Your browser is not Javascript enable or you have turn it off. We recommend you to activate for better security reasonFirst look: QD-OLED displays - FlatpanelsHD

First look: QD-OLED displays

21 Jan 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |

QD-OLED is glorious. At CES 2022, FlatpanelsHD saw Samsung Display's first three QD-OLED panels and Samsung Electronics' first QD-OLED TV. Here are our first impressions.

First-gen QD-OLED

For the past 8-9 years, LG Display has been the sole supplier of OLED TV panels to all TV brands – so-called WOLED display technology. At CES 2022, Samsung Display officially unveiled its new OLED technology; QD-OLED which combines blue OLED and quantum dots color converters for red and green. Here are QD-OLED's main characteristics in summarized form, according to Samsung Display:

1st-gen QD-OLED monitors and TVs

Monitor (34")TV (65")
Resolution QHD+ (3440x1440)4K (3480x2160)
Pixel structure RGB (blue OLED + red/green QDCC)RGB (blue OLED + red/green QDCC)
Color gamut (Rec.2020) 80.7%90.3%
Color volume (Rec.2020, normalized to peak luminance) 74.8%86.1%
Peak brightness (3%) 1000 nits1500 nits
Peak brightness (10%) 450 nits1000 nits
Peak brightness (100%, full-screen) 250 nits200 nits
Black depth <0.0005 nits<0.0005 nits
Color depth 10-bit10-bit
Max refresh rate 175Hz144Hz
Response time (GtG) 0.1ms0.1ms
Viewing angle (color shift at 60°) 0.0050.006
Viewing angle (luminance drop at 60°) 81.7%80.9%
VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)AMD FreeSync Premium Pro tier
Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate tier
AMD FreeSync Premium Pro tier
Burn-in protectionReal time ISCReal time ISC
FlatpanelsHD. Source: Samsung Display
Samsung Display will initially mass-produce 55- and 65-inch QD-OLED panels for TVs and a 34-inch QD-OLED panel for monitors. The two TV panels will have 4K resolution. 8K QD-OLED is possible, according to Samsung Display, but it will require additional development and it will depend mainly on customer demand.

QD-OLED first look

WOLED vs. QD-OLED according to Samsung. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

Why do the monitor and TV panels have different characteristics? Samsung Display told us that it is a design decision based on feedback from partners – not a technical limitation. It is the same technology but they prioritised other things (i.e. higher refresh rate, higher fullscreen brightness and different form factor) for the monitor panel.
QD-OLED
The quantum dot layers (QDCC, quantum dot color converter) are inkjet-printed but the OLED panel is not. It is a top-emission structure. There is a single color filter on top to ensure that the quantum dots do not get "excited", or activated, by light in your viewing environment. The filter is there to ensure deep black and contrast. The OLED + quantum dot structure allows QD-OLED to have an even wider viewing angle than LG Display's WOLED, but a more interesting benefit of this panel structure is that QD-OLED has visibly fewer reflections in the screen. It is not because of a special anti-reflective coating, Samsung Display told FlatpanelsHD, but of course Samsung Electronics or Sony could add a special coating to their TVs if they want to. Samsung Display claims that the burn-in risk, as defined by a more than 5% difference in pixel saturation, is lower with QD-OLED as compared to WOLED partly because QD-OLED uses 'Real time Image Sticking Correction' (ISC) to monitor and maintain pixels. The company conceded that the risk of burn-in exists but the fact that Samsung Display is launching a monitor panel as part of its first-gen products shows that it is confident in its technology. Dell Alienware's first QD-OLED monitor will also come with a three-year warranty that includes coverage for burn-in. The color conversion structure should be more energy efficient than LG Display's WOLED, which uses color filters to create color, and efficiency is the key to increasing overall and peak brightness and color volume while at the same time reducing the risk of burn-in. However, we will need to get our hands on samples before we can form conclusions and it is worth noting that a very significant portion of the energy loss happens in the oxide transistor backplane (QD-OLED uses LTPO as opposed to LTPS on normal Samsung OLED for mobile devices) before energy reaches the display panel. QD-OLED is cadmium-free.

QD-OLED first look

WOLED vs. QD-OLED according to Samsung. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

First look at QD-OLED

At CES 2022, FlatpanelsHD saw both Samsung Display's QD-OLED panels and Samsung Electronics' QD-OLED TV – Samsung's consumer product. We are not allowed to talk about the latter in detail yet but since it is based on the former, well... Sony did not exhibit A95K, its first QD-OLED TV, at CES 2022 but FlatpanelsHD will get a chance to see it later. TCL has abandoned its plan to launch QD-OLED TVs based on Samsung Display's panel, the company has revealed to FlatpanelsHD. QD-OLED is glorious. You get everything that makes OLED special today but with higher overall and peak brightness as well as better color saturation even at high brightness levels. And based on Samsung's demonstrations you still get those inky blacks that make OLED capable of delivering extremely high contrast – the most important picture component. QD-OLED is not really comparable to any of the "QLED", "ULED", "QNED" TVs out there. These are LCD TVs and while they also use quantum dots, it is a different approach where the quantum dots sit behind the LCD display from which almost all picture characteristics are defined. QD-OLED is OLED and in one presentation Samsung Display compared QD-OLED to WOLED to miniLED LCD side-by-side – photos below are mainly to show you the setup, don't form conclusions based on them.

QD-OLED demo

QD-OLED panel (top) vs. LG G1 WOLED (left) vs. 1000-zone miniLED IPS LCD (right). Photo: FlatpanelsHD

QD-OLED demo

QD-OLED panel (top) vs. LG G1 WOLED (left) vs. 1000-zone miniLED IPS LCD (right). Photo: FlatpanelsHD

QD-OLED demo

QD-OLED panel (top) vs. LG G1 WOLED (left) vs. 1000-zone miniLED IPS LCD (right). Photo: FlatpanelsHD

QD-OLED demo

QD-OLED panel (top) vs. LG G1 WOLED (left) vs. 1000-zone miniLED IPS LCD (right). Photo: FlatpanelsHD

From the demonstration, it was clear that QD-OLED was the better display technology. It produced even higher contrast with more intensity in white than WOLED. QD-OLED also had a visibly larger color gamut / volume, especially at high luminance. The viewing angle was even wider than WOLED's already-excellent viewing angle. The miniLED LCD (approx. 1000 zones) did not come close to matching any of the OLED displays except in outdoor scenes with very high overall brightness – not surprising since QD-OLED is still limited to 200 nits fullscreen white. However, we remain cautious and do not want to go into doo much detail since all three displays were in Vivid picture mode and the WOLED appeared to be dimmer overall than it should be – perhaps due to a light sensor or Eco mode picture setting. On the other hand Samsung's QD-OLED panel looked too saturated in some scenes. Green trees sometimes looked sick. Again, this is a matter of picture calibration and all three were in Vivid mode, so hardly surprising. Still, it was clear from the demonstration that QD-OLED has a lot of headroom in color saturation. Samsung Display also compared the 34-inch QD-OLED monitor panel to JOLED's panel (used in various <32-inch monitors including LG's) and a curved LCD monitor. Again, these were not calibrated but you should still be able to see that QD-OLED can go to quite high color saturation and brightness.

QD-OLED demo

QD-OLED monitor panel (top) vs. JOLED monitor (left) vs. curved LCD monitor (right). Photo: FlatpanelsHD

In another demonstration, Samsung Display compared QD-OLED to a conventional LCD consumer monitor, which looked like ancient technology in comparison. HDR – or deep contrast, if you will – continues to be a fatamorgana in the PC monitor space, which should not come as a surprise to anyone. WOLED and QD-OLED should change that fact in the coming years.

Dell QD-OLED monitor

LCD monitor vs. Dell Alienware's QD-OLED monitor. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

Dell QD-OLED monitor

LCD monitor vs. Dell Alienware's QD-OLED monitor. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

As Samsung Display rightly pointed out, OLED is not just a little faster than LCD, it is much faster. You will see many LCD monitors quoted as 1ms GtG, or GtoG, which means "Grey to Grey", but LCD monitors are not actually 1ms displays. That 1ms response time specification only applies to the fastest or some of the fastest transitions while other color transitions can be much slower – 10ms, 20ms or even +50ms. Also, to reach those fantasy specifications LCD monitors use 'overdrive' to overshoot the intended color before it settles (because overshooting speeds up the transition). It is what you often perceive as the bright halo surrounding a moving object on an LCD panel as opposed to ghosting which looks more like a smear of the image. In response to a question by FlatpanelsHD, Samsung Display added that QD-OLED should not suffer from issues like flicker or raised blacks in VRR mode, but again we reserve judgment. Our main concern with QD-OLED is cost as we expect the first panels to be very expensive and we are a little disappointed to learn that the largest QD-OLED panel is 65 inches. Samsung Display informed us that it is in the process of retooling its Asan, South Korea, production facility from LCD to QD-OLED production but it will obviously take time. Samsung Display has only one remaining LCD line in Asan. As it converts more capacity to QD-OLED panels – or expands capacity further in other ways – it will be able to reduce costs and produce a wider range of QD-OLED panel sizes and form factors. LG Display still has a major advantage in the sense that it has optimized and efficient production facilities (in Paju, South Korea, and Guangzhou, China) that now produce 42- to 97-inch panels that can be sold at increasingly affordable prices. LG Display is also planning to introduce 'OLED EX' that will come closer to matching QD-OLED in brightness although not in color saturation / volume. From a consumer perspective it is great to see another major player start mass-production of OLED TV panels. Increased competition should lead to better products and lower prices in the medium-long term. Overall, I am very impressed with QD-OLED. It is the next step.

QD-OLED

Quantum dot ink. Photo: FlatpanelsHD




Latest news

Samsung S95B

Global LCD TV sales expected to fall in 2022, OLED TV sales to rise

20 May 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |
8K QLED BOE

World's first true QLED display with 8K resolution unveiled

19 May 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |
Hisense U6HF

Hisense launches its first Fire TV

18 May 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |
Amazon Freevee

Amazon Freevee is now available on Apple TV

17 May 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |
Android TV vs. Google TV

Android TV vs. Google TV: Differences and TV models

17 May 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |
Netflix movies 2022

Netflix's summer 2022 movie slate

16 May 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |
Apple TV

New Apple TV coming later in 2022 – rumor

13 May 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |
Moonfall

iTunes 4K: Uncharted, Moonfall, The Batman, The Hills Have Eyes, Ambulance

13 May 2022 | Flatpanels |