Samsung TVs could take on OLED, as new panel tech reaches prototype stage

Samsung Q800T QLED TV (2020)
Samsung Q800T QLED TV (2020) (Image credit: Samsung)

The next big thing in TV technology may just be on the way, as prototypes of Samsung Display’s QD-OLED hybrid TV panel tech appear to be out in the wild (via OLED-info).

Market analysts at Omdia are reporting that QD-OLED TVs are currently at the prototype stage and being shown off to potential buyers in the TV space, including Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung Electronics.

With mass production seemingly planned for late 2021, we could see commercial models from these TV brands announced before the end of that year, if not early in 2022. The Omdia report speculates that 55-inch, 65-inch, 78-inch and 82-inch models are likely too.

Speculation around these QD-OLED hybrids ramped up in late 2019, after Samsung Display invested a startling amount of money in R&D for the technology, with plans to convert a current LCD factory to a QD-OLED production line.

It could be an interesting split for new Samsung TVs, especially, given Samsung Electronics is largely pursuing 8K QLED panels (like the Q950TS), as well as Mini-LED, in its truly premium sets.

Sony and Panasonic, too, are both big supporters of the OLED tech developed at LG Display, using it pretty much exclusively for their high-end TV ranges. We could always see Samsung Display develop the tech but end up selling its wares to brands other than Samsung, depending on how impressive it ended up being.

Wait, QD-what?

The appeal of QD-OLED – aimed at being a kind of quantum dot shortcut towards OLED’s visual advantages, with far lower production costs – is in offering TV brands a cheaper alternative to OLED panels, as well as offering customers a cheaper entry point to equivalent performance. The main complaint around OLED is the low brightness, too, which we expect to be less of an issue here, if the technology is successful.

Much of this is speculative, though, and as with any in-development technology, there’s no telling what roadblocks or technical obstacles could get in the way – or whether everything will stay on track for mass production in 2021.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.