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The future of TV: New advances in display tech will transform your TV

CES might be the biggest technology showcase, but at its core, it’s still the single best event to get the scoop on advancements in TV tech. And CES 2021 is no exception.

This year, we’re going to see incremental improvements to existing TV technologies. OLED TVs will get brighter and more colorful. Meanwhile, QLED TVs will get thinner and — thanks to Mini-LED backlight tech — will demonstrate better black levels, contrast, and picture quality than ever before. And it’s not just the video that’s improving. Companies like Samsung, Sony, and Panasonic will be showing off enhancements to TV audio as well.

But these are all very near-term developments. We’ll see these models arrive in a matter of months. What about the future?

For starters, it looks like 2021 will be the first year that non-billionaires will be able to get their hands on a MicroLED TV from Samsung. The company has said it will start selling its famous The Wall TV in smaller, more accessible sizes (110-, 99-, and 88-inch versions) and they won’t require a trained expert to install them. MicroLED TVs are self-illuminating at the pixel level, which means that just like OLED TV, they can achieve perfect blacks.

They won’t be cheap, and we can’t yet speak to their image quality, but one thing’s for sure: They will be the brightest TVs you can buy, and probably by a wide margin.

Looking ahead to 2022, we’ve got our eyes on two potential TV game-changers. The first is QD-OLED. This advancement takes the quantum dots that have proven so helpful in producing more accurate color in QLED TVs and applies them to OLED-based displays. The difference is that QD-OLED TVs can eliminate the use of color filters, a layer that is required by both QLED and OLED TVs, and robs them of up to 70% of their potential brightness.

Further out on the TV horizon is QNED TV. Now, this is going to get a little confusing, especially if you’ve noted LG’s announcement of its “QNED Mini-LED” TVs for 2021. Let’s just say that LG’s use of the term “QNED” isn’t exactly an industry standard.

When anyone who isn’t LG talks about QNED, it’s in reference to Quantum Nano Emitting Diode, an entirely new way of generating light at the pixel level using ultra-tiny nanorod LEDs. When combined with quantum dots in a similar configuration to QD-OLED displays, QNED TVs will theoretically offer all of the benefits of OLED, with increased brightness, and virtually no susceptibility to burn-in, something that can be a problem on regular OLED TVs.

But before you get too excited by QNED TV, get your visual tastebuds ready for QDEL TV. A technology that may appear by 2023, QDEL stands for Quantum Dot Electroluminescence and it’s something of a Holy Grail in the world of TV tech. With QDEL, quantum dots themselves become the only ingredients you need to create razor-thin, flexible, ultra-bright, and very color accurate screens.

Quantum dot manufacturers have already had good success creating quantum dots that can yield red and green when energized, but the color blue remains a challenge to be solved.

Are we excited by all of these developments? You bet we are. With the huge explosion of streaming services taking us into a new golden age of TV, we can’t wait to see how the next generation of TVs make that content even more enjoyable to watch.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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