Samsung Rallies Industry Support For `QLED’ TVs

Samsung has started making it known throughout the consumer video display industry that it would like anyone involved in the development, production and sale of display devices enhanced by quantum dot technology to begin referring to those devices as “QLED,” short for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode,” displays.

Samsung is hoping that broad-based use of the term will be less confusing for consumers deciding to purchase a TV or monitor based on one of the newer advanced television technologies.

Further, Samsung recently launched the use of the term with nine other firms including China’s TV manufacturers TCL and Hisense, as well as retailers including GOME Electrical Appliances, Suning Group and, at an international forum on QLED technology in Beijing, China, according to a report on Pulse from Maeil Business News of Korea.

The international QLED forum is being organized by the China Household Electrical Appliances Association (CHEAA).

Samsung feels QLED will be a quick-and-easy distinguisher from the rival Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display technology marketed almost exclusively by LG for the past several years. However, that status changed last year when Panasonic joined the fold in markets outside of the United States, followed by Sony’s global OLED TV introductions for 2017.

LG earlier had formed a similar, though unofficial, OLED alliance with 12 other members including Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba and Chinese TV manufacturers: Skyworth Digital, Changhong Electric and Konka Group.

Whether or not the use of the QLED term will make things less confusing for the general public remains to be seen. There are still a few issues lingering.

Samsung first dropped the use of the QLED term at its CES 2017 press events last January, when it seemed to apply to Samsung’s newest variant on quantum dot technology. Samsung’s announcement also left attendees confused into thinking it was a replacement term for “SUHD,” which Samsung had used as an umbrella sub-brand for its quantum dot-enhanced television models the prior two years.

Earlier, the company had referred to quantum dot TVs as “Nanocrystal” displays.

For 2017 at least, Samsung is calling its quantum dot (ahem, QLED) model lines by the “Q” moniker.

The recent change in marketing strategy began after Samsung acquired the rights to the QLED trademark and other assets from QD Vision, a now defunct quantum dot developer, in late 2016.

QD Vision had been using the QLED terminology to indicate a new variation on quantum dot displays using electroluminescent lighting, in which quantum dot-enhanced pixels generate their own light without the need for LED back or edge-lighting techniques.

Curiously, Samsung’s own executives, who were said to be working on similar electroluminescent quantum dot systems, were quoted in the Korean press in early 2016 using the term QLED to represent that still-pending new architecture.

With the QLED tradename in under its control, Samsung is throwing it up for broader use. Samsung informally mentioned the name to the press through an agent—Chris Chinnock of Insight Media—who met with the CE reviewer press in March, in part, to gauge reaction to using the term generically in product and technology coverage.

What remains to be seen is if the new QLED Alliance will use the definition for any specific level of performance a QLED TV will be expected to produce, although that already seems to have been covered by the Ultra HD Alliance in its “Ultra HD Premium” certification program.

Chinnock said Samsung’s rationale appears to be the desire to simplify messaging to consumers who can include QLED as a display category when doing their research, while giving the technology further legitimacy by expanding the ranks of supporters.