Many cutting-edge home theatre setups have OLED TVs as the centrepiece, but this technology is far from flawless. Several forthcoming televisions, including many OLED-based models, were on display at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Size expansion and heightened rivalry among OLED panel manufacturers aside, the most intriguing advancement was the promise of enhanced peak brightness.
Screen brightness is an issue for OLED panels, especially when contrasted to their cheaper LCD competitors. The future OLED TVs of 2023 will mostly boast increased brightness capabilities and show the possibility of extraordinarily rich highlights, but it will be a while before you want to place an OLED TV in your sun-filled living room.
The issue of brightness in OLED displays
If you had to list the disadvantages of an OLED TV vs an LCD one, the two most common would be the higher price and lower brightness. OLEDs are notoriously dim compared to LCDs, despite their ability to produce extremely deep blacks. Good OLED TVs can really make the highlights in HDR video pop, and the panels’ continued use of deep blacks helps create next-level contrast. However, in a well-lit room or when the OLED TV is situated near a light source, the image can be difficult to appreciate because to the lower overall brightness.
Take LG televisions as an illustration. Using FlatPanelsHD, the 2022 LG G2 was able to achieve an out-of-the-box brightness of 269 nits with SDR and 166 nits with HDR. When measured by RTINGS.com, the brightness was 199 nits in SDR and 177 nits in HDR. The LG QNED90 is LG’s top-of-the-line 4K LCD TV, so you can clearly see the difference. According to RTINGs, the brightness of the Mini LED TV is 571 nits with a complete screen of white in SDR mode and 622 nits in HDR mode.
In reality, there is a lot more to picture quality than just the maximum brightness setting on a TV. When compared to the Mini LED QNED90, the 2022 LG G2 excels at producing vivid HDR highlights (976 nits versus 750 nits, respectively). As a result of their deeper black levels and wider dynamic range, OLED TVs also produce more nuanced colours and detailed imagery in low-light scenes.
Full-screen brightness capabilities are (or should be) a key factor when choosing a TV for a bright environment where people may view the screen from side angles.
Despite the promise of next-generation OLED TVs this year, the harsh reality is that these displays are best suited to dimly lit environments. That’s a major drawback for such a pricey piece of technology.
And while HDR with OLEDs is magnificent, some may choose an LCD TB with advanced features like Mini LEDs and local dimming backlights for a brilliant picture in bright rooms and with SDR material and high, but not OLED-level, contrast when it comes to HDR.
Latest LG OLED TVs
LG made a CES announcement that piques one’s interest: OLEDs with higher brightness. But when and how do modern TVs get those extra nits out of the picture?
The G3 series of LG’s 2023 OLED TVs features 55-, 65-, and 77-inch 4K panels that are, according to LG, up to 70% brighter than standard OLED TVs. All other LG 2023 OLED TVs lack the Brightness Booster Max feature, which LG says is made possible by a new “light control architecture and light-boosting algorithms.”
A representative for LG told FlatPanelsHD that the G3 series is capable of peak brightness of roughly 1,800 nits, with the TV’s Vivid Mode perhaps reaching even higher levels of brightness. The newspaper also claims to have seen a document indicating that 2,100 nits of peak brightness will be supported in HDR mode. LG Display, who produced the OLED screen used in the G3, claims that its improved OLED technology is capable of 2,100 nits within a 3% brightness range.
Meanwhile, the paper FlatPanelsHD saw indicates that the maximum brightness for the entire screen will be 235 nits.
There is still a lot to see and test, and we don’t even have prices or release dates for the televisions yet. First impressions of LG Display’s 2023 OLED panels are positive, according to CNET’s reporting on early demos. An early production sample of LG’s G3 OLED technology achieved 1,514 nits in a 10 per cent window and 209 nits across the entire screen, according to an HDTVTest video posted on YouTube.
boosting light output
LG Display, the company responsible for making the OLED panels used in LG G3 TVs, refers to its cutting-edge technology as META Technology. LG Display plans to market META Technology OLED to other industries, including the monitor manufacturing sector. These OLEDs are LG Display’s third generation, following the company’s second generation and the industry standard. In 2021, EX panels will be released with the promise of being 30% brighter than standard OLEDs.
The convex lenses used in third-generation OLED panels are just one micrometre in diameter, and they are stacked in layers. The purpose of this Micro Lens Array (MLA) is to increase the amount of light emitted by the OLED screen, and it is placed in front of the layer of OLED pixels.
Traditional OLED panels are more sensitive to having light reflect back inside, affecting brightness; the lenses are intended to perform a better job of sending light out and distributing it. According to LG Display, MLA-enabled OLEDs are 60% brighter than “traditional” OLEDs.
The MLA is also expected to result in televisions that are 22 per cent more efficient in terms of energy consumption.
If both products are set to 50% brightness, LG Display claims these TVs would have 30% broader viewing angles than conventional OLED displays.
There are approximately 5,117 microlenses in each pixel on LG Display’s 77-inch panel, which can be found on LG’s G3 TV. This adds up to a grand total of 42.4 billion microlenses.
FlatPanelsHD revealed that LG Display has stated an intention to implement MLA throughout all of its OLED product lines.
The META Booster is an improved algorithm that is part of the META Technology that is supposedly responsible for the enhancements. According to LG Display, the system continuously evaluates incoming data to enhance the white balance, colour saturation, and overall brightness of each scene.
Brighter QD-OLED televisions
It wasn’t just LG Display at CES promoting brighter OLED televisions.
In 2022, Samsung Display shocked the OLED industry by releasing QD-OLED panels for televisions and monitors that utilise quantum dots to enhance colour. Even Samsung’s first OLED TVs in a decade were early adopters. Like LG Display’s competing META Technology-based OLED, Samsung Display has unveiled an upgraded QD-OLED for 2023 that promises higher luminance. To complement its existing QD-OLED offerings, Samsung Display has introduced a 77-inch model.
Note that no displays have been officially announced as employing Samsung Display’s new OLED before we go into the technology. The 77-inch Samsung S95C and the cheaper S90C, both of which were revealed at CES, are strong contenders (at the least, S95C and S90C will have some sort of brightness-booster feature, per CNET).
Samsung Display claims that its 2023 QD-OLED panels can reach peak brightness levels of over 2,000 nits. Like LG Display, it claims that improvements can be attributed to improved AI and a new material used in the panels.
The material, OLED HyperEfficient EL, was developed to increase “the colour brightness of each RGB,” according to a press release from Samsung Display. Samsung Display states that because it is used on the display’s blue-emitting layer, “RGB light that passes through the QD colour conversion layer is substantially brighter and the colours are clearer.”
This new material, in addition to the improved algorithm, is said to reduce power consumption by 25 per cent in TVs and monitors using Samsung Display’s upgraded QD-OLED panels over previous-generation models.
IntelliSense AI, Samsung’s upgraded technology, collects “information on each pixel in real-time” and utilises that data “to precisely manage light, allowing viewers to enjoy superb image quality,” but the company didn’t elaborate beyond that.
Last but not least, the algorithm and unnamed new material are meant to reduce auxiliary equipment’s power consumption by 25%.
If you were thinking that 2023 would usher in OLED TVs that would look amazing next to a bright window or when mounted high on the wall beneath a gleaming ceiling light, you’ll be very disappointed. Even while certain high-end OLED TVs are predicted to be brighter in 2023 than their 2022 predecessors and more economically-minded 2023 models, their improvements won’t be significant enough to make them suitable for bright spaces or to compete with the luminosity of LCDs.
The LG G3, for instance, may achieve 209-235 nits of full-screen brightness, according to reports from CES media participants, which is an improvement above the 166-199 nits evaluations reported for the LG G2 in 2022. Meanwhile, Samsung Display demonstrated a prototype that supposedly achieves 250 nits in full brightness. The Mini LED-based LG QNED90 reportedly reaches 622 nits full-screen, which is significantly less than the brightness of LCD TVs.
Clearer text may have been produced by TVs using Samsung Display technology if the company had announced support for Dolby Vision or updated the technology’s triangle sub-pixel arrangement.
When the material is being seen that can make the most of the enhanced highlights, the true difference in 2023 TVs employing next-gen OLED panels from LG Display and Samsung Display should be obvious. Owners of high-end OLED TVs in 2022 won’t be deterred by that. However, it could be enough to tempt customers who are using older or non-OLED television sets. Plus, it’s plenty to get HDR fans pumped up.
Don’t get us wrong. Due to advancements in these areas, OLED televisions may soon be a practical option for use in brightly lit spaces in your home. Nonetheless, for the foreseeable future (at least the next decade), OLED televisions will remain contrast-rich HDR juggernauts with finely nuanced colours that will look their best when seen in a darkened room with the shades drawn.
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