The end of OLED TVs? How Samsung's CT-OLED hybrid could shake up the market

It's inevitable that technology has replaced them with newer, more advanced successors - and similarly plasma TVs have been replaced by OLED TVs, so too OLED is at risk of being beaten by new panel technology.

If anything is unbelievable given OLED's current hold on the premium channel market, it might be too early to tell. But Samsung, the world's largest TV maker, and the one that has been supporting its own LED and QLED alternatives to OLED for several years now, is jumping ahead with hybrid TV technology quite clearly aimed at wiping out competition. What technology with QD-OLED display.

Samsung Display CEO Lee Dong-hoon spoke about possible plans to bring QD-OLED to the market, telling newspaper "Korea Herald" that "the company is making active efforts" to produce a commercially available model. So while it is unlikely we will see a model with a QD-OLED display at IFA 2019, it looks like it could be at this show in the near future.

When contacted directly, a Samsung spokesperson explained that it was still developing its own QLED and micro-LED technologies, adding that it had no clear plans for a QD-OLED display, citing problems with existing OLED panels that needed solve:

“Samsung Electronics considers various technology enhancements ahead of the existing OLED panel technology to be adopted to TVs, and no decision has been made on whether QD-OLED panels will be adopted for our TVs.”

But with a new production line in order to replace the recently closed LED plants (via Elec), it is very similar to Samsung is a big bet on this technology.

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Okay, enough cuts already.

What does CT-OLED really mean, you ask? It can be divided into two parts. The first, “CT”, refers to the quantum dot filter that Samsung uses in its premium QLED (quantum light emitting diode, or quantum light) TVs. The second, "OLED", refers to the organic LED panels used in the premium ranges of most other major TV brands, including Hisense TVs, Sony TVs, Panasonic TVs, and LG TVs.

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Rather than being completely self-sufficient emissive, but with a QD-OLED panel will use blue light OLED panel acts as a backlight, with a quantum dot filter capable of turning into red or green light, on a color display.

OLED TVs have a number of huge advantages, including thin panels that don't require backlighting, since the pixels in OLED panels are self-emissive (meaning they emit their own light). This makes for high contrast and brightness, although it may make for a more general dimmer output than LED counterparts.

That's where the QD-OLED display comes in. Rather than being completely self-sufficient emissive, but with a QD-OLED panel will use blue light OLED panel acts as a backlight, with a quantum dot filter capable of turning into red or green light, on a color display.

Would still such a thing to do for thin TVs and OLED color displays will be known, with the correction of Dim release of OLED panels compared to LED.

We know Samsung is working on the technology. We also spoke to Europe Product Development Director at TCL, Marek Matejowski, who called with QD-OLED display one of the possible solutions to the limitation of OLED panels: “We believe that for very large screens with very high color saturation and brightness that inkjet print-printed with QD-OLED is the solution.”

Maciekewski added that “we don’t see a future in terms of efficiency and brightness” for traditional OLED panels, and was confident that “all the major and OLED manufacturers are developing all of this.”

When will the QD-OLED display be on the market?

With Samsung refusing to give a timeline or official confirmation of any CT LEDs coming to market, it probably won't be soon. The production lines are just now, and there will most likely be an intense R&D process as Samsung makes and refines its prototypes.

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It's likely we'll see a model with a QD-OLED display arrive in a couple of years, but probably not before 2021.

Samsung won't be ditching its current LED, QLED, or micro-LED panel technology ranges, so it's likely we'll see a QD-OLED model arrive in a couple of years, but probably not before 2021.

An official statement from Samsung on the matter said that “Samsung Electronics is pioneering the premium TV market through a dual strategy that includes both QLED and micro-LED TVs.” Even if QD-OLED display will be involved in this strategy, the company will be investing in technology rather than betting on one horse.

We expected to see one model appear in the range first, very much in the spirit of Samsung's flagship 8K model, the Q950 8K QLED, but that may depend on the price of the new TV.

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Maybe the discounted price will be enough to keep OLED?

We reported earlier this year on the prospect of inkjet printed OLED panels that greatly simplify the manufacturing process and could pave the way for significantly cheaper OLED TVs (about 15-25% of current market value).

Price is considered the main barrier to more mainstream adoption right now, and shortly thereafter, limited model sizes currently available – although new product lines are opening up to develop 48-inch models, along with 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch units . As with QD-OLED display and inkjet techniques evolve in tandem, it may be we're seeing an increase in OLED's advantage as it should continue in its current form - or evolve out of necessity into an entirely new technology.

We often see new TV models shown at the upcoming IFA 2019 EXPO. We expect it to be too early to see this technology at this show, and it's likely to be another year or two before any CT-inch OLED models are actually in sight. But Samsung seems to have a clear development path ahead of it. If this means that consumers are getting an improved image from the already high quality LEDs on the market, we think that will be a good thing.

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