Could Revolutionary New QD-OLED TVs Launch Next Year?

Samsung Electronics has redoubled its efforts to hybridise quantum dot (QD) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) flatscreen technology, aiming to introduce a revolutionary new line of QD-OLED TVs as early as next year. The South Korean tech giant announced the new research initiative in 2020, hoping to deploy a brand-new method of rendering colour in premium consumer displays, by combining QD colour conversion layers with a self-emissive OLED back panel. The result—if successful—could be unmatched colour purity at unprecedented efficiency levels.

However, the electronics industry has been beleaguered by chip shortages and supply chain disruptions associated with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. Will this impact the release schedule of revolutionary new QD-OLED TVs, or will a paradigm shift in display technology really begin in 2022?

What is a QD-OLED TV?

First, it is worth outlining the basic configuration of the QD-OLED TVs proposed by Samsung Electronics. Multiple design architectures have been suggested for hybrid panels, but the prevailing prototype seems to comprise a blue OLED emitter stack with a red-green QD colour converter—sometimes abbreviated to QDCC. In a conventional OLED TV, yellow and blue emitters combine to create white light, which is subsequently filtered, while most QD-enhanced TVs use a bank of blue LEDs overlaid with a QD film. Both techniques rely on light-blocking to produce colour at the subpixel level. Naturally, this is an inefficient process.

Example of the architecture of red, green and blue pixels using QD color conversion layers. The concept can be used in OLED or LCD displays.

QD-OLED TVs aim to tackle this problem, benefiting from the extremely high quantum efficiency of QDs and the self-emissivity of OLED panels. Theoretically, QD-OLEDs will be orders of magnitude more efficient than either technology while uniting the exceptional brightness, colour gamut, and contrast ratios of both.

Fixing the Problems with QDs & OLEDs

So, QD-OLED TVs look set to disrupt the current display paradigm by competing with the intrinsic USPs of established OLEDs and emerging QLEDs. However, Samsung Electronics initially announced the push towards QD-OLED integration amidst the backdrop of a worldwide lack of demand for liquid crystal displays (LCDs). The commercial need to find a new premium display technology was undercut by key manufacturing challenges, including the inherent thermal instability of leading QD formulations combined with the high development costs of OLED panels. Despite these pain points, Samsung Electronics committed to ceasing production of LCDs from its South Korean and Chinese factories in 2021.

QD-OLED TV Release Dates

In the context of global semiconductor shortages and low demand, meeting a proposed release date of early 2022 seemed wildly optimistic. However, recent reports suggest that Samsung Electronics are indeed on course to release revolutionary new large-panel QD-OLED TVs early next year. Industry sources report that 55-inch and 65-inch QD-OLED TVs will be unveiled in the first half of 2022, with larger 70-inch versions following further down the line. There have been rumours that Sony QD-OLED announcements could be on the horizon, but there is little concrete information on development. Chinese display manufacturer TCL is also working on QD-OLED TVs, but other than reports that the stack will be inkjet-printed, there have been no updates on the production pipeline.

The Avantama team is keenly following the progress of QD-OLED TVs, and will continue to update readers on information as it becomes available. Browse some of our recent articles if you would like to learn more about these exciting developments.