How Samsung’s QD-OLED hybrid might handle LG for TELEVISION supremacy


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Samsung offers LCD-based QLED Televisions today, however its future might be connected into big-screen OLED.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There are 2 fundamental TELEVISION innovations on the marketplace today: LCD and OLED. LCD-based Televisions are far more typical and popular due to the fact that they’re cheaper and simpler to make. OLED Televisions have much better photo quality however expense more cash. LCD TV-makers utilize a range of improvements to enhance image quality, among which is called quantum dots.

Samsung offers more Televisions than any other brand name, however they’re all based upon LCD, not OLED. In March, nevertheless, Samsung Display revealed it was ending all LCD production in Korea and its factories in China by the end of 2020. Going forward, the business’s financial investment will be concentrated on developing advanced quantum dot display screens.

That does not indicate we’ll see a Samsung OLED TELEVISION this year, however one might be coming right after, and it might have the very best photo yet. Here’s why.

Samsung’s $11 billion bet on quantum dots

Samsung has actually been offering LCD Televisions improved by quantum dots for the last couple of years under its QLED brand name, and its 2020 lineup has more Qs than ever. In our tests Samsung’s QLED Televisions do not match the total image quality of OLED, nevertheless, generally due to the fact that of OLED’s extraordinary contrast and off-angle efficiency. And at the minute just one business makes big-screen OLED screen panels: LG.

But what if you could integrate the advantages of quantum dots with the contrast ratios of OLED? It would produce a sort of hybrid TELEVISION with, possibly, photo quality much better than any present TELEVISION. 

Last October Samsung revealed it was developing a factory to do simply that:

Samsung Display will invest 13.1 trillion won by 2025 to develop “Q1 Line,” the world’s very first QD screen mass production line at Asan Campus. The brand-new line is set up to begin production in 2021 with a preliminary 30,000 sheets (8.5 generations) and will produce a big QD screen of 65 inches or bigger.   

That’s a financial investment of around $11.1 billion. While Samsung calls this “QD display,” it isn’t electroluminescent, aka “direct view” quantum dots. That innovation is still numerous years away. This is going to be a QD-OLED hybrid.

At the statement, South Korean President Moon Jae-in likewise referenced Samsung’s competing LG in concerns to Korea’s location in world TELEVISION production: “It is important to maintain the top spot of the global display market with game-changing technologies,” Moon stated. “Following LG Display’s 3 trillion-won investment in large OLED panel production in July, Samsung Display’s latest investment plan brightens prospects further.”

Samsung declares it wishes to begin production in 2021. So how will it work? Samsung hasn’t responded to our ask for extra details, however Nanosys, a business that makes quantum dots, has actually shared some information. Its CEO, Jason Hartlove, is naturally bullish on the innovation, which counts on transforming light from an OLED panel.

“Quantum Dot Color Conversion is a completely new way of rendering color in displays,” he informed CNET. “The result is pure quantum dot color with much higher efficiency as no light is lost in a color filter. We’ve worked closely with a number of development partners on implementations for both LCD and OLED technologies and expect to see the first QDCC product launches over the next 12-18 months.”

How QD-OLED would work


A streamlined diagram of how a QD-OLED hybrid would work. A blue OLED product would produce all the blue light, plus the light energy that red and green quantum dots would utilize to produce red and thumbs-up.


Combining quantum dots and OLED might play to the strengths of both innovations. The concept with any TELEVISION is to produce red, green and blue light. LED LCDs with quantum dots, like Samsung’s present QLED Televisions, utilize blue LEDs and a layer of quantum dots to transform a few of that blue into red and green. With the present variation of OLED, yellow and blue OLED products produce “white” light. In both cases, color filters let pass just what color is required for that particular subpixel.  

The concept with a QD-OLED is to streamline these styles into one, by utilizing OLED to produce blue light, and after that a quantum dot layer to transform a few of the blue into red and green.


How Nanosys imagines QD-OLED will work. Samsung’s variation will likely be comparable. A blue OLED layer produces blue light, which goes through a quantum dot color conversion (“QDCC”) layer that transforms a few of that blue into red and green. Thanks to how quantum dots work this is considerably more effective than utilizing color filters.


There are lots of benefits to this approach, in theory. By utilizing just one color or product of OLED, the production expenses go way down considering that it’s simpler to develop. LG, for example, utilizes just 2 OLED products, blue and yellow, for every single pixel throughout the whole screen. Light-obstructing color filters produce the green and red. QDs have almost 100% effectiveness, considerably much better than filters, so in theory the hybrid Televisions will be much better. Plus, there’s the possibility of even larger color ranges at all brightness levels.


On the left, the present variation of OLED. “White” in LG’s case being a mix of blue and yellow OLED products. On the right, how QD-OLED will likely work, utilizing just blue OLED, and after that transforming a few of that with red and green quantum dots.


Because each pixel can be turned off, these hybrid Televisions will likewise have the extraordinary contrast ratios that OLED is understood for.

Since blue OLED products still age quicker than red and green, having the whole panel one color suggests the TELEVISION ages more uniformly without any color shift. Keeping that aging to a minimum, and therefore having a TELEVISION that does not appear dim after a couple of years, is among the crucial production problems. This is particularly real in this HDR age of severe brightness levels.


An extremely, extremely closeup view of a QDCC layer. Behind this might be either blue LEDs, or blue OLED. Either method, the color that comes out is red, green and blue.


While this brand-new Samsung plant is concentrating on TV-size display screens, the innovation might operate in phone-sized display screens too. Since Samsung does not appear to have any problem making exceptional little OLEDs, I’d be amazed if it remains in any rush to distress that market with something as advanced as this. Also, Samsung’s phone-sized OLEDs utilize red, green and blue OLEDs compared to LG’s blue-yellow. Samsung attempted to make RGB OLED Televisions and simply could not make them successful.

As pointed out previously, it’s clear Samsung thinks highly in this innovation, considering that it’s ending production of LCDs at its factories in Korea and China. This does not indicate that beginning next year it will not offer any LCDs. Samsung is an enormous business, and the part of the business that makes LCDs, Samsung Display, is stopping production. The part of the business that offers Televisions, Samsung Electronics, has actually made no such statement. There are currently reports it’ll be purchasing LCD panels from none besides previous sometimes-rival sometimes-partner Sharp. It’s certainly a short-term plan, however an intriguing one at that.

Into the future

It’s possible, perhaps even most likely, that LG is dealing with a comparable QD-OLED hybrid. Right now it’s not stating (we asked). It is, nevertheless, the sensible next action for OLED prior to whatever next generation of TELEVISION tech shows up. And for what it deserves LG Display likewise revealed it would end domestic manufacture of LCD panels by the end of 2020.

And what about even farther-future screen tech? Well, the quantum dot folks appear to believe direct-view quantum dot display screens are simply a couple of years off. These electroluminescent quantum dots, or ELQD, would have all the advantages of OLED, all the advantages of QD and none of the problems of LCD or the wear and durability issues of OLED. An extremely appealing tech undoubtedly.

Then there’s the concern of what Samsung will call this brand-new QD-OLED innovation, considering that it’s currently branded its present Televisions as “QLED.” It’s a winner it will not be calling them OLED anything, because that’s LG’s “thing” and Samsung is currently attempting to utilize the worry of burn-in to trash-talk the innovation. 

The other brand-new TELEVISION tech on the horizon from Samsung and others is MicroLED. This has a lot of the very same advantages as the QD-OLED hybrid, however does not filth around with those bothersome organics. That’s even further in the future, nevertheless, most likely someplace in time in between QD-OLED and direct-view quantum dot display screens. Oh, and MicroLEDs utilize quantum dots too. They’re an interesting innovation with usages far beyond TELEVISION screens.

Got a concern for Geoff? First, take a look at all the other posts he’s composed on subjects like why you should not purchase pricey HDMI cable televisions, TELEVISION resolutions discussed, how HDR works and more.

Still have a concern? Tweet at him @TechWriterGeoff, then take a look at his travel photography on Instagram. He likewise believes you ought to take a look at his very popular sci-fi book and its follow up. 

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