LG might be the company most synonymous with OLED TVs, but tonight it announces what to expect from its LCD-based devices in 2021. Like other manufacturers including TCL it has already done (and Samsung is expected to join soonMini LED technology for the flagship 8K and 4K LCD TVs that will be released next year.
LG says the Mini LED enables “a huge leap forward in LCD TV picture quality.” The best LCD TVs today have what’s called “full local dimming,” in which LEDs – in some cases hundreds of them – act as a backlight behind the screen. These areas are controllable, and each zone can be dimmed to match dark scenes, helping to improve blacks and contrast levels.
The Mini LED changes strategy a bit by using much smaller LEDs (but much more of them) to get more contrast than TVs that would outpace a few hundred areas of dimming.
In LG’s case, the company says its new backlight “consists of nearly 30,000 tiny LEDs that produce an incredible peak brightness and a 1,000,000: 1 contrast ratio when paired with up to 2,500 advanced local dimming and dimming zones. . ” The end result is better contrast, more dynamic HDR, and improved color accuracy compared to the company’s predecessor LCD sets. Like all 2020 flagship LG phones, refresh rates up to 120Hz are supported.
LG has classified high-quality LCD TVs as “QNED”, with Q denoting Quantum dot color and assuming N symbolizing LG’s trademark “NanoCell”. It comes a little awkward – especially since TV shoppers will have to deal with a mix of OLED, QLED and QNED TVs when they’re at your local Best Buy.
It will be the closest comparison to LG’s QNED TVs Something like the TCL 8 Series, Which contains 25,000 LED lights in about 1,000 control areas. (LG says QNED will come in sizes up to 86 inches, which is the number I believe these earlier numbers come from.) TCL’s 6 Series also uses a Mini LED, although the total number is much less than the more expensive 8 Series.
But as the leading brand in OLED TVs, LG is keen to emphasize that OLED is still the place to get the best picture ever – even with all these advances on the LCD side. 2020 saw Vizio enter the OLED TV business and try to drive down LG’s price, but LG isn’t about to easily abandon its top position. (Sony also makes high-end OLED displays; all three companies use LG Display panels.)
Finally, don’t make the mistake of mixing the Mini LED with MicroLED. Think of Mini LED as another development of LCD TVs, however MicroLED is a more drastic upgrade It removes backlight from the equation completely (just like OLED) and combines millions of self-emitting LED lights that only illuminate when you need them. MicroLED TVs are still very pricey, and although we won’t know the prices of LG’s QNED TVs for a few more months, they will be less striking.