QLED TV: Challenges, Progress & Market Outlook
Updated 28/06/2021 to include new figures
Having gone from relative technical obscurity to a promising novelty in a short period, QLED TVs now account for a decent portion of premium displays currently on the market. It helps that display manufacturers have largely aligned when it comes to the terminology. We no longer need to untangle the apparent differences between QD-LED or QD-LCD, because these confusing acronyms have mostly been dropped.
What is a QLED TV?
Now, we typically use the term QLED to describe a quantum dot-enhanced display panel with an LED backlight. Samsung has been the pioneer in this space since 2016, but other innovators have integrated QDs into displays in various configurations.
Most QLED TVs have leveraged existing liquid crystal display (LCD) designs, where quantum dots are embedded within the filtering layers comprising the stack. A few innovators have looked towards a future where QDs can be integrated into OLED TVs in a unique hybrid system that combines the flawless black uniformity of organic light-emitting diodes with the efficiency and vivid colours of quantum dots.
How QD-OLED Development Impacts QLEDs
So far, Samsung Display has dominated headlines when it comes to QD-OLED development. The Korean division of the display giant is likely undergoing an extensive period of research and development (R&D) which could foreseeably extend beyond 2021. We can reliably estimate that extended roadmap given their existing manufacturing lines are populated primarily by QLED TVs.
In fact, a new business report from Korea claims that Samsung Electronics has no intention of using advanced QD panels produced from the Asan plant in South Chuncheong Province. According to a former Samsung researcher:
“Currently, QD-OLED panels have not reached the level of brightness that Samsung Electronics desires.”
Instead, the Korean division looks set to supply QD panels based on blue OLED backlights to Chinese manufacturer TCL. This unique business dynamic is interesting as it connects the leading manufacturers in QLED TV markets.
QLED TV Market Outlook
TCL is rumoured to have been working on similar QD-OLED technology for some time. Meanwhile, they have unveiled a disruptive line of budget-friendly QLED TVs that significantly undercut the price points of Samsung’s cheapest offerings. This aggressive pricing is potentially more problematic for OLED manufacturers, however, as their high production costs currently seem insurmountable.
The low-cost of TCL QLED TVs is perhaps less of a concern for Samsung Electronics. Samsung QLED TVs usually feature large panels, high-performance specs, and a premium price point for high-end consumers. This progress puts QLED TVs firmly at both ends of the spectrum for consumers considering a new display.
Yet ongoing supply chain issues and the general economic downturn amidst the ongoing pandemic mean it is difficult to accurately forecast how this new status quo will pan out. Omdia predicted a dire 11.1% decline in global unit shipments of displays for 2020, but the market has shown extraordinary resilience in the months since. In fact, the smart TV market looks set to retain its pre-COVID compound annual growth rate (CAGR) prediction of 20.8%.
QLED TVs with Avantama
If you are looking for more information about QLED TVs, or the display market at large, explore some of our other articles onsite. Or, if you need custom QD formulations for quantum dot-enhanced displays, contact a member of the Avantama team today.