What Is ULED and How Does It Work?

Discover what differentiates ULED TV technology

ULED is an acronym that stands for "ultra light-emitting diodes," referring to technology created by television manufacturer Hisense.

The Details Are Vague

Most of this acronym refers to LEDs, or "light-emitting diodes," a lighting technology you're probably familiar with. It's the same LED technology found in modern home light bulbs and automotive headlights.

The "Ultra" in ULED is a marketing term created by Hisense to describe a range of in-house technology. Hisense only applies the term to its mid-range and top-tier LED televisions. ULED lets you know the television you're looking at is among the company's best LCD TVs.

Televisions in the Hisense ULED line include the R8, R9, H8, and H9 series, which typically sell between $450 and $1,250.

Two Hisense televisions in a promotional image


Because Ultra is a marketing term created by Hisense and not a generally accepted name for a specific technology, its meaning is subject to the company's whim.

Broadly speaking, ULED describes features implemented in a variety of LED televisions from many manufacturers. It includes full-array local backlight dimming, a wide color gamut, an enhanced motion rate, high peak brightness, 4K resolution, and a built-in image processor that upscales sub-4K content to 4K resolution.

ULED doesn't promise a specific minimum standard for these features. It also doesn't define how many features need to be included for a television model to earn the ULED label.

ULED's marketing, which refers to "20 picture patents," gives the impression that ULED represents exclusive technology or traits. It may be true that the specific patents cited by Hisense are exclusive, but the features found in ULED televisions are found in televisions from competitors. In fact, these features are common to mid-range LED televisions from all major manufacturers.

It's best not to overthink what ULED means in any technical sense. Instead, take it for what it is: a marketing label used by Hisense to help its top LED televisions stand out from the crowd.

ULED doesn't tell you much about any specific technology in the television, but it does clarify the TV is part of Hisense's flagship LCD line.

Hisense Isn't the Only Company Using Vague Terms

If this all sounds confusing, rest assured that it is. Unfortunately, this is part of a larger trend in the television market. The top brands all use vague marketing terms that are a bit hard to pin down.

Samsung has QLED, which stands for "quantum dot light-emitting diode." Quantum Dots is a specific technology, but it's not exclusive to Samsung. LG uses the marketing term NanoCell to describe this technology, which is also called NanoIPS in the company's monitors.

To make matters worse, LG introduced QNED at CES 2021. QNED stands for "quantum nano-emitting diode," which is how LG markets its new MiniLED televisions. It's arguable whether a "nano-emitting diode" is a thing, though the LEDs used by LG's QNED televisions are, in fact, much smaller than a typically LED.

What Else to Know About ULED

ULED is a term created by Hisense to describe a range of technology in some of its LED televisions.

The term doesn't refer to any specific feature of a particular Hisense television, so ULED televisions perform differently depending on the features they include.

However, the ULED label is only found on the company's most expensive LED televisions. It separates the company's ULED models from its budget LED televisions.

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