QLED vs. UHD: Which Is Better? Side-by-Side Comparison

QLED vs UHD featured image

QLED vs. UHD: Which Is Better? Side-by-Side Comparison

Key Points

  • UHD was created by the Consumer Electronics Association of America to denote when a consumer display is capable of 4k resolutions or greater
  • The two terms, QLED and UHD, are often confused as competing product types.
  • QLED is a type of panel used in displays.

Consumer electronics marketing campaigns have done a lot to muddy the waters when it comes to product education. They did not achieve this on purpose. Technology has a way of improving faster than anyone can keep up with. The same can be said for those who are trying to sell it.

While some terminology found on an electronics retail website or in-store is purely fluff language, a lot of the terms have real meaning. QLED vs. UHD is a perfect example of this.

UHD was created by the Consumer Electronics Association of America to denote when a consumer display is capable of 4k resolutions or greater. QLED is a type of panel technology.

QLED is a type of panel technology. It’s an LCD screen with LED backlight.

The two terms are often confused as competing product types due to poor competitive marketing. Different brands want to make their respective products appear to be innovative and unique. Their marketing departments then decided to go wild with marketing terminology in the absence of standardized terms.

This has led to certain buzzwords being printed alongside their technical specifications, which is rather redundant. It also led to consumer confusion when new technologies are released. QLED has been claimed to also be a marketing term by consumer reviewers as they see QLED TVs as improved liquid crystal displays.

It will take a while to clean up the mess marketers made with consumer education. UHD denotes the clarity or resolution of display technology. QLED is a type of panel used in displays. That’s all you need to remember to understand the difference between the terms.

QLED vs. UHD Side-by-Side Comparison

What it isTV Display TechnologyResolution Description
Primary useDisplaying ImagesDescribing consumer display products
NameQuantum Light-Emitting DiodeUltra High Definition
ConceivedN/AOctober 2012
Initial releaseApril 2017October 2012
Technical committeeSamsung R&DConsumer Electronics Association of America
Influential developersSamsungConsumer Electronics Association of America
Open formatYesYes
Technology influencedN/AOLED, LCD, QLED

What is QLED?

QLED is an acronym for “Quantum Light-Emitting Diode”. It applies small nanoparticles called Quantum Dots to create the colors and imagery on the screen. The color output of a QLED TV can be controlled by hand and tuned intelligently. QLED TVs shine LED blue light through a liquid crystal layer which delivers red and green light variants.

QLED’s are a vastly improved iteration over the previous LCD screens that used only white light LEDs through a liquid crystal screen to create color and imagery. By using a blue LED, QLED’s achieve a faster color switch and a more responsive and smoother image. QLEDs are also known to last longer than their earlier counterparts.

What Are Quantum Dots?

Quantum dots are man-made particles, clusters of atoms, that are so small that they have virtually no dimensions. In fact, they’re typically 1/10,000th the size of a human hair! Quantum dots exhibit quantum effects because they are so tiny. Because their electrons are confined in such a small space, they have discrete energy levels. This state imparts quantum dots with different optical and electrical properties than larger particles of the same material.

Due to photoluminescence, when exposed to UV light, quantum dots can transport electrons and emit light in a wide spectrum of colors. A quantum dot’s size and composition determine what color it will emit when light hits it. The result is that television screens utilizing quantum dot technology have a more vivid, wider range of colors than screens using other technologies.      

What is UHD?

UHD is a consumer sales term that was introduced by the Consumer Electronics Association of America. It stands for “Ultra High Definition.” At first, the idea was used to represent resolutions that were attempting to take over the market at the time.

The lead products were high definition, either 720p or 1080p. The next generation needed a flashy new name to help showcase the improvements and incite consumer novelty. UHD began to stand for resolutions above 1080p.

As most resolutions between 1080p and 4k were never used for televisions, the term worked for the time being. After 4K began to become a standard, UHD became synonymous with resolutions at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels or higher. However, technology never stops. 4K as a term for high definition resolution is already being supplanted by newer 8K resolutions. As such, UHD has been adapted to now stand for the highest available resolution displays.

As the term “UHD” refers to screen resolution, QLED TVs can be considered UHD as well. In some cases, you may see the labels next to each other on product packaging.

TV ultra HD. 4K television resolution technology. HDTV ultra HD concept
The term UHD stands for Ultra-High Definition and refers to screen resolution. 4K, a term for high definition, has already been replaced by 8K resolution. Image: Proxima Studio, Shutterstock

What’s the Difference?

UHD and QLED are not competing technologies. In fact, UHD is a descriptive term that does not denote a specific technology is used. While QLED is an acronym for what kind of display technology is used. What this means for the general consumer is that some products may be both QLED and UHD. As UHD has been adopted as the standard resolution for quality home entertainment, you likely will find it hard to see anything other than UHD anymore.

Is QLED Better Than OLED?

The names are incredibly similar, but the technology behind them is vastly different. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode. This means the display panel can produce light and target colors without relying on the backlighting that an LED panel uses, even QLED. This allows OLED panels to be slimmer which creates a thinner product. It also provides color contrast beyond comparison.

Since OLED provides its own light when dark colors or black appear they are achieved by producing little or no light. In comparison to LED panels, this means the black shades will appear darker while the LED panels will still show a slight glow from “black” shades on the screen.

Not All UHD TVs Are QLED, But All QLEDs Are UHD

QLED TVs are sold at 4k resolutions and higher. While it is possible for lower resolution QLED panels to be produced, most manufacturers are aiming for their products to be top-tier quality not just new technology. This means that it’s a safe bet to say that any QLED you will find on the market will likely be UHD. However, a UHD TV can also be LED, LCD, OLED, QLED, or even from a projector.

QLED vs. UHD: 11 Must-Know Facts

  • QLED TVs are almost all UHD. As a newer technology, QLED is utilized in 4k resolutions and higher which happens to qualify them as UHD displays.
  • UHD, or ultra high definition, refers to the resolution of a display being 4k (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) or higher resolution.
  • QLED and UHD are not competing terms.
  • Not all UHD TVs are QLEDs. There are other panel technologies than LED backlight panels such as OLED, LCD, and LED.
  • Ultra-High Definition is a standard of image resolution.
  • 4k displays have at least eight million active pixels.
  • Samsung invented the QLED.
  • Quantum Dots are the key to QLED. They range between two and ten nanometers in diameter and produce different colors based on size.
  • Flagship QLEDs can hit 2000 nits of peak brightness.
  • Quantum Dots allow QLED TVs to have a higher range of color tones than their predecessors.
  • QLED is still an LCD screen with an LED backlight.
QLED vs UHD infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

What is QLED?

QLED stands for Quantum Light-Emitting Diode. It refers to a specific LED backlight technology that uses blue LED lights through a Quantum Dot liquid crystal filter to produce color and target imagery. It is an improvement on the previous LED displays that were introduced by Samsung in April 2017.

What is UHD?

Ultra-High Definition, or UHD, is a consumer marketing term created by the Consumer Electronics Association of American intended to ease the marketing terms used to sell displays. It represents that a display is either 4k resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) or higher. For the average consumer, it was meant to represent high clarity and quality.

What Are the Pros and Cons of QLED VS UHD?

QLED and UHD are not adversarial terms. QLED is a type of technology invented by Samsung in pursuit of the highest quality imagery available. UHD is a term meant to signal to consumers that a product is of 4k resolution or higher. QLED TVs are typically UHD, so the pros and cons would be one and the same. A more apt comparison to make would be QLED versus OLED.

Which is better QLED or UHD?

As stated in the previous question’s answer, QLED and UHD are not incompatible terms. In fact, most QLEDs are UHD TVs. In this case, they are one and the same. However, there are other screen technologies than LED backlight panels like OLED. OLED makes use of organic materials that emit light on their own. This allows for richer color contrast when compared to QLED’s crystal-filtered backlight panel.

If the comparison were between OLED and QLED, there is still a debate to be had. I would argue that OLED displays offer a richer experience for cinema, but QLED displays are just as good and may last longer.

Is it worth buying QLED over UHD?

QLED TVs are ultra-high definition. Therefore, buying a QLED TV is buying a UHD TV. These TVs are excellent for an immersive home theater experience.

Is QLED better than UHD?

For that last time, no. QLED is a type of technology. UHD is a consumer marketing term that denotes 4k resolution or higher. QLED TVs are typically also UHD TVs.

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