With its 2022 TV portfolio, Sony is aiming high, with the debut of the world’s first consumer QD-OLED TV leading the way. Sony’s current and well-received OLED televisions employ LG Display panels that have been tweaked with Sony’s proprietary processing. However, Samsung Display’s QD-OLED (quantum dot organic light emitting diode) screen will be included in the new flagship Bravia XR A95K TV. It’ll be available in two sizes: 65-inch and 55-inch, both with 4K resolution.
Samsung Electronics was believed to be announcing a QD-OLED 4K TV at CES 2022, but that hasn’t happened yet. As a result, Sony is the centre of attention. Samsung Display has been working on QD-OLED for several years, and the display technology might serve as a bridge between ordinary OLED and the MicroLED panels that only Samsung is now selling — at exorbitant prices.
QD-OLED combines the best features of OLED (perfect blacks, infinite contrast, etc.) with the advantages of quantum dot LED TVs, such as increased brightness and more vibrant colour reproduction at greater brightness settings. It’s not a revolutionary new technique like Micro LED, but rather a step forward from where things have been for the past few years.
WHAT IS THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN OLED AND QD-OLED LIGHTING?
- In the manner they produce a picture, QD-OLED screens differ from the standard OLED panels that LG Display has traditionally manufactured. LG’s displays are classified as WRGB OLED because they use a blue and yellow OLED compound to create white-ish light pixels that are then sent through colour filters to create red, green, and blue sub-pixels. A fourth unfiltered / white sub-pixel has been added to more modern OLED TVs to improve brightness, especially for HDR video.
- The QD-OLED flips this on its head by transmitting blue light through quantum dots, which converts some of that blue into red and green without the use of a colour filter. (The colour blue is utilised because it contains the most-light energy.) Because no light is lost through the colour filters, QD-OLED TVs should have a higher brightness than previous-generation OLEDs.
- They should also be able to sustain vibrant quantum dot colour reproduction even at peak brightness levels, whereas WRGB OLEDs can sometimes desaturate when pushed to that point. In Sony’s example, QD-OLED “boosts colour brightness by up to 200 percent compared to normal TVs,” according to the company. The already excellent viewing angles of OLED are said to be much better on QD-OLED since there is less diffusion without the colour filter in the way.
- Although QD-OLED does not eliminate the potential of burn-in, the aim is that these panels will have a longer overall life lifetime than conventional OLED TVs because the pixels aren’t working as hard. Each pixel on the Samsung Display is made up of three layers of blue OLED material, which could preserve their longevity.
Sony’s other 2022 OLEDs, the A90K and A80K, are still sourced from LG Display, so that commercial relationship isn’t going away. However, the company is now in the rare position of offering two different models of OLED televisions. When QD-OLED and the top “regular” OLED sets from LG and Sony start coming to consumers this spring, it’ll be fascinating to witness head-to-head comparisons.
Aside from its one-of-a-kind panel, the A95K comes with a unique stand that allows you to put the TV in either a “front position” with the display in front of the stand, or a “back position” with the TV against a wall. With built-in cable management, the back of the TV offers a quirky aesthetic that I enjoy. Even the stand on the step-down A90K OLED can raise the display high enough for a soundbar to sit on it without impeding the view.
The A95K will have four HDMI inputs, two of which will be capable of full HDMI 2.1. When connected to a PS5, all of Sony’s latest OLEDs will enable 4K gaming at 120Hz, auto HDR tone mapping, and auto low latency mode. And, unlike previous versions, these TVs will ship with the option for variable refresh rate out of the box, rather than requiring purchasers to wait for a software update. Hopefully, this means VRR is getting closer to being released on the PlayStation 5.
Sony’s preferred software for 2022 is Google TV, and the lineup includes the company’s trademarked features such as XR OLED Contrast Pro, XR Triluminos Max (for the A95K) or Pro (for the others), and Acoustic Surface Audio Plus. Sony’s premium TVs have outstanding audio performance, and its in-house processing slightly outperforms LG’s OLED lineup in terms of picture quality, so the brands are likely to stick around.
Sony also unveiled its first Micro LED TV line, which I’ve written about separately. All of the TVs’ pricing and precise release dates will be announced in the coming months.