Difference Between OLED and QLED

OLED and QLED are regarded as two modern and high-quality television designs in the current television market. However, despite having very similar acronyms, they are not made at all the same.


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QLED stood for Quantum dot Light Emitting Diode and was originally a marketing term devised by Samsung; however, it has since been licensed to other companies.

Key Takeaways

  1. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) displays produce light, allowing for perfect blacks, high contrast ratios, and thinner panels.
  2. QLED (Quantum Light Emitting Diodes) displays use a quantum dot layer to enhance color and brightness. However, they still rely on LED backlights, resulting in thicker panels and lower contrast ratios.
  3. Both OLED and QLED offer advantages in color accuracy and image quality. Still, OLED is generally better for darkroom performance and wider viewing angles, while QLED is better for brighter environments and larger screen sizes.


The difference between OLED and QLED is that the design of a QLED screen is similar to a regular LCD screen in that it has an LED backlight shining forward through several layers to illuminate pixels and display an image. This is known as transmissive technology.


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This is a fundamentally different design from an OLED screen, where each pixel creates its light source in a multitude of different colours. This is known as emissive technology.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonQLEDOLED
The physical size of the televisionMore size options (49-98 inches)Only 55 and 65 inches. Thinner
Colour rangeVery wide (83% of REC2020)Wide (75% of REC2020)
Peak brightness2,000 NITS550-600 NITS
Cost of buyingAlmost always cheaper30-50% more expensive
Quality of blacksSo-so. A blocked light sourceAbsolute black. Best possible.
Optimal viewing angleAs square as possibleAnywhere except extremes


What is OLED?

The acronym OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode and comes from the fact that each pixel on the screen is also a minuscule LED, able to produce both colour and light.

Due to each pixel having its independent light source, it is also able to shut off entirely, giving an incredible quality to the colour black, as it is genuinely an absence of light.

The ability to completely shut off the light to parts of the screen also means the contrast is perfect on OLED televisions without needing to achieve incredibly high levels of brightness.

Without the need for an LED backlight, OLED screens have become some of the slimmest devices on the market, like the LG “wallpaper” TV, measuring just four millimetres wide.

Some models are even able to curl up like a rug to be tucked away out of sight.

Another benefit to eliminating LED backlighting is that the pixel’s light source is very close to the front of the screen and can, therefore, be seen perfectly clearly from a much wider angle.

At this stage, OLED televisions have very few drawbacks. However, some people have noted an increased prevalence of “burn-in”.

This is when the prolonged display of an icon or logo in the same position on the screen results in a permanent shadow or outline, even when the screen is off or switched to another program.

With this top-of-the-line technology, it stands to reason that OLED televisions are consistently the most expensive option on the market.

In recent years as technology has progressed, we have fortunately seen prices dropping to the point where now, consumers are able to find OLED televisions that will not break the budget.


What is QLED?

The acronym QLED is a marketing term invented by Samsung and stands for Quantum dot Light Emitting Diode.

However, this is a bit of a misnomer as the name suggests a quantum diode or single point that emits its light, but the technology uses an LED shining onto an LCD screen, just like all other LCD televisions.

What makes it different from a standard LCD screen is the “quantum dot filter”, a layer of aluminium compound between the LED backlight and the screen for light to pass through.

The quantum dot filter improves the efficiency of the light travelling through and helps to create an almost perfect white light that passes onto the LCD screen.

QLED televisions are capable of brightness levels up to two thousand NIT, which is more than twice the minimum requirement of HDR screening and makes for an incredibly vibrant image.

The quantum layer also reportedly produces a larger gamut of colour and is especially efficient at maintaining well-saturated colours at extreme brightness.

This makes for a better picture whilst viewing the screen in well-lit areas, e.g. outdoors.

For high-end televisions, QLED screens are reasonably priced in comparison to other market options. However, energy consumption can be elevated due to the constant LED backlight.

One of the only drawbacks of the QLED screen is that having a constant, white backlight means that to produce the colour black, the pixel “blocks out” the light instead of truly shutting it off.

This means that you can end up with murky/grey blacks on the screen, and shadows may be apparent or develop over time in images where well-lit areas are bordered by darkness.


Main Differences Between OLED and QLED

  1. QLED screens are essentially LCD screens with an added “quantum dot” layer between the LED backlight and the LCD. In contrast, OLED screens contain individual pixels capable of creating light and colours.
  2. An optimal image can be viewed from a much wider angle on an OLED screen due to the light source being extremely close to the front of the screen.
  3. Due to the ability of the pixels to completely turn off, black levels of OLED televisions are far superior and often touted as the main difference between the two technologies.
  4. QLED technology boasts a slightly higher colour gamut than OLED screens. However, no significant difference has been noted by viewers due to the OLED technology compensating with the incredible contrast achieved by its black levels.
  5. OLED technology also has a much faster response time to commands and changes in scenery, optimising video gameplay and action sequences in films and television.
  6. The price of a brand-new QLED television is approximately thirty per cent cheaper than an OLED equivalent; however, the gap has been closing since the inception of OLED in 2013.
Difference Between X and Y 32
  1. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0022-3727/49/31/315101/meta
  2. https://www.osapublishing.org/abstract.cfm?uri=oe-22-S7-A1783
  3. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7858737/
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