QLED and OLED: What's the difference?


If you’ve tried shopping for a new TV recently, you might be overwhelmed with the myriad technical details and jargon. So let’s look at two of the most common TV acronyms today: QLED—which is a category name for TVs that use a technology called quantum dot, and what VIZIO calls Quantum Color—and OLED. You’ll find these all over spec sheets and other literature these days. How do they differ, and why does it matter? Here’s what you need to know.

QLED and OLED each describe a unique type of technolgy used in today’s TVs. While both terms include the letters LED (Light Emitting Diode), and both technologies use LEDs, they do so in significantly different ways. VIZIO’s lineup includes a wide variety of QLED, or Quantum Color TVs, and recently announced an OLED TV for 2020


What’s the difference between QLED and OLED?

First let’s explore QLED (Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode), or more specifically, quantum dots. Think of quantum dots as tiny semiconductor particles that behave like color gels for whatever light passes through them. Now hold that thought. Beginning in the late ‘90s, TVs started using thin, flat panels -- mostly LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays) -- instead of heavy, bulky glass tubes. The vast majority of TVs today (including VIZIO’s) use LCDs. QLED is the latest advancement in LCD technology.

Typical LCDs work by shining a light source, in this case LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) through a series of layers -- polarizers, thin-film electrodes, and RGB (Red Blue Green) filters—to the liquid crystal layer. While these LEDs can be very bright, each layer robs some light and color accuracy. Now remember those quantum dots? Swapping some of these layers with quantum dots results in a brighter LCD with better contrast and energy efficiency. As such, VIZIO’s P- and M-series TVs with Quantum Color exhibit a wider color gamut and better picture. This is further enhanced by even brighter LEDs and additional local dimming zones. The result? A superb TV viewing experience.

But while quantum dot offers a step up in color performance, not all quantum dots are created equal. There are varying levels of quantum dot implementations available in the industry that provide different levels of color performance. Color can be measured using what’s called the rec2020 color space, and quite simply, the more coverage the better. This color space is the standard being used by Dolby Vision and other HDR formats, and is the widest colorspace currently available for electronic displays.

Many TVs in the industry that use quantum dot technology can reproduce colors centered within 70-80 percent of this color space, but VIZIO Quantum color TVs reach out to 85% of the rec2020 color space, which is the highest in the industry, and offers much more saturated reds, greens and blues. This is like going from the 16 crayon box to the 64 crayon box. VIZIO covers more colors and shades of colors that the human eye can see!

Now let’s consider OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode). While LCDs shine large LEDs through diffusers and RGB filters (or quantum dots) to illuminate individual pixels -- like a lamp behind a screen door -- OLEDs turn each individual pixel into an RGB light source -- like an array of tiny colored light bulbs. As a result, when an OLED pixel is off, it’s 100% black. They’re called “organic” because they use organic compounds that are electroluminescent—they emit light when subjected to electricity.

OLED TVs have some advantages over LCDs, especially for dark, theater-like rooms. OLED’s self-emiiting pixels means nearly infinite blacks and amazing contrast. They also offer wider viewing angles, and in some cases better power consumption. They can also be much thinner since there’s no backlight. But this doesn’t come without some drawbacks. OLED panels do not get as bright as LED TVs, for one, making the latter better for bright rooms and the extremely bright highlights of HDR content. OLED is also more expensive in really large sizes. In recent years, QLED has narrowed the performance gap to OLED screens while retaining a significant cost advantage. This is why VIZIO’s TVs with Quantum Color make up the bulk of its flagship P- and M-series Quantum TVs, but new for 2020, VIZIO will offer OLED TVs in 55 and 65-inch sizes as an alternative.



VIZIO offers three lines of 4K smart TVs with Quantum Color, listed below, and will release an OLED TV later in 2020.

P-Series Quantum X TVs are VIZIO’s most advanced models and are available in 65 and 75-inch diagonal sizes. These quantum dot LED-backlit LCD TVs off 165% greater color than a typical UHD TV, along with up to 3000 nits of peak brightness, and feature up to 480 local dimming zones.

P-Series Quantum TVs are also available in 65 and 75-inch diagonal sizes. These VIZIO quantum dot LED-backlit TVs are up to 4 times brighter (up to 1200 nits) than standard UHD TVs and feature up to 240 local dimming zones.

M-Series Quantum TVs are VIZIO’s most affordable quantum dot LED-backlit TVs. These 43-inch to 70-inch models cover up to 80% of the Rec2020 color. They’re twice as bright (600 nits) as a typical 4K TV, and feature up to 90 local dimming zones.

VIZIO’s TVs with Quantum Color deliver support Dolby Vision HDR, Chromecast, and AirPlay 2, and work with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa-enabled devices. So, no matter which VIZIO Quantum Color UHD TV you pick, you’ll enjoy superb image quality and superior convenience!