose QLED can save up to R € 2,400.

The difference remains in the larger sizes. We found a 65 ″ LG NanoCell 4K TV for € 6,900. Samsung has a similar QLED model for € 7,400, while the cheaper OLED 4K OLED, also a model from LG, costs € 11.000.

One thing is certain: OLED or QLED, once you have such a TV, you will never want to go back.

Are you thinking of buying a 4K TV? Which technology is most interesting to you?

What is 8K resolution and how does it work?

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