The difference between OLED and QD OLED TV explained (AV guide)

There are significant differences between OLED and QD OLED. In part, it is about a marketing war between rival South Korean siblings LG and Samsung.

LG has long been the OLED king, and its 2022/23 White OLED EVO panels are its brightest and most colour accurate yet. Samsung QD OLED uses a different technology: a hybrid Quantum Dot colour layer and Blue OLED backplane.

The difference between OLED and QD OLED

(RGBW means red, green, blue, and white)

LG uses four white individually controllable OLED subpixels with colour filters on top (RBG and W). This goes through a polarising filter. This is a more costly way to make a TV panel. The result is true black and white (infinite contrast) and the most accurate true-to-life colours.

Samsung uses an Oxide BP (a TFT Thin Film Transistor LCD layer) backplane to control a Blue OLED lighting backplane that excites Red and Green Quantum Dots (no blue dots – the backplane is blue light) to make colour. This is a lower-cost way to make a panel. The result is higher brightness, not quite pure black or white (1M:1 contrast), and QD-saturated colours. It does not use a polarising filter, so blacks appear raised, and the image has a pinkish hue if there is any light in the room.

(L) The subpixel array on LG OLED is Red, Green, Blue (looks black above) and White. (R) The Sub-pixel array on Samsung QD OLED is red and green only. Blue is a transparent layer – not a QD and black means no subpixel in that space (solid).

The difference between OLED and QD OLED is really in the eye of the beholder. As far as the image is concerned, people love Samsung’s saturated images (the eye craves blue light). But the LG OLED has more natural colours under typical Aussie lounge room light. Note that the 2023 LG Evo OLED C3/G3 are brighter again by up to 70%. Sony also uses a Samsung QD OLED panel in its A95K which supports Dolby Vision.

There is a complete comparison of the 2022 LG G2 Evo OLED and Samsung S95B OLED at rtings. In particular, look at the picture uniformity, and you will see how LG OLED has more natural colours.

A quick overview of Quantum Dot (QD)

QD was first used in LED/LCD TVs. It is variously called LG NanoCell, Sony Triluminous, Samsung QLED, Hisense QLED, and TCL QLED etc. In an LED/LCD TV, a blue light LED backlight shines through a QD layer. There are billions of them in a quantum-dot TV. The 7nm ones glow red, and the 3nm ones glow green.

There could be another deal breaker – Dolby Vision IQ

There is one crucial factor that may tip you towards LG OLED. It supports Dolby Vision IQ (colours and tones automatically adapt to ambient light levels).

Samsung QD-OLED (in fact, all Samsung TVs, smartphones, and monitors) do not support Dolby Vision. According to, “It uses its own [royalty-free] HDR10+ technology. Dolby Vision requires extra production costs and licensing fees. If Samsung used this technology, it wouldn’t be able to offer the same price as it does now.”

So, Samsung uses a lower-cost QD OLED panel and no Dolby Vision support. In fact, any Dolby Vision content is downscaled from frame-by-frame metadata to the vastly inferior static movie-by-movie HDR10 standard. Simply put, Dolby Vision content looks worse on Samsung TVs. Most streaming services now identify Samsung TVs and send an HDR10 stream instead.

CyberShack’s view – The difference between OLED and QD OLED is mainly in marketing

Oils ain’t oils, and it is clear OLED ain’t OLED. LG and Samsung OLED are like chalk and cheese. It is kind of unfair of Samsung to call it QD-OLED when it really only uses a Blue OLED backplane, but that is why they invented marketing.

If you don’t want Dolby Vision (and we can’t imagine why someone spending good money on the Samsung S90B HDR10+ QD-OLED would not want it), then it is a great TV with slightly brighter and more saturated colour. But in our view, that advantage disappears in typical lounge rooms where the LG Evo OLED with Dolby Vision IQ presents a better picture.

The real advance in TV will come with RGB pixel-level micro-LED TVs that don’t need QD or filters. But these are hugely expensive, and it takes a 110” TV to cram in 25M RGB micro-LEDs to get 8.3M 4K pixels. Smaller-sized screens will likely not happen until micro-LED technology allows halving or more of the current individual LED size or you accept a lower resolution 2K 55” micro-LED TV. It is why you won’t see 4K micro-LED PC monitors or headsets either.

Further reading

LG G2 Evo Gallery Edition – OLED gets even better (TV review)

Confused about TV tech? That’s just what they want! (guide 2023 update)

If LG OLED Evo is so good, are other types of TVs crap? (opinion)

Samsung OLED TVs – an about turn