QLED vs. OLED: Which Is the Undisputed Champ for Up-Close Viewing?

October 6, 2020 Topic: Technology Region: Americas Blog Brand: Techland Tags: OLEDQLED4KHDTVTechnologyStreaming

QLED vs. OLED: Which Is the Undisputed Champ for Up-Close Viewing?

There is a clear winner if you want the best close-up and wide-angle viewing.

If you grew up in the ‘80s or ‘90s and had an old-school TV in your living room, you likely had to endure the TV screen’s unsightly scan lines while watching your favorite programs once in a while.

Well, fortunately, as the technology of HDTVs has grown by leaps and bounds, we no longer have to worry about that.

However, even today, if you have seating arrangements that are situated pretty close to your HDTV, you still might be able to see slight rows and columns of pixels, which has the potential to hamper your overall viewing experience.

The quick fix would be to just move your seating back a few feet, but if that’s not possible, perhaps the next best course of action is to purchase a new HDTV that can better handle your unique situation. Know that if you’re in the market for a high-end model, you will likely be doing your homework on QLED or OLED panels.

If you’re intrigued by QLED’s lower price points, keep in mind that these sets rely on powerful LED backlighting and can generate remarkable brightness levels. Most of Samsung’s QLED TVs can produce anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 nits of brightness, hence the brilliant whites. If you’re sitting that close to your TV, however, that may be more of a net negative for your sensitive eyes.

The more logical choice would be to go with a panel that is highly regarded for its incredible picture quality driven by millions of next-generation self-emissive pixels—no matter if you’re off to the side or sitting directly in front of it.

What rigorous tests have shown over the past couple of years is that OLED panels will always come out on top because of their ability to showcase accurate colors, the deepest true blacks, and inimitable uniformity and contrast ratio. And that’s exactly what your eyes will fully appreciate even if you’re sitting a bit closer to the TV than you should be.

Moreover, compared to OLED sets, QLEDs have been shown to fail miserably when it comes to wide-angle viewing. Although unintended, being relegated to the periphery can make one have to endure extreme viewing angles—which can often mean an unpleasant movie-night experience.

QLED’s shortcomings can be largely blamed on the panel technology itself. As with all LCD-based displays, different areas of the screen can often appear brighter than others, and the backlighting can at times bleed through. When viewed at a side, the LCD layer has a certain thickness that can block some of the light coming through, and this is naturally more pronounced at an angle. The end result is lackluster contrast and discoloration.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.