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LG announces new QNED Mini-LED TV lineup ahead of CES 2021

LG has made its first formal TV announcement ahead of CES 2021 and it includes a new acronym that could be confusing at best and misleading at worst. Regardless, the TVs themselves should look absolutely stunning.

The new TV series will represent LG’s absolute best LCD-based displays, sitting right alongside its award-winning OLED TV lineup. It’s called QNED Mini-LED and it will cover 10 models in both 4K and 8K resolutions, with screen sizes going all the way up to 86 inches.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with all the TV-related acronyms, we understand — we even penned this explainer running through them all — but for now, let’s focus on what LG is up to with its new TVs.

The two additions to LG’s newest TVs are quantum dots and Mini-LED backlighting. In the past, LG has used so-called “Nanocell” technology to enhance its premium televisions’ colors. That Nanocell tech, which is essentially a coating on its LED backlights, is sticking around, but the LED backlights are going to be much smaller, there will be thousands more of them, and a sheet of quantum dot film is being added to take color and contrast to the next level.


TCL was the first to implement Mini-LED tech in the U.S. market, starting with its 8-Series in 2019, later trickling it down to its vaunted 6-Series in 2020. This year, we should see mini LED TVs from several major TV brands, including LG.

Mini-LED backlights are, as the name suggests, tiny versions of LED lights in very tight clusters. Rather than numbering in the tens or hundreds of them though, there are thousands. In the case of LG’s QNED Mini-LED TVs, there will be up to 30,000 of them, grouped in up to 2,500 dimmable zones.

With so many smaller, densely packed backlights, a TV can be much more precise about its backlighting, improving black levels, reducing halos around bright objects on dark backgrounds, and increasing overall brightness. In other words, it’s a big leap forward for TVs. You can learn more about mini-LED in this explainer.

Quantum dots are a little more familiar these days. If you are familiar with the term QLED, you know that the ‘Q’ stands for quantum dots which help improve a TV’s color accuracy, color gamut, and color brightness. Quantum dots are also very helpful in achieving vivid HDR images on a TV.

By incorporating both technologies in its new TVs, LG is positioning itself well to compete with the likes of Samsung, Sony, and TCL. Indeed, these new TVs will probably perform spectacularly.

But there is one problem.

QNED is already an established acronym for a different kind of TV tech. By adopting the acronym, adding Mini-LED as a distinction, and filing for a trademark, LG is probably going to be able to keep itself out of legal hot water. However, it is also inviting some potentially unwanted discussions, and quite likely stoking confusion among consumers. Technically, QNED is understood to represent TV tech that involves nanorod LEDs, a type of backlight tech that does not appear to be at use in LG’s newly announced TVs.

So, essentially, it’s QNED in name only, not in already understood technical terms. This could represent a problem and I’m sure it will be a matter of some discussion over the year 2021.

Regardless of the moniker, I’m excited to learn more technical details around these new TVs. LG at this time is not able to disclose how many dimming zones each of these TVs would offer, or what the promised color gamut might be. Those are details we may learn in March 2021. Still, knowing LG, the specs — and the picture — are sure to impress.

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Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
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