The next major Samsung 4K and 8K TV upgrade will launch sooner than we all thought

Samsung is moving away from LCD technology inside its 4K and 8K TVs in favour of Quantum Dot panels, with Samsung Display (the dedicated display manufacturing arm of the South Korean giant) confirming plans to invest $11 billion in Quantum Dot technology by 2025. But while Quantum Dot is already being lined-up as the next-generation of its Smart TVs, the successor to that technology is already on the horizon.

Known as QNED, Samsung Display is already investing in the manufacture of the panels – with production kickstarting as early as the second quarter of 2021, according to a new report from ZDnet Korea and UBI research.

QNED promises to bring a number of advantages to your next gogglebox. It can deliver superior contrast ratios for deeper shades of inky black and vivid colours, higher brightness levels, and faster response times – to better keep pace with live sports, Hollywood blockbusters and next-generation gaming. Samsung believes QNED offers advantages over all existing display solutions and is pushing for the technology to become the next Gold standard.

According to UBI Research, Samsung Display will begin manufacturing some 30,000 QNED panels a month from the second quarter of 2021. The source speaking to UBI Research also claims that once Samsung’s QNED-based TVs hit the market, these will pose a major threat to LG’s WOLED option – which it believes will be the successor to current LCD and LED panels.

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It might take a few years before QNED panels are readily available in your local high street store. And at a price that you’re willing to pay.

Samsung currently uses QLED and LCD for the vast majority of its Smart TV range. For those who don’t know, QLED stands for Quantum Light-Emitting Diode. In a nutshell, QLED panels work in the same way as standard LED TVs – meaning there is a backlight built from hundreds or thousands of LEDs that light the individual pixels.

QLED improves on standard LED by employing nanoparticles – known as quantum dots – to super-charge the brightness and colour of these individual pixels. The result is more vibrant colours. QNED uses the same quantum dot idea to boost its pixels. But QNED costs less to manufacture, which means Samsung could make these panels more affordable – despite boasting better quality pictures than QLED in many instances.

QLEDs still aren’t able to produce quite the same level of inky blacks as pricier OLED TVs. That’s because OLED – or Organic Light-Emitting Diode – panels doesn’t use a uniform backlight. Instead, each individual pixel is an LED which can be switched on and off to create colour or total darkness.

By switching the LEDs off completely, OLED avoids the light pollution from the backlight that makes things look a little grey on LED TVs. It’s also the reason smartphone and tablets with OLED panels can save battery by using apps with primarily black user interfaces.

With manufacturing cranking into gear next year, QNED could arrive sooner than anyone predicted. It’s probably not worth holding off on an upgrade quite yet. After all, the first few batches are likely to be a little pricier and could have some teething problems …but the following upgrade could very likely be a QNED panel.

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