Saturday, July 31

Mini-LED vs. QLED. How one technology is improving the other | Digital Trends Spanish

Since its inception with the first LCD and later LED televisions, technology continues to advance steadily. Nowadays it is very common to hear the term OLED and QLED that although they are not cheap, they are already very common. The newest in this quality category is Mini-LED and it seems TCL is leading the way. In the distance still, MicroLED can be seen, but that is another story, at the moment not very accessible and expensive.

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If this sounds too much like QLED technology to you, you’ve definitely been doing your homework. QLED and mini-LEDs are actually complementary to each other, and together they could finally prove that OLED isn’t the only way to get the best image quality in the world. Here’s the full Mini-LED and QLED story.

LED: size does matter

UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

There are two main types of TV screens at the moment: self-emitting screens like OLED and MicroLED, in which each pixel individually emits its own brightness and color, and backlit screens like LED and QLED TVs, which require a backlight. separate to provide its light source, while an LCD matrix and color filters take care of the color and control the amount of brightness.

LED and QLED TVs (which are essentially a subset of LED TVs), use an LED light source. But all televisions that use this technology are not the same.

Inexpensive LED TVs can use only a few LEDs arranged around the edges, hence the name edge-lit TVs, while more expensive TVs use hundreds of LEDs arranged in a grid pattern behind the screen. LCD matrix.

The general rule of thumb here is that the more LEDs you can fit into a backlight, the brighter it gets and the more control you have over that brightness in very specific areas of the TV picture.

In a perfect world, a TV would have one LED for every pixel on an LCD matrix, but right now, that’s impossible. There is a physical limit to the number of normal LEDs in a given space, which is determined by the size of the LEDs. The bigger they are, the less you can use.

Mini-LED: a big leap to go small

mini-led led matrix

This restriction on the number of LED emitters, based on the physical size of each LED, is what makes Mini-LED technology so exciting. Mini-Led breaks the previous size barrier by introducing diodes that are much smaller than any that have been used so far. We are talking about being able to install thousands of LEDs in a space that previously could only support hundreds.

A 4K TV has just over eight million pixels, so mini-LEDs are still significantly larger than an individual pixel, but that’s okay, mini-LEDs are much smaller than standard LEDs, you can still see a big difference.

It’s about the light (and the dark)

mini-led view of the sun

As we said earlier, more LEDs lead to better brightness, beneficial for HDR, as well as making the image visible in bright rooms, but also leading to better darkness.

To achieve a deep, dark black in a specific part of the screen on a backlit TV, the kind you expect when watching space scenes, you need to turn off the backlight in that part entirely. If you have hundreds of LEDs working, you can control which areas of the screen are dark. This is called full matrix local dimming (FALD).

But even with local dimming, if there is a large difference between the brightest part of the screen and the darkest part, this can lead to blooming, an effect that makes it appear as if light is leaking from the bright part. towards the darkest part.

With Mini-LEDs, local dimming becomes much more effective because it increases the number of dimmable zones while decreasing their size, which makes it easier to isolate dark areas from light ones. Not only does this make the darkest parts of the screen darker, but the contrast created makes the lighter parts appear even brighter.

So far, we haven’t seen a Mini-LED TV go as black (and unflowering) as OLED, but that gap between backlit TVs and broadcast displays like OLED TVs is smaller than ever.

Where does QLED fit into all of this?

Mini-LED TV mounted on the wall of a living room

QLED, or Quantum dot LED, uses nanoparticles that have a special property, when light shines on them, they emit their own light. When these quantum dots are strategically placed between the backlight and the LCD matrix, it improves brightness and color.

Top-of-the-line QLED TVs can deliver picture quality very similar to OLED. Its brightness and vivid colors may be bolder than OLED, but still can’t match OLED’s perfect blacks.

By turning on a QLED TV with Mini-LED backlighting, you can retain all the brightness and power of a traditional QLED display, but you also get highly granular control over local dimming zones. In theory, it is the ingredient that QLED has lacked in its competition with OLED.

Are there other benefits to Mini-LED?

Mini-LED TVs are, in all other respects, the same as standard QLED TVs, so the same benefits apply to both: screen sizes can be larger, and prices can be lower than TVs. OLED (for now, anyway).

As the technology matures, we can expect to see the Mini-LED play a major role in improving picture quality and lowering the price of LED and QLED TVs.

There can also be gains in energy efficiency, as a large group of smaller LEDs can achieve the same brightness as larger LEDs, yet they need less energy to do so.

Who is making Mini-LED TVs?

mini-led led display detail

TCL started the mini-LED TV movement when it launched the first TV with this technology, the Roku 8 series, in 2019. Since then, the company has launched the 4K series 6 in 2020 and 2021, and we anticipate the launch of its first 8K mini-LED models soon.

At CES 2021, the company also indicated that it would produce a mini-LED TV based on its ultra-slim OD-Zero technology, but so far, that doesn’t seem to be on the table as a 2021 model.

TCL is no longer the only one to do with mini-LEDs. Models 2021 Samsung’s Neo QLED, in 4K and 8K resolutions, use the technology, as do LG’s 2021 4K and 8K QNED models.

This leaves Sony, Hisense, and Vizio as the top three TV makers that haven’t announced any mini-LED models, but you can rest assured that each of them is working on a mini-LED strategy for 2022.

Mini-LEDs aren’t just for TVs. Apple recently released its first iPad that uses the new backlight, and the next MacBook Pro is expected to use it as well. Assuming that Apple now believes in mini-LED technology, we will likely see it appear in the next update to the company’s iMac desktop lineup.

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