If you’ve taken a leisurely stroll through your local box store’s tech section lately, then you’ve no doubt encountered the abbreviations “QNED” and “UHD.”
They’re two popular abbreviations among numerous other popular abbreviations linked to the TV industry today. But what exactly do they mean? And why do they even matter in the first place?
Let’s take a look at QNED and UHD, paying close attention to what sets these two important but nevertheless distinct TV specifications apart. In time, we’ll have a much better idea about the differences between the two. Follow along!
QNED vs. UHD: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Stands for||Quantum nano-emitting diode TVs||Ultra-high definition|
|Purpose||Combines Quantum Dot and NanoCell tech plus a mini LED backlight for 4K and 8K TVs||Establishes a new quality standard for 4K TVs with a minimum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels|
|Created by||LG||NHK; International Telecommunication Union|
QNED vs. UHD: Key Differences
Now that we’ve outlined these basic specifications above, it’s worth looking closer at some of the key differences between QNED and UHD. We can clearly see that they’re quite different, but what exactly do each of these differences mean?
Let’s break down a few key differences below, from their differing purposes to their conflicting origins to their varying establishments and popularizations.
Firstly — and, without question, most importantly — there’s the difference in purpose between QNED and UHD.
QNED is a television type from LG that brings together Quantum Dot and NanoCell technology with a mini LED backlight. UHD is a quality standard for 4K televisions with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels or wider. In short, QNED’s purpose is to serve as a type of 4K TV and UHD’s purpose is to serve as a 4K quality standard.
Think of it like this: QNED TVs are UHD, but UHD as a quality standard goes far beyond just QNED TVs or the LG brand.
Secondly, there’s a difference in origin stories between QNED and UHD.
QNED is a creation exclusive to LG, with no other brand currently using the QNED name apart from them. UHD, on the other hand, is a creation for the entire tech industry to utilize. From LG to Samsung and Vizio to Hisense, UHD was created for 4K TVs of all kinds. There’s no limit to the usage or branding of UHD, so long as the technology meets or exceeds the resolution standards set forth by the established UHD standards.
Establishment and Popularization
Thirdly, we can see a very apparent difference in the establishment and popularization of QNED and UHD. LG first teased its QNED TV line in December 2020. The tech giant then released the televisions officially in the summer of 2021. They quickly gained popularity in the weeks and months that followed.
UHD, by comparison, was much slower to be established and popularized. Researchers and developers spent nearly a decade perfecting the quality standard, and then it took several years for it to pick up steam and become truly accessible on the consumer market.
5 Must-Know Facts About QNED TVs
- Mini LEDs are found in numerous TV types today, but back in December 2020 when the QNED TV was first teased, mini LEDs were practically unheard of. LG has the honor of being the first to use the tech in a consumer-grade 4K UHD television.
- QNED TVs are not to be confused with QLED TVs, which are a Samsung creation. These similarly-named QLED TVs lack the NanoCell technology of QNEDs, but both TV types utilize Quantum Dots.
- While 8K technology is still years away from being fully embraced, the LG QNED line nevertheless includes 8K variants in addition to its 4K offerings.
- While QNED televisions are some of the most impressive and technologically advanced on the consumer market today, LG has been very upfront about the fact that OLED TVs are still superior.
- The main difference between a QNED TV and an OLED TV? QNED TVs are ultimately LCD televisions with a backlight, whereas OLED TVs have no backlight and rely on organic light-emitting diodes instead.
The History of QNED
Looking at all the TVs on display at the store, “QNED” hardly stands out as unique among all the other three-letter abbreviations. QNED, OLED, QLED, ULED… where is a person supposed to begin? And, more importantly, how are they supposed to know what the differences are between them? This is why it’s necessary for us to lay out the history of QNED.
This particular television type originated back in late December 2020. LG first teased the QNED name in an inconspicuous press release mere days before the new year.
While LG didn’t go into great detail, they did make some strong claims. The most attention-grabbing of the bunch? The part where LG said that their new line of QNED TVs would represent the very best of their lineup of premium liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs. (Forget about QNED versus UHD — LG had just made it QNED versus the world).
In this first press release, LG went on to describe their forthcoming QNED TVs as the most enormous leap in LCD tech in the company’s history. The importance of such a claim is hard to call an understatement.
The general public had no idea about the validity of LG’s claims until the QNED TVs hit shelves in the summer of 2021. As it turned out, they weren’t exaggerating. Their surprising claims proved accurate for three key reasons: mini LED, NanoCell, and Quantum Dot technology. LG’s QNED line was the first LCD TV in consumer technology history to utilize mini LEDs — much smaller versions of the existing LED technology that 4K TVs have long relied on. More than 30,000 of them, in fact. Together, the mini LEDs used in QNED TVs comprise more than 2,500 distinct dimming zones.
How UHD Differs
LG’s QNED TVs officially hit shelves in July of 2021. They were made available in both 4K and 8K versions. The dimming zones found in LG’s QNED TVs combined with the television’s NanoCell and Quantum Dot technology make for one of the most vibrant, realistic, wide-ranging color gamuts in consumer tech today. Equipped with a layer of NanoCell nanoparticles and a layer of Quantum Dot nanocrystals, and it’s clear that LG’s QNED TVs are made up of some of the most innovative television tech that money can buy. But, where does UHD come into the picture?
As it turns out, UHD predates QNED TVs by nearly a decade. Back in October 2012, the Consumer Electronics Association had an important announcement to make. As one of the tech industry’s most trusted names, comprised of more than 1,500 unique brands, such a major announcement was not taken lightly. All eyes turned to the Consumer Electronics Association as they officially debuted a new quality standard in television. They called it Ultra High Definition, or Ultra HD. It would now be the top-quality standard for television displays with aspect ratios wider than or equal to 16:9.
These UHD displays, as they were called, were standardized by at least one digital input that needed to be capable of presenting or carrying a native video signal with a resolution of at least 3840 × 2160p. Japanese researchers at NHK had been working on perfecting and standardizing UHD since 2003 at the earliest. By the year 2007, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) drafted the earliest set of UHDTV standards. By the time the Consumer Electronics Association made its official standards public, the UHD era had officially been ushered in.
QNED vs. UHD: Pros and Cons
|Low glare||8K variant proves to be unnecessary at this point in time|
|NanoCell technology||Lacks the color gamut or picture quality of an OLED TV|
|Quantum Dot technology||LG is the only company making QNED TVs|
|Makes great use of mini LEDs||Very expensive|
|Better resolution than HD||Will eventually be surpassed by a higher quality standard|
|Any 4K TV with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels or more qualifies as UHD||4K UHD TVs are more expensive than 1080p HD TVs|
|Embraced as a quality standard throughout the consumer tech industry||Some HD and SD content is not yet optimized in UHD|
|Best possible resolution on the market today||Not all 4K UHD TVs are the same|
QNED vs. UHD: How Are They Different?
While it might not have been as clear at the start, it’s now pretty obvious what sets QNED apart from UHD. One is a type of TV, and the other is a type of TV quality standard. This has been a confusing part of TV hunting since the early days of digital, with both TVs and TV types describing themselves as “HD.”
In the end, it helps to think of it like this: UHD and 4K are more or less synonymous across the TV industry, whereas QNED is a specific type of 4K UHD TV on the consumer market. In other words, UHD is a quality standard, and a QNED TV is a specific product that boasts that UHD standard.