Samsung hoping you’ll confuse QLED with OLED this holiday season

If you’re in the market for a new TV this holiday season, chances are you’ll be looking to upgrade your regular ol’ LED flatscreen. Organic LEDs (OLEDs) are all the rage, and rightly so: this new emissive (i.e., the pixels emit their own light) technology blows most transmissive (i.e., the pixels do not emit their own light) LED screens out of the water. And now that prices have dropped significantly on OLEDs, they are looking awfully attractive.

LG, the #2 TV manufacturer, is the king of OLED — in addition to selling TVs under their own brand, they also make OLED panels sold by¬†Philips, Panasonic and Sony. All the major brands have thus jumped on the OLED bandwagon… all except #1 Samsung, that is.

Samsung, being top dog, has decided to stick with what is essentially a revamped LED technology. Their QLEDs, which stand for Quantum Dot LEDs, are more like standard LEDs than OLEDs, requiring a blue LED backlight to illuminate the microscopic “quantum dots.” OLED, by contrast, is a completely different technology, in which a film of organic electroluminescent material emits light directly when exposed to an electric current. No backlight needed.

Right now the difference between the two technologies can be quite noticeable. Because they emit their own light, OLEDs can be extremely thin and even bendable. OLED pixels can also be shut off completely, producing the deepest, darkest blacks and most vibrant contrasts. Most side-by-side reviews of the two technologies indicate that OLED TVs are the clear winner.

But what about price? QLEDs are indeed slightly less expensive at the moment. On Amazon, the 55″ LG OLED is selling for $1,800, while the 55″ Samsung’s QLED is $300 cheaper. With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, however, these prices are likely to fall and perhaps become more evenly matched.

Regardless, most indicators suggest that the extra $300 is worth it. But Samsung is betting you’ll either mistake a “Q” for an “O”, or, more likely, just fail to do your research and buy the slightly cheaper option.

OLED is a fundamentally different technology from either LED or QLED, requiring fewer material layers and producing more vibrant images.

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