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How Samsung's QD OLED hybrid could battle LG for TV supremacy


Samsung today sells LCD-based QLED TVs, and a new investment means it may be selling OLED-based televisions in the future.

Sarah Tew / CNET

There are two basic TV technologies on the market today: LCD and OLED . LCD-based televisions are far more common and popular because they are cheaper and easier to manufacture. OLED TVs have a better picture quality, but cost more money. LCD TV manufacturers use a number of enhancements to improve image quality, one of which is referred to as quantum dots .

Samsung has been distributing LCD TVs improved by quantum dots for several years as part of the ] QLED and in CNET tests they have improved the color compared to other LCD devices. However, they do not agree with the overall picture quality of the OLED which is mainly due to the incredible contrast and off-angle performance of the OLED . And at the moment, only one company produces OLED big screens: LG.

But what if you could combine the benefits of quantum dots with the contrast ratios of OLEDs? It would create a kind of hybrid TV with possibly better picture quality than any other current TV set.

Samsung recently announced the construction of a factory to achieve just this:

Samsung Display will invest 13.1 trillion won in the construction of the "Q1 Line" by 2025, the world's first QD display mass production line the Asan campus. The new line is expected to begin production in 2021 with an initial 30,000 sheets (8.5 generations) and produce a large QD display of 65 inches or more.

That's an investment of around $ 11.1 billion. While Samsung calls this "QD display," it's not an electroluminescent, aka "direct view" quantum dot. This technology is still several years away. This will be a QD OLED hybrid.

In announcing the investment, Samsung Display President Moon Jae-in referred directly to the competitor LG. "It's important to stay ahead of the global display market with groundbreaking technologies," said Moon. "After LG Display invested $ 3 trillion in production of large OLED panels in July, the outlook has been further enhanced by Samsung Display's recent investment plan."

Samsung claims to start production in 2021, which may mean Will see a few TVs for the holidays this year. More likely, however, are prototypes at CES 2022.

What does all this mean? Samsung has not yet responded to our request for additional information, but Nanosys, a quantum dot manufacturing company, has provided some details on the likely operation of the technology.

How QD OLED Works

  samsung-qd -oled

A simplified diagram of how a QD OLED hybrid works. A blue OLED material would produce all the blue light plus the light energy, with the red and green quantum dots producing red and green light.


The combination of quantum dots and OLED could exploit the strengths of both technologies. The idea with any television set is to produce red, green, and blue light . LED LCDs with quantum dots, such as Samsung's current QLED TVs use blue LEDs and a layer of quantum dots to turn part of that blue into red and green. With the current OLED version, yellow and blue OLED materials produce "white" light . In both cases, color filters only let through the color needed for each subpixel.

With a QD OLED, these designs are to be simplified by using OLED to produce blue light, followed by a quantum dot layer to turn part of the blue into red and green.


How Nanosys imagines QD-OLED. The version of Samsung will probably be similar. A blue OLED layer produces blue light that passes through a quantum dot color conversion layer ("QDCC") that turns part of this blue into red and green. Due to the way quantum dots work, this is much more efficient than using color filters.


This method theoretically has many advantages. By using only one color or an OLED material, the manufacturing cost drops significantly, since the production is easier. For example, LG uses only two OLED materials, blue and yellow, for each pixel on the entire display. Light-blocking color filters produce green and red. QDs have an efficiency of almost 100% and are significantly better than filters. Theoretically, the hybrid TVs are so much brighter. There is also the possibility to extend the color range in all brightness levels even further .


Links the current version of the OLED. At LG, "White" is a combination of blue and yellow OLED materials. Correct as QD-OLED will probably work if only blue OLEDs are used and part of them are converted with red and green quantum dots.


Since every pixel can be switched off, these hybrid televisions also have the unbelievable contrast ratios for which OLED is known.

As blue OLED materials age faster than red and green, the uniform color of the entire panel causes the TV to age evenly, with no color shift. Limiting aging to having a TV that does not seem to be dark after a few years is one of the main manufacturing issues. This is especially true in this HDR era with extreme brightness levels.


A very, very close-up view of a QDCC layer behind it can be either blue LEDs or blue OLEDs. In both cases, the color that comes out is red, green and blue.


While this new Samsung system focuses on displays in TV format, the technology could also work on displays in the telephone format. Since Samsung does not seem to have a problem producing excellent small OLEDs, I would be surprised if it were in a hurry to annoy this market with something as advanced as this one. Even mobile-sized Samsung OLEDs use red, green and blue OLEDs compared to LG's blue-yellow. Samsung tried to make RGB OLED TVs and could not make them profitable.

Into the Future

LG may even work on a similar QD OLED hybrid. At the moment it does not mean (we asked). However, it is the logical next step for OLED before the next generation of TV technology occurs.

And what could that be? Well, the people with the quantum dots seem to think that direct-view quantum dot displays are only a few years away . These electroluminescent quantum dots or ELQD would have all the benefits of OLED, all the benefits of QD and none of the problems of LCD, or concerns about wear and life of OLED. A promising technology.

  direct-view-qd [19659040<direct-view-qd[19659016<TheimplementedQuantity-Point-DisplayincludesnoLCDmoreonlydirect-viewElectroluminescentquantumdots:GenausofunktioniertOLEDaberanorganicorganic-emitting-materialsaretheQuantities


Then the question arises as to what Samsung will call this new QD-OLED technology, as it already refers to its current televisions as "QLED". It is certain that they will not be referred to as OLED, as this is the "thing" of LG and Samsung is already trying to use the fear of burn-in to throw the technology in the bin. It is worth noting that the Samsung division that sells TVs, Samsung Electronics, is different from Samsung Display, the division that will manufacture these QD OLEDs . This has many of the same benefits as the QD OLED hybrid, but does not bother with those annoying organic substances. However, this is even further in the future, probably somewhere between QD OLED and direct view quantum dot displays. Oh, and MicroLEDs also use quantum dots. They are a fascinating technology with capabilities that go far beyond television screens .

Do you have a question for Geoff? First, look at all the other articles that he discusses such as why you should not buy expensive HDMI cables, explained TV resolutions, how HDR works, and more.

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