Provided that screens are the primary medium of communication today, it is essential to be deliberate when choosing them. In other words, aspects like resolution and display technology should be key when making decisions. QLED and UHD are two choices you will often have to choose from. Use this article as a guide to understanding them better.
What is QLED?
QLED in full is Quantum dot LED. Samsung invented QLED display technology. QLED displays are comprised of quantum dots embedded in LCD panels. As a pioneer, Samsung used this display technology on television screens. The LCD panels have been used by different manufacturers.
The quantum dots are merged with the LCD panel to make a more efficient display — the QLED display. Depending on the QLED manufacturer, this process will be different, however, the end goal is to make a more advanced LCD screen that is illuminated by quantum dot LED.
In the manufacturer of QLED displays, LED lights are placed beneath the LCD panel and used as the backlight. The purpose of quantum dots in this hybrid is to enhance color filtering for accurate color reproduction. Therefore, the LEDs increase screen brightness while the quantum dots improve vibrance.
What does UHD mean?
Screen resolution is defined primarily by the number of pixels it has. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution. Displays that are considered sufficiently high definition (HD) have 720p or 1080p. This is referred to as HD and full HD, respectively.
Above this range, resolutions become known as ultra-high definition (UHD). Right after 1080p or full HD, we have the 4K resolution. It has a pixel density of 8.3 million, or 3,840×2,160 pixels. 4K is the base standard for UHD resolution.
The high pixel density of UHD displays helps display accurate colors, edges, and overall image quality. They also support features like HDR, thereby improving the contrast, luminance, and image colors. When these features are enhanced in an image, the visual receptors are able to record the fine details in an image.
While the term UHD is interchangeably used with 4K, it is important to note that UHD does not exclusively mean 4K resolution. There are more advanced resolutions, like 8K, which are also referred to as UHD. It all depends on the manufacturer and their standards.
What is Dynamic Crystal Color UHD?
This is a spin-off of Samsung’s quantum dot display technology. It is meant to improve the existing quantum dot technology. As a result, the UHD displays, (high pixel density displays) are more vibrant like regular QLED screens.
Dynamic Crystal Color displays have wider color gamuts, vibrance, and contrast. Moreover, they support HDR content to enable accurate representation of the content. Therefore, dynamic crystal color UHD displays benefit from the capabilities of quantum dots and high pixel densities to showcase lifelike and colorful displays.
QLED vs UHD: How do they Work?
The mechanisms of how QLED and UHD work depends on the underlying technology and the manufacturer. However, both have a standard framework that manufacturers modify in their manufacturing.
How QLED work
The primary aim of QLED technology is to enhance the brightness of the display. For this to happen, there are algorithms and hardware that work in tandem.
The hardware is supported by the quantum dots. These tiny nanoparticles possess unique qualities that enhance color filtering in LCD panels. The conventional LCD without quantum dots is not efficient at filtering out unwanted colors. As a result, the filtering leads to dim images if the colors filtered out make up the color of the image.
Quantum dots solve this issue since they emit specific colors when illuminated. On top of that, they absorb light at various wavelengths. The ability to absorb light at various wavelengths ensures that the quantum dots absorb all the light in an image. Consequently, the display is able to accurately show the colors contained in the image.
QLED panels also enhance color and brightness using features like local dimming. This is where the display automatically scans the input signal (content) and determines where it needs to dim or brighten to achieve balanced contrast. This is why QLED displays have superior contrast and brightness without affecting the quality of the content.
How UHD works
Screens can have similar sizes but different resolutions. This is achieved by using more pixels that are smaller in size. Additionally, the distance between the pixels (pixel pitch) can be reduced to ensure more pixels are used. Then lastly, advanced pixel encapsulation techniques can also be used to manufacture high-resolution displays.
The standard resolution of UHD displays is 3,840×2,160P regardless of the pixel encapsulation method used by the manufacturer. This is four times the pixel density of full HD displays, which is 1080x1920p.
The benefits of high pixel densities seen in UHD displays include clear images, HDR capabilities, upscaling, and overall improved image quality.
To clarify the benefits include;
- Clarity. The images appear sharper even when viewing the screen from close distances. In other words, there are reduced blurry lines and pixelation.
- HDR capabilities. High dynamic range is a feature embedded in the content. It expands the range of brightness and contrast. Such features work best with high-resolution displays like 4K UHD.
- Upscaling. If the content is encoded in a specific resolution, say 1080p, a UHD display can upscale its resolution. This happens automatically and it can make the content look sharper and more detailed than its native resolution.
These benefits coupled with the features make UHD resolutions desirable and reliable in many situations.
QLED vs UHD: Features
There are particular qualities that both QLED and UHD displays possess that can be attributed to their capabilities. Let us discuss some of them.
Features of a UHD display
While high pixel density defines a UHD display, there are other features that make it stand out from the others. These features include;
Enhanced picture quality
If you stare at multiple screens playing similar content at the same time, you can easily identify the UHD screen. The images will appear significantly sharper and more refined than the rest. This is because of the high pixel density of the display. Enhanced picture quality makes it easy to see the details of an image.
Suitable for large screens
The full capabilities of UHD are best experienced on a large screen. This is the case because no matter how close, the pixels are invisible, and the details of the image are enhanced. All the same, UHD is not limited to large screens.
Wide color gamut
This is also called color range. UHD displays are capable of showing various colors of the spectrum. This feature makes the display reproduce colors that the human eye has not seen before, but they exist. Color gamut, in other words, is an accurate representation of true color.
Immersive Viewing Experience
This feature is tied to the wide color gamut that UHD displays have. An immersive viewing experience means the visuals are captivating enough to make you enjoy the content and pay full attention. The colors are also heightened by the high resolution of the display, equally improving the viewing experience.
Realistic viewing experience
Realism is important in certain conditions. For instance, video game players value realism since it helps create the best play experience. Also, an accurate display is essential in gameplay. The high resolution, color calibration, HDR, and other features of UHD lead to a realistic viewing experience.
Wide viewing angles
Viewing angles are the direction from which one can clearly make out the content displayed on a screen. Viewing angle is affected by many factors, one of them being the resolution of a screen. Expectedly, a display with a high resolution has a wider viewing angle than a low-res display.
Better motion handling
This is the ability of a screen to capture dynamic content and show it smoothly as possible without loss of details. This feature is desired in fast-paced content like sports content. As such, when viewed on a display that does not support high FPS content, it looks odd. Luckily, UHD screens support up to 60fps content, which is adequate for smoothness.
Features of a QLED display
QLED display technology is making headlines across the world for its superior qualities as well. The following are some of the common features that are expected or standard across the board.
The quantum-dot technology
As the underlying and defining feature of QLED displays, the quantum-dot technology is intrinsically a feature. Earlier, we explored how the quantum dots illuminate to display an image on the screen. Regular LCD panels illuminated by LED lights would not come close to what an LCD with quantum dots achieves.
In this context, luminance is the measure of light emitted by a panel. This feature is important because it ensures content displayed is visible regardless of the lighting conditions. In other words, the content displayed is visible even in lowly-lit as well as well-lit areas.
QLED displays have high luminance because the quantum dots absorb all the light in an image at different wavelengths. Moreover, the color filtering of quantum dots ensures colors are represented accurately. Subsequently, this creates a bright and well-balanced color image output.
When it comes to comparisons, the energy efficiency of QLEDs can be compared to that of OLEDs and LCDs. Among the two LCDs are more similar to QLEDs so it makes sense to compare their energy efficiency to them.
Generally, QLEDs are more energy efficient than LCDs. This is because the fluorescent bulbs used for backlighting LCDs consumed more energy and they lacked energy-saving techniques. QLEDs however have dimming capabilities, do not require separate backlighting, and the quantum dots are self-luminous.
High Color Accuracy
Color accuracy is desired in many applications. It means that the color being shown on the screen is representative of the original color in the signal encoding. QLEDs are able to be highly accurate at color processing because of the quantum-dot technology. Specifically, the quantum dots emit in narrow wavelengths, which contributes to color accuracy.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) Capabilities
Having understood how the quantum dots work, you can expect that it handles HDR content as smoothly as a UHD. The brightness, contrast, and wide color gamut supported by the nanoparticles ensure that bright and dark colors are shown in various levels, for a more realistic image.
QLED vs UHD: Similarities between QLED and UHD
While QLED and UHD have distinct characteristics and specifications, they share a number of similarities. Still, these similarities will vary based on several factors. Some of the notable similarities include;
Improves Picture Quality
Picture quality is defined by many factors. There is color reproduction, resolution, contrast ratio, and brightness, among others. The picture quality is said to be high when these factors are high too.
Ultra-high definition supports high picture quality because of the high pixel density of the display. This works best if the content format is already in high quality, say, for instance, 4K footage. Similarly, the advanced color filtering and luminosity of quantum dots of QLED displays support advanced picture quality.
Television technologies are heavily influenced by automation, artificial intelligence, and other elements. These smart features improve the advanced technologies, whether it is the superior resolution of UHDs or modern display technologies of QLEDs. These features enhance the existing functionalities of UHD and QLED displays.
Variety of design
While technologies like QLED were first implemented by Samsung, other display manufacturers have adopted this technology for their own models. As a result, there are various designs of QLED displays in the market.
The same goes for UHD standards. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) established this term to denote 4K resolutions without limiting them to a particular manufacturer. This means that any company can create a 4K resolution, thereby contributing to the diversity in design and specifications in the market.
Support advanced applications
The applications of display panels stretch beyond entertainment. The adoption of technology in sectors like education, the military, and other key sectors has demanded the inclusion of high-tech display technologies.
Both QLED and UHD are among the key technologies being used in these sectors. This is because they have the features required for advanced applications and heavy usage which is expected in these settings.
QLED Displays have UHD Resolution
Whereas this is not standard everywhere, QLED displays are made with ultra-high definitions. Think about how much could be achieved when the qualities of both technologies are harnessed.
A QLED display with 8.3 million pixels (3840x2160p) is superior in many ways imaginable. In the end, the goal of both QLED and UHD is to provide the best viewing experience possible, without compromising anything.
Differences between QLED vs UHD
When differentiating QLED and UHD displays, we can consider several factors as reference points. Factors such as technologies, function, performance, and cost are key. Let us look at how the two stand out based on these factors.
Type of Technology
While the concepts are related, QLED and UHD represent two distinct technologies. On one hand, QLED is based on a display technology while UHD is a display resolution. Clearly, these are two different concepts, but in the same line field — television design.
Differentiating the two in terms of the technology or category is essential to establish boundaries. It also helps identify features and merit them appropriately.
The aims of UHD and QLED are different. While the objective of both is to improve the quality of the display, they have different ways in which they achieve it.
Ultra high-definition displays focus on packing high pixels on the display while QLED aims at improving the performance of the pixels. One could say that UHDs functionalities are dependent on the quantity of pixels while QLEDs are based on the quality of the pixels.
Color is among the most vital characteristics of a modern display panel. This is because of the wide spectrum of colors that content exists in. Given the many display technologies in the market, you would expect different reproduction of colors by these displays.
UHD displays are not primarily optimized for optimal color performance, unlike QLED displays. However, there is an exception if the QLED display has a UHD resolution. Either way, the color performance creates a boundary between these two panels.
While this topic is subjective, we can use industry standards to compare the two based on it. Of course, prices depend on various factors such as models, market forces, company standards, and so on. Price points can be compared in terms while keeping these constraints in mind.
Typically, prices will be low or high depending on your budget. In other words, you will find either affordable or costly models. Categorically, UHD models are cost-effective when compared to QLEDs.
How to Choose Between QLED vs UHD
Are you looking for better color technology or high resolution? This is among the questions that will help you choose between QLED and UHD. At the end of the day, your specific preferences are what matter. The following considerations will help you make an informed decision.
Bright Colors vs Clear Images
We have established that QLED displays focus on providing accurate colors while UHD focuses on clear images. Let us take for instance you value sharp images over bright colors. In this case, you should choose a UHD display. However, you could enjoy both if the QLED panel is ultra HD.
There is a difference between the commercial and non-commercial needs of a display panel. These needs should be considered when choosing between two technologies that are closely related.
In most cases, the uses of a commercial display panel would typically prioritize details over color vibrance. This is true, especially for corporate environments. As such, a UHD display would be appropriate. In other settings like home entertainment systems, colors, and brightness could be priorities. Hence, QLED displays would be desirable.
Generally, QLEDs are more energy efficient compared to most UHDs. However, energy efficiency would depend on the usage and display manufacturers. You might therefore find UHDs that have smart energy optimization techniques that are superior to the native efficiency of the nano superconductors of QLEDs.
Most buying decisions are made based on cost. This is because financial situations, relevance, and availability of options help the customer evaluate their options based on the prices. This is to say if the cost makes sense to you based on your conditions, you are most likely to buy the product.
When this logic is applied when choosing between QLED and UHD, you need to go for the one that offers the best value for the money. You can list the valuable features that you desire on a display and then match them to either QLED or UHD.
Display panels are among the biggest beneficiaries of technological advancements. QLEDs and UHDs are constantly evolving with time. Having understood these technologies, you are likely to make informed decisions on anything pertaining to them. Keep up with our recent blogs here to learn more about display technologies.