If you’re a big-name TV maker, ‘LCD’ is a dirty word. OLED is a different technology, but in recent generations LCD panels have been rebranded with modern monikers, from LED to ULED to Samsung’s own SUHD. Now, Samsung has a new line of TVs it’s calling QLED, with a quantum dot LED-backlit LCD panel that promises huge improvements to picture quality.
Unveiled a few minutes ago at CES in Las Vegas, Samsung’s QLED TVs are “dramatically different” to last year’s models according to the company, making significant improvements in picture quality by boosting everything from brightness and colour to viewing angles. But more obvious issues like remote controls, wall mounting and inputs have also been addressed.
There’s both a curved Q8 and flat Q9 panel being introduced today, although both will take a couple of months to come to Australia. Both are 4K, obviously, and use quantum dots to refine the colour output of the TV’s backlight and LCD sub-pixels. It’s interesting to see that Samsung’s followed its competitors in putting a flat panel at the (numerical) top of its product line, too, after lukewarm reception of curved panels in the last couple of years.
The improved quantum dot design now means 100 per cent colour gamut coverage for the DCI-P3 colour spaces, which helps with the screen’s ability to accurately display cinematic colour, especially with locked-out picture quality modes like HDR that are controlled by the content that is being displayed. Samsung also says the TVs reach 100 per cent colour volume for the space, too, which takes brightness as well as colour saturation into account.
The screens’ rated 1500-2000 nits of peak brightness during HDR video playback is a pretty big jump over last year, and sets Samsung apart from its major competition — in particular, LG’s OLED screen, that can hit a maximum brightness of around one third of that. This is the biggest advantage that LCD has always had over OLED, and Samsung is demonstrating the difference in real life at CES to push the point further.
Samsung’s existing picture-wire hanging wall mounting system has had an update, too, into a ‘no gap wall mount’ that apparently requires much less installation effort than a regular mount and can also be installed by a single person. The new QLED TVs also use a single, 5-metre long optical cable that connects to a break-out box with HDMI and other digital connectors and wall power.
We’ll have more info on when Samsung’s new Q8 and Q9 TVs will land in Australia over the coming months.