LG To Market New Line Of Premium LCDs As QNEDs

January 4, 2021 by Dave Haynes

Technology marketers have a habit of playing a bit fast and loose with terminology, in an effort to gain a mindshare edge with buyers, I suppose. But their efforts also contribute to confusion.

In the context of the display and signage industry, we’ve seen LCD displays called LED TVs, when they were LCDs with LED backlighting arrays that no one sees.

We’ve seen video walls marketed as microLED, when the light chips, albeit super-tiny, don’t actually meet the common technical definition of microLED.

Samsung calls its premium, OLED-competing displays QLEDs, which are LCDs, not LEDs, and the Q is for Quantum Dots. So they’re not LEDs or OLEDs. Just super-nice LCDs (I have one).

And now we have LG Electronics, announcing this week its plans to release a premium LCD display that it will call a QNED. But, it is not the Quantum Nano Emitting Diode (aka QNED) technology that LG rival Samsung has been developing for years, and planning to bring to the market.

The technical explanation is dense and way the hell over my head, but QNED technology is self-emissive (direct view) technology that has super-teeny light pixels shaped like rods or needles. The technology is in the same general family of efforts to add quantum dots to OLED technology, which has a few benefits- probably the biggest one adding brightness.

This new LG QNED thing does not appear to be all that similar, and involves a Quantum Dots filter and miniLED backlighting for a premium LCD (you will recall from the Before Times and trade shows that LG has been all-in lately on OLED, with LCD not seeing the same marketing priority.)

This is admittedly an argument for display and AV nerds. There is little to suggest the buying market cares – as their concerns are around price and quality, not the origins or purity of technical terms. One tech publication has suggested LG wanted to bring the QNED term to market as a different product, before Samsung was ready for commercial launch with its different QNED tech.

From a South Korean newspaper:

The new television makes use of Mini LEDs to improve on the old-style LCD display by using much smaller light emitting diodes at higher density compared to conventional LCD TVs.  

Mini LED products can offer better color contrast and brightness than existing LCDs, but fall short of the performance of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) or Micro LEDs, which use the LEDs as the actual display panels without the need for a backlight.  

Dubbed QNED, LG’s Mini LED televisions will cost about half the price of its OLED televisions and come in a wide range of sizes, mostly under 100 inches.      

An 86-inch QNED television features around 30,000 microscopic light-emitting diodes and 2,500 “dimming zones” to deliver more accurate colors.  

The higher the number of light-emitting diodes and local dimming zones, the better the picture quality is.

When compared with Mini LED TVs on sale from Chinese manufacturers like TCL, the number of dimming zones is at least five times higher and the LED array at least ten times higher, according to Baik Seon-pill, head of the TV product planning division at the Korean electronics maker.

The QNED will be unveiled at the 2021 CES trade show next month, which will be held online for the first time, followed by the official release of around 10 different models globally.

The company said that the product will be made available in both 4K and 8K resolutions.  

“[QNED TVs] mark the pinnacle of LCD television technology, delivering the most comparable quality to self-lit OLED TVs,” said Nam Ho-jun, senior vice president of R&D at LG’s Home Entertainment Company.

For further color enhancement, LG came up with a filter layer that merges two techniques called Nanocell and Quantum Dot, although it hasn’t explained exactly how it merges them. 

The filter layer will be placed on the Mini LED TV models to ensure better light uniformity and picture contrast.

Samsung Electronics also teased that it will unveil both Mini LED and Micro LED TVs next month, ahead of the opening of CES.  

  1. GARY FEATHER says:

    Thank you! Well done. Taking the time to clarify the meaning of both technology and product descriptions in the current display market cornucopia is most appreciated by all in the industry. Often we cringe at misuse of these elements. Clarity allows more to understand.

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