What is a Quantum Dot TV?

Updated 16/07/2021

If you are familiar with the latest TV technologies, you have likely come across acronyms like QLED TVs, OLEDs, and even QD-OLEDs. The main takeaway for consumers is that these innovative displays offer the best picture quality ever realized on-screen, with deep blacks, optimal viewing angles, and pristine colors. But what are quantum dot TVs and what differentiates them from other display technologies? More specifically, what is a quantum dot TV?

Quantum Dot TVs: Innovative LED LCDs

A quantum dot TV is essentially a new type of LED-backlit LCD TV with dramatically enhanced color. In a conventional LCD TV, there is an LED backlight–or occasionally two banks of LEDs at the edge of the screen.

When these LEDs are activated, their light is aimed through a polarized filter using a light-guide plate. Photons are selectively obstructed by the liquid crystals, which is how an image is produced on-screen. Color filter films convert the single wavelength backlight to generate three basic colours (RGB) for the LCD display. Quantum dot TVs perform a very similar process, but they use semiconducting nanocrystals to enhance the picture–particularly with respect to color reproduction.

What are Quantum Dots?

Quantum dots are semiconducting nanostructures that are so minute they have different optical and electrical properties than larger particles. These nanostructures confine the motion of valence band holes, conduction band electrons, or excitons in all three spatial directions. So what does this mean in practice?

Quantum dots absorb light of a range of wavelengths and emit light of a different, defined wavelength depending on their size or composition. The wavelength of the emitted light can subsequently be altered precisely by changing the size, shape, or material of the quantum dot. It is this property that makes quantum dots useful in display devices, such as televisions.

How do Quantum Dot TVs Work?

Quantum dots have been integrated into displays using a range of different approaches, including edge-lit optics and film deposition. Future iterations are likely to include quantum dot color filters (QDCFs) and, eventually, direct-view quantum dots.

Currently, most quantum dot TVs are of the film-type where a film of red and green quantum dots is integrated into the screen architecture with a blue light at the back providing illumination. Conventional LCDs aim to generate highly saturated colors from pure white light, which is inefficient as it relies on color blocking where as much as 66% of light generated by a backlight is wasted.

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.

As quantum dots are photoluminescent, they are more effective than white light sources as they produce monochromatic light naturally, yielding more saturated colors at a fraction of the energy cost. This is coupled with their inherently good quantum yields.

Are Quantum Dot TVs Worth it?

QLED TVs are available on the market today, usually at a premium price point. So, are quantum dot TVs worth the cost?

Unbeaten Saturation

There are many benefits of using quantum dots for television displays. We previously mentioned the enhanced colors that quantum dots produce, and this can be ensured by fine-tuning them to ensure the exact light required is emitted. This enables precise colors and whiter whites. Quantum dots also provide LCD TVs with higher color saturation, making colors seem more pure.

Wider Color Gamut

Televisions using quantum dot technology have a wider color gamut, which is advantageous for 4K televisions that can process a lot more color information than other televisions. In fact, quantum dots have been earmarked as a gateway technology to the Rec.2020 color space, which is effectively a measure of the chromaticities that can be reproduced by a given display technology. Although OLEDs offer unprecedented black levels, quantum dot TVs can reach peak brightness levels of up to 2,000 nits, yielding extremely vivid pictures.

Enabling Next-Gen Content

Most premium displays, like Samsung QLED TVs, are marketed as having a wide color gamut (WCG), which is a prerequisite for 4K resolution. As content increasingly pushes towards 8K resolution, the need for technology with greater coverage is only increasing. Currently, no technology can match quantum dots for coverage of the current next-gen color space (DCI-P3).

Cost Competitive

The main choice for consumers considering a new TV today is whether to go for a QLED system or an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TV. Quantum dot TVs are considerably cheaper than OLEDs, which are considered superior quality over traditional LCDs for their ultra-thin configurations and perfect black levels.  Additionally, quantum dot TVs have increased quality over LCDs, and the affordable price allows them to be accessible to the masses. Additionally, quantum dot-enhanced LED TVs typically offer longer display lifetimes than OLEDs.

Perovskite Quantum Dots

Perovskite Quantum Dots

Looking for Information about Quantum Dot TVs?

Avantama is a world leader in the development and manufacture of nanomaterials for electronic applications. We have championed novel quantum dot materials based on proprietary metal halide perovskites, which not only boast the best performance on the market, but also offer future-proof regulatory compliance from an RoHS perspective.

Our manufacturing process is highly efficient and provides new and exciting opportunities for the development of wide color-gamut LCD TVs. Our range of products could make a considerable difference in the dynamics between LCD and quantum dot TVs.