Samsung QLED TV: The Birth of a New Viewing Experience, or Just Marketing Hype?

In a press release dated January 3rd, Samsung Electronics’ President of the Visual Display Business, Hyun Suk Kim, noted that their QLED technology is destined to “redefine the television category and usher in a new era of TV.”

How so? Here’s what we know so far:

Improved Picture Quality

Samsung’s flagship QLED 65” TV lineup features three models; the Q9 (flat), Q8 (curved), and the Q7 (no additional details provided).

Built into each of these 4K models are quantum dots, which are light emitting diodes much smaller than the width of a human hair.

By using a new metal, Kim said the quantum dots in their QLED TVs will deliver dramatically enhanced color performance and brightness, the expression of the deepest black levels, as well as rich detail, regardless of the viewing environment.

In fact, Kim says Samsung’s QLED TVs will “provide the most true-to-life picture on screen.”

In their CES 2017 review, Digital Trends adds that QLED TVs feature a much better viewing angle than previous models and a new anti-reflective coating. Here’s Samsung’s up-close-and-personal promotional video:

What About From a Design Perspective?

To help control clutter and minimize unsightliness, Samsung introduced a clear, “invisible” optical cable that passes the cable signal from the One Connect box, which can be stored next to your DVD player, game console, or cable box.

There’s also just one clean cable that comes out the back, which can run directly into Samsung’s easel-style stand, allowing you to enjoy your QLED TV without an entertainment center.

Looking for more traditional options? QLED TVs can also mount to an inverted cone tabletop stand that swivels.

QLED TV DisplayHere, we can see Samsung’s new easel-style stand and tabletop mounting system for their QLED TVs. Image credit: Samsung Electronics

Speaking of mounting, Samsung recognized that many of us want to mount our televisions, but more than half think it’s too much of a hassle to be bothered.

To address this, the company put QLED’s mounting system on the inside, which cuts down on the overall profile, allows it to sit almost flush against the wall, and makes the mounting process much easier. Note: You’ll still need to mount your QLED to a wall stud.

A Whole New Interface & User Experience

While we’re not told anything specific, the Digital Trends article above noted that Samsung’s new QLED TVs will automatically recognize more of your devices.

Samsung’s new Sports service will display a summary of your favorite sports teams and games and recommend programming accordingly. Similarly, music can identify songs played on TV shows.

Finally, the Smart Remote included with Samsung’s QLED TVs will give you the opportunity to control every connected TV device from a single source.

How Much Will Samsung’s QLED LED TVs Cost?

Officially, Samsung hasn’t released a price yet for their QLED TVs, although The Verge notes that their current K9800 4K SUHD TV retails for $3,500.

We’re also not informed about a release date, but we’ll be sure to update this article as soon as there’s news.

But should you wait expectantly for QLED TVs, especially if you purchased one of Samsung’s SUHD TVs over the past few years? 

QLED vs. OLED: Which Is Better?

If your mind’s spinning from all the acronyms flying around, let’s quickly break them down:

What’s the Difference Between SUHD & OLED?

In a nutshell, SUHD is just Samsung’s marketing spin on 4K (or Ultra HD) TV, which uses LED-backlit LCD technology to generate a picture on the screen.

On the other hand, OLED (organic light-emitting diode) is a newer display technology that features quantum dots. This involves a thin layer of nanocrystals placed in front of a regular backlit panel.

When light hits these crystals, the color emitted depends on each one’s size (anywhere between 2 and 10 nanometers in diameter).

How Does OLED Compare to QLED?

Want the technical explanation? Here it is according to

“The structure of a QLED is very similar to the OLED technology. But the difference is that the light emitting centers are cadmium selenide (CdSe) nanocrystals, or quantum dots. A layer of cadmium-selenium quantum dots is sandwiched between layers of electron-transporting and hole-transporting organic materials. An applied electric field causes electrons and holes to move into the quantum dot layer, where they are captured in the quantum dot and recombine, emitting photons. The spectrum of photon emission is narrow, characterized by its full width at half the maximum value.”

Want the easy-to-understand explanation? Instead of the barium and calcium used in OLED technology, QLED uses a different metal called cadmium selenide that allows them to display a wider range of color (99 percent of the DCI-P3 color space), along with the ability to retain full color volume, regardless of brightness.

Samsung’s OLED TVs produced 1,000 nits (a measure of luminance, or how much luminous power will be detected by the eye), whereas we’re told QLED models have a peak brightness of between 1,500 and 2,000 nits. If you enjoy HDR material, this means it’ll pop more.

As we mentioned above, this also means QLED TVs can produce deeper black levels than older models, are more durable, while remaining ultrathin. They use less power than OLED models and are supposed to cost less to manufacture.

We’ll have to wait and see if this lower cost is reflected in the final retail price.  

QLED TV Twitter MentionMashable’s Raymond Wong tweeted this image showing the difference between Samsung’s QLED and OLED displays. Image credit: Mashable

Are There Any Hands-On Reviews with Samsung’s QLED TVs? What About the Competition?

In addition to suggested retail price, another key detail noticeably absent from Samsung’s QLED announcement is the release date. Other than some close-up time at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, no media outlets had provided any in-depth feedback at writing.

And while Samsung’s QLED technology might be unique, Forbes’ John Archer recently reported that LG (perhaps Samsung’s biggest rival) announced its upcoming Nano Cell color technology promises to deliver purer, more accurate color reproduction than QLED using particles as small as one nanometer.

Will it also deliver the same durability and lower cost as QLED? Again, we’ll just have to wait and see once these technologies have met the public.

In the meantime, Engadget noted, “It's always nice to see steady improvements in the 4K world, but honestly I'm more interested in the other ways Samsung is trying to make our home entertainment lives easier. There are still plenty of problems to solve, after all.”

Do you have an inside scoop about Samsung’s QLED technology? Will you be one of the first in line to buy one? Give us your insight by leaving a comment below! 

Derek Lakin

With more than a decade of experience as a copywriter, Derek takes a detail-oriented, step-by-step approach to help you shop smarter. Whether it’s nutritional supplements or new scams, he believes an informed consumer is a happy customer.