Clarity and contrast, the magic of OLED! 3 manufacturers, 3 approaches, what's the difference?
Are you a TV lover, hoping to renew your set soon, but have no idea where to start to choose the best screen out of the best technology? Over the years, we've gone from CRT, to CRT rear projection, to LED, to PLASMA, to LED, to QLED and Neo QLED, to OLED, WOLED, QD-OLED! Basically, CRTs were grandpa's tube TVs and huge screens with giant (and heavy) rear-projection casings. Nowadays, manufacturers use LED technology for their low-cost models, while QLED and the "NEO" variant are reserved for high-performance models, just as OLED, WOLED and QD-OLED are found in the flagship sets of each of today's major manufacturers. To help you choose from this last and ultimate category, OLED and its variants, I offer you this little "OLED 101" to better guide your search...
What is OLED technology?
This technology is an improvement on the traditional LED. A television image is made up of millions of colored dots, but in the initial approach, called LED for Light Emitting Diode, each dot is made up of three basic color dots: red, green and blue. To see these coloured dots, there is a backlight behind each one, the intensity of which is reduced as needed via a filter that, like darkening glasses in the sun, reduces the passage of light. There are two problems or limitations with this principle: firstly, it's impossible to produce absolute black, as there will always be some light left, and secondly, this principle, with light coming from behind the dot, has its limits when it comes to image brilliance and color intensity. By way of comparison, the old Plasmas worked on the same principle of direct ignition.
The new approach uses self-illuminating points of light. Each point emits its own brightness close to the screen matrix. Since the dot can be turned off, the result is true blacks and full-tone colors. What's more, because the pixels are directly flush with the screen, there's less parasitic diffusion of brightness known as blooming. Blooming is when a white logo appears on a black background and you see light all around it, impairing contrast in everyday operation.
OLED types on the market.
There are four main types of OLED display:
OLED is the basic principle, and is used in various TV applications, as well as in mobile devices, tablets and other display devices. It offers a fair image, but can sometimes lack brilliance.
AMOLED is a less energy-intensive version of OLED, used mainly in mobile devices. It differs in that, unlike traditional OLEDs, the pixels do not remain under continuous voltage. In OLED technology, pixels receive a signal to switch on or off, whereas AMOLED is directly switched on or off. This, unlike OLEDs which remain active off or active on until further notice, results in significant energy savings and absolute contrast. Traditional OLED uses the "passive matrix" principle, while AMOLED, which stands for "Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode", uses an active matrix.
Since OLED is less luminous than other principles such as QLED and conventional LEDs, this WOLED approach adds a fourth point of white light. As this Pixel can also be switched off at will, the absolute black quality of the matrix is maintained. In situations of extreme brightness, however, this principle can "wash out" colors by diluting tints to full tones.
QD-OLED is the latest development in OLED. Developed by Samsung, it is also used by Sony in its best TVs. With QD-OLED, two operating principles come together to achieve the best of both worlds! Like OLED, each dot is individually controlled and can therefore be switched off to achieve absolute contrast. However, each dot is made up of a triple blue OLED base which lights up quantum boxes, i.e. color converters that modify the hue to obtain perfectly calibrated greens or reds. The blue comes from the direct emission of the blue OLED base... The result is 100% color accuracy, since no white sub-pixel is needed, and superior brightness and brilliance, since no color filters are used. Colors are therefore more vivid and realistic than with WQLED. The purist, who seeks no compromise, will choose a model with this new technology.
The big three manufacturers and OLED.
As a result, I suggest sticking to these three majors, while the other brands that are mainly sold in supermarkets are still unproven in terms of performance, but especially in terms of reliability.
The Korean manufacturer has extensive experience in AMOLED technology, while most of its popular mobile devices are equipped with it. In its TV sets, it has been using the quantum box principle since 2017 in model boxes called QLED and NÉO-QLED. Now well mastered, quantum boxes are also used in the QD-OLED S90 and S95 series.
Samsung stands out from its competitors in terms of the speed of its reproduction capacity. It's the only one to offer a processor clocked at 144 Kz in game mode, versus 120 for the others. The image is crisp and high-contrast, in the absence of white pixels. There's never any jitter, whether in fast or very slow motion. Sound, especially in the 95 series, is clear, crisp and powerful.
The S90 series models feature the same panel as last year's S95, which is an excessively slim 1/8 inch! The section containing the electronics at the rear is quite compact compared to others.
As for the S95, this model features the new 2023 panel, even brighter and higher in contrast. The electronics are housed in an external box called "One connect", so there's no "bump" on the back of the TV, allowing it to be mounted completely flat on your wall.
Dolby Atmos sound is well reproduced in 4.2.2 70-watt R.M.S. configuration.
The only downside is that Samsung still doesn't incorporate Dolby Vision decoding for extreme contrasts, for which you'll have to turn to Sony. However, HDR10 support is available, which is already excellent.
Sony doesn't manufacture its own OLED panels, but rather uses panels from its competitors, but that's no fault, since signal management is a specialty of the Japanese manufacturer, which has extensive experience in cinematography via its Sony Entertainment division. Clearly, a good panel backed up by the best software will deliver stunning performance!
The entry series is called A80 and features a panel made by LG. It's a WOLED panel.
The difference comes from the XR cognitive processor, which adapts colors according to a pre-programmed chart of hues adapted to the human eye, so a correction is made to compensate for certain difficulties inherent in our vision!
The A80 uses the popular Google TV platform, an intelligent operating system, and the TV features an internal microphone for hands-free voice control. Other interesting features include an S-Center speaker input, which can turn the TV into a center speaker channel when a Sony soundbar is connected, and an ATSC 3.0 tuner for live streaming support up to 4 K. Sound emanates from the screen, which distributes sound evenly to you.
Sony takes an ecological approach both to manufacturing, with the use of recycled plastics, and to energy consumption.
Sony's standard-bearer this year is its A95 series, which makes the most of Samsung's second-generation QD-OLED panel.
The QD-OLED panel delivers the best results at present, with optimum luminance and contrast reproduction, and is perfectly suited to Dolby Vision coding, recognized as the most powerful to date.
The casing is slim, but not too slim, allowing the back of the camera to be mounted flat on the wall, an important aesthetic consideration. An extraordinary innovation from Sony, the Bravia Cam is a versatile camera that analyzes your viewing position in the room and adjusts the optimal image rendering as required. This function also calibrates sound according to room configuration. The Bravia Cam is easily deactivated for those who see this as a problem...
For furniture mounting, the TV's feet are minimalist, barely visible.
The only downside here is that the processor, which acts very smoothly in fast motion, sometimes induces a slight hopping sound in very slow motion.
When it comes to possible adjustments, the Sony A95 allows for extra adjustments versus the competition, allowing you to adjust the performance of this outstanding screen 100% professionally... Sony's A95 televisions have unquestionably been the best of recent years. Their outstanding picture quality, advanced intelligent features and elegant design set them apart. This series has made a name for itself over the years, winning numerous awards in reviews of the best TVs of the year.
Lg is the forerunner of OLED, having introduced it in 2013.
Two series attract our attention: the C3 and G3, while the B1 is only available in supermarkets and offers old technology that performs poorly...
LG's OLED TVs all use WOLED panels
C3 The all-round model.
This year, C3 OLED pixels shine brighter than ever before, thanks to the light control algorithm and other improvements driven by the α 9 Gen6 AI 4 K processor. The increased use of white pixels gives a further impression of clarity. Like Sony, Dolby vision is included, although the panel performs less well than one using QD-OLED. The LG C3 is visibly lacking in image brilliance compared to its rivals. For gaming, response is lightning-fast, with a response time of 0.1 milliseconds thanks to the on-board NVIDIA G-Sync processor.
The C3 is an excellent TV for watching the latest blockbusters. Like all OLEDs, the C3 offers incredible contrast, with deep inky blacks. It also offers excellent smoothing of low-quality content and very good upscaling of low resolutions. So, whether you like to watch movies on legacy formats like DVD or via 4K streaming services like Netflix, your content will always be crisp without too much pixelation grain. However, the TV isn't very color-faithful; while most viewers won't notice this, if you're particularly attentive to color accuracy, it will annoy you.
G3 LG's best offer yet.
The LG G3 OLED is an exceptional TV with no real weaknesses. Its excellent brightness in SDR and HDR makes it ideal for watching TV shows or classic movies in SDR. In fact, LG promises 70% more brilliance than its C3 series thanks to the use of "MLA" (Micro Lens Array) lenses, essentially microscopic magnifying glasses that focus light for greater intensity. As the OLED principle is sensitive to marking, this solution avoids overheating the pixels by activating them too intensely for greater brilliance. This approach delivers extreme luminance beyond that of QD-OLD, but with less accurate rendering in bright colors...
Please note that the G3 series does not incorporate a mounting foot, but only a wall-mounting kit.
The downside of LG OLEDs is the aggressive brightness correction system in the room, which is sometimes annoying because the image is so bright. To be deactivated.
The last word.
3 manufacturers with three different approaches, that's the dilemma! Clearly, Lg is finally improving its panels with the G3 MLA, a TV that performs well with increased brightness. Samsung definitely offers the best Gamer experience with a processor speed of 144 Kz. QD-OLED technology is the way of the future, so much so that Sony also uses it in its best TVs. Speed and fluidity in all circumstances are Samsung's great strengths. When it comes to reproduction quality for the purist, Sony's A95 series wins first place hands down. The secret lies in its Dolby Vision and HDR+ capability, combined with infinite possibilities for adjustments by the Cognitive processor, which adapts the image to the human eye. Certainly the most expensive, but more than candy, as the saying goes! Let me start by saying: are you in love with television?
Good viewing and as always,
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