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What is a QLED TV?

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

TV technology has changed incredibly since the first color broadcasts in the mid-1950s. That rudimentary technology had limits that often led to low-resolution images with inaccurate colors. But advances in research meant that manufacturers could produce more brilliant colors with higher levels of detail. This led to the creation of cathode-ray tubes, then to plasma and liquid crystal display TVs.

The next evolution in display technology turned organic light-emitting diode models into popular household items. Due to their higher 4K and 8K resolutions and accurate color reproduction, OLED TVs are great for video games and films. However, quantum dot LED TVs are also an excellent choice.

Shop this article: Samsung 55-Inch Class Neo QLED 4K UHD QN90A, Hisense ULED 4K Premium 65U6H and Samsung 65-Inch Class QLED Q70A Series

How QLED works

The main component of QLED TVs works on an LED panel. However, it builds on this initial technology by inserting a film of microscopic molecules in front of the panel. These molecules are referred to as quantum dots and, when activated by a light source, emit their own differently colored light.

That’s not the complete journey of these tiny molecules, though. QLED TVs have several other layers inside, such as a prism and diffuser sheet and a guide panel. The frontmost panel facing toward the viewer is LCD, which displays the final image.


The two kinds of TV models share the "LED" acronym, but they operate differently from each other. Where QLED is a variation of the transmissive LED LCD technology, OLED is emissive and uses individual OLED subpixels ... and no LED back panel. These subpixels are responsible for their own light source, increasing color accuracy, brilliant visuals and overall image quality.

Samsung is perhaps best known for QLED TVs, but several other brands use the same technology under different names.

What you need to buy for a QLED TV

Samsung 55-Inch Class Neo QLED 4K UHD QN90A

This QLED TV is the perfect size for epic movie nights. At 4K resolution, the visuals are crisp, and the blacks are much deeper than LED models. It’s also no problem if you have content that isn’t in 4K, as the Neo Quantum Processor automatically upscales it. The gadget has Object Tracking Sound+ for 3D audio, several input ports and a frame rate of 120 hertz.

Hisense ULED 4K Premium 65U6H

Hisense’s internal technology turns this 65-inch TV into an entertainment giant by boosting color accuracy, contrast and visual motion. The Quantum Dot Wide Color Gamut results in more colors, increasing crispness. It has 48 dimming zones, Dolby Vision HDR picture and Dolby Atmos sound and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Samsung 65-Inch Class QLED Q70A Series

This smart TV uses Samsung’s Motion Xcelerator Turbo+ to produce 4K content at an ultra-smooth 120 hertz frame rate. The visuals are kept clear through dedicated warm and cool dual LED backlights that adjust in real time for dynamic contrast. The quantum technology also ensures vivid colors regardless of brightness. It's compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant or Bixby.

TCL 55-Inch Class 5-Series 4K QLED 

Through Dolby Vision HDR, this 55-inch smart TV displays 4K content in stunning detail. Quantum dot technology delivers more than a billion colors with greater accuracy, making it perfect for blockbuster movies. It has 60 localized contrast zones (letting you precisely tune color and brightness), three HDMI connections, an ethernet port, an optical out and one USB port. It's compatible with virtual assistants.

Hisense 50-inch ULED U6 Series Quantum Dot

This 50-inch TV uses Hisense’s ULED technology to deliver brilliant 4K content with sharp color accuracy, variable contrast zones and deep blacks. It has Amazon’s Fire TV built in, letting you access your favorite streaming apps directly from the TV. For a cinematic experience, it uses Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10 and HDR10+. It has four HDMI inputs and one USB port.

Samsung 32-Inch Class QLED Q60A Series 

You don’t always need the biggest TV to get some of the best visuals. This 32-inch model might be smaller, but it still delivers exceptional QLED-quality visuals. The dedicated warm and cool LED backlights provide enhanced contrast, ensuring color accuracy no matter the brightness. It has a built-in processor to upscale any content to 4K, and it is compatible with virtual assistants.

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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