Tvs with LED – /LCD-lit screens have a number of obvious disadvantages—limited viewing angles, blacks that are more grey and brightness issues that sometimes make the dark scenes look cloudy.
However, these Tvs still dominate the shops and living rooms. They overcome plasma-Screen tvs and overwhelmingly outnumber the newer, sharper OLED Tvs—both undoubtedly superior technologies.
But the LCD TV technology is constantly improved, so that the best sets can now stand toe-to-toe with OLED Tv’s—which is currently above our TV ratings in the bigger screen size. In fact, many LCD TV ‘features, such as faster refresh rates and backlighting with local dimming, are really techniques designed to address some of the technology from the inherent shortcomings.
Here, in 2017 the Consumer Electronics Show, we get a glimpse of the next generation of LCD technology to move even closer to OLED-like performance.
More From Consumer Reports
Top pick tires for 2016
Best used cars for $25,000 and less
7 the best mattresses for couples
The best matching washers and dryers
Top 10 car picks for 2016
These new sets of industry giants LG and Samsung, the promise to take a number of OLED ‘ s most important strengths, particularly the deep black levels and no loss of image quality when the screen is viewed from the side.
Here are a few important developments that will debut in the more expensive flagship 4K models in 2017, but will likely make their way into the regular sets in the next year or two:
Samsung Improves The Quantum-Dot-Tvs
Samsung hit CES with a number of pretty impressive claims for its new line of premium Q series Tv’s, which make use of a new metal quantum-dot material.
The company, which is the marketing of the new sets under the “QLED” sub-brand, says that the new quantum-dot film is used in the Q-series not only a wider range of richer colours, but also help address traditional LCD shortcomings, such as grey blacks and poor off-angle viewing.
Samsung is using quantum dots in the top-screen Tv’s for a few years now, but says that the Q-series, the successor of the last year SUHD models will perform better than these models.
As a quick refresher, Samsung’s quantum dot technology uses a film embedded with small red and green quantum dots, or nano-crystals. The film is sandwiched between other layers of the LCD screen, directly in front of the LED backlight.
When these small crystals are hit with a blue light from the backlight, they glow, emitting very saturated, narrow-band primary colors, based on the size and composition of the quantum dot material. Because the size of the crystals can be controlled very precisely, the system allows a very accurate colours.
What does all that tech-talk? Quantum dots can help LCD Tvs produce a better, more vibrant colors than you get with a regular Lcd’s.
Samsung says that the new quantum-dot sets will retain their color integrity even at high levels of brightness. Enlarge a TV the brightness can colors look a little washed out, but QLED Tv’s promise to a wider range of colors in different brightness levels with no loss in “color volume” or intensity.
In fact, the Q-series sets are about 50 percent brighter than last year’s already-light SUHD sets. That could mean a significant improvement in HDR (high dynamic range) performance—the difference between the darkest and brightest images a TV can produce—in which the peak light intensity really matters.
But Samsung claims to be a new quantum-dot material will also improve other areas where a lot of LCD Tv’s traditionally falter, as black levels and off-angle viewing. Samsung is using a new backlight technology produces deeper blacks and more uniform brightness across the panel, but the company refused to explain exactly how it worked.
On the basis of a short demo we got during a preview of the new sets, the Tv’s seem to be less haloing oddly lit areas around the edges of objects—as well as an improved viewing angle.
LG makes Use of Nano-Technology
LG is the current king of OLED televisions, but most of the sets selling of LED /LCD screen. Like Samsung, the company is turning to nano-technology with the new line of premium “Super UHD” LED/LCD Tv’s. LG says that the “Nano Cell” technology will help to make better, more realistic colors and wider viewing angles.
Nano Cell technology is similar to, but not quite the same as, quantum dots. We try to learn a little more about the whole year, but as LG explained it to us, the new Nano Cell LCD-Tv’s use of a film with uniform particles, each of a nanometer wide. (For reference, a human hair is approximately 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers.) That makes them even smaller than the quantum dots.
LG says that the technology”, absorbs excess light wavelengths,” which means that it prevents adjacent colors from bleeding into each other. That is intended to make the colors more accurate and resistant to fading.
Like Samsung, LG claims this LCD technology is improving the performance in other ways, in particular the off-axis viewing. LG Tvs offer a relatively wide viewing angle, and the nano film helps to maintain the quality of the picture when you are viewing it from a corner of the room. LG says the Tv’s are brighter than last years Super GALAXY models.
To take full advantage of the technology, LG has teamed up with Hollywood color experts Technicolor a Technicolor Expert Mode, which is optimized for the best color and HDR.
Speaking of HDR, LG’s Super-UHD Tvs will be the most future-proof, ‘we’ve seen so far, as they support not only HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR technology, but also a newer one called HLG, which was designed for live broadcasts, plus Technicolor’s own Advanced HDR.
As always, we look forward to these new sets from both LG and Samsung in our labs and see if they meet their requirements. We are here at CES, in 2017 the whole week, so keep checking back for all our CES updates.
Copyright © 2005-2017 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.