What Is QLED?

QLED TVs are different from OLED models in a few ways

"QLED" is a marketing label that refers to a specific type of ultra-high-definition TV display that Samsung and a couple of other companies (TCL and Hisense) produce. The "Q" in the name represents the quantum-dot technology that the screens use to create colors alongside LCDs.

Here's what you need to know about QLED screens.

A QLED TV by Samsung

What Are Quantum Dots?

The more general term for QLEDs is "Quantum dot displays," which have two types: photo-emissive (or photoluminescent) and electro-emissive (or electroluminescent). Consumer-level QLED TVs are all photo-emissive displays that exist in direct competition with OLED sets, which produce the same resolutions but work differently.

The main difference between QLED displays and their competitors is the former's use of "quantum dots." Quantum dots are conductive, microscopic crystals. When light shines through a quantum dot (for example, the LED backlight of a TV), they emit different wavelengths of light depending on their size.

QLED screens use a "film" of quantum dots near the back of the TV to create a higher range of more saturated colors than in other screens. These displays can also produce brighter pictures without losing saturation.

Resolutions of QLED TVs

Most QLED screens are ultra-high-definition, which means they're available in 4K and 8K resolutions. You can still find cheaper sets that use the older HD standard of 1080p, but those are more rare. If you're going to take the plunge on a QLED screen, you might as well get the higher resolution.

Pros and Cons of QLED TVs

Along with richer colors, QLED TVs generally cost less than OLED screens of the same size. They also work better in bright rooms.

Two downsides of QLEDs are they can't display deep blacks and the brilliants colors require you sitting pretty close to straight on to the screen.

The darker areas of the screen might not be as impressive because, despite the cool quantum dots, they still both use an LED backlight and LCD circuits. Those LCD circuits are always on so they can produce a wide range of colors, but cause the darker areas to be less dark.

Those brilliant colors require you to have a fairly-head on view of the screen. In fact, if you sit even a few dozen degrees off of center you'll likely notice a difference in the image. To compare, some OLED displays can maintain an ideal picture quality until nearly 50 degrees from center.

Photo-Emissive vs. Electro-Emissive Displays

Any QLED TVs you'll see in a store currently are the "photo-emissive" type, which means that the quantum dots release energy (in this case, in the form of colors) after being exposed to light. In electro-emissive displays, the dots emit light in the presence of electricity.

Electro-emissive displays offer greater control over the picture since they allow for individual control of each pixel. While "true" quantum-dot displays aren't currently available at the consumer level, screens that use them would be thinner and more versatile than the current, photoluminescent options.