What Is QNED?

Quantum Nano Emitting Diode display technology is here. Should you care?

Not to be confused with QLED (quantum dot LED TV), QNED is a marketing label for a specific type of ultra-high-definition display technology used in a new line of LCD TVs developed by LG.

Here’s what you need to know about QNED screens.

QNED: The Basics

QNED stands for “quantum nano-emitting diode” and is a transmissive display technology that relies on mini-LED backlights. Since LCD pixels are not self-emissive (in other words, they don’t create their own light), most current LCDs use LEDs to light the display from behind.

While backlighting technology has improved significantly over the years, LCD TVs can’t offer the bright highlights and deep blacks offered by OLED, which have self-emissive pixels

QNED televisions use Mini LED backlight technology to improve brightness and contrast compared to traditional LED backlights while offering a superior viewing experience to conventional LCD televisions.

The QNED’s individual LED backlights can be individually turned on and off to allow for more “dimming zones” and, thus, improved brightness and contrast.

What Is QNED TV?

QNED TV is a specific line of premium LCD televisions made by LG that combine Quantum NanoCell color technology with mini LED backlighting. The company announced both 4K and 8K models available in display sizes of 65 to 86 inches at CES 2021.

Is QNED Only Available From LG?

While LG is set to have the first QNED TVs on the market, its technology is quite a bit different from what Samsung uses. 

Samsung QNED refers to Quantum Nanorod Emitting Diode and is a self-emissive display technology similar to OLED. Although Samsung QNED is still in the early R&D stages, LG and Samsung are both using the name to refer to two different display technologies makes things a bit confusing.

Right now, the Samsung equivalent to LG’s QNED TVs are its “Neo QLED” displays, which also have mini-LED backlight arrays.

Samsung Neo QLED TV promotional photo


Is Micro LED Better Than OLED?

In short, no. While Micro LED-powered displays like LG’s QNED offer a considerable improvement over both standard LCD TVs and LED-backlit LCD, they’re still at a disadvantage compared to the best OLED TVs. While you’ll get higher brightness out of a QNED TV, thanks to its mini LED backlighting, the contrast and black levels are still not on par with what you get from an OLED display and its self-emissive pixels.

Is QNED the Future?

QNED is an impressive iteration on LCD technology, but it’s difficult to say whether it’ll become a standard format. Part of the issue is that LG is currently the only company using this specific type of QNED technology. Samsung has its own QNED line, but it’s considerably different than LG’s.

Branding is also a potential hurdle to QNED adoption, as its similarity to QLED may cause some confusion for consumers. 

As with any innovation in the TV space, it’s best to take a “wait and see” approach. The first wave of QNED TVs will be expensive and unproven, so unless you have money to burn, you’ll likely be better served looking at an OLED or QLED display if you’re in the market for a premium television set.

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