What are quantum dots on a 4K TV?
Tiny crystals that make your 4K TV pop with bright, vibrant colour – find out why quantum dots rock our world
25 Apr 2016
Take your 4K TV’s picture quality to the next level by choosing a model that has quantum dots in its screen.
These tiny crystals deliver a massive upgrade in colour and brightness and get the best from cutting-edge technologies like high dynamic range (HDR) and 4K resolution.
What are quantum dots?
Tiny nano-crystals that glow bright and colourful when light is shone through them. Incredibly small, the crystals cannot be seen by the naked eye, and TV displays will be made up of billions of them.
What is a quantum dot TV?
New high-end 4K TVs from Samsung use quantum dots in their screens. The TVs captured headlines at CES 2016 tech show in Las Vegas – and now you can get one for yourself.
Quantum dot, HDR, 4K – I’m confused
The important thing to remember is quantum dot isn’t a specific new category of TVs. It’s a technology on the new high-end 4K TVs – often alongside HDR.
So you won’t be choosing between a 4K and a quantum dot TV – but a 4K TV with quantum dots or a 4K TV without quantum dots.
But what are they exactly?
These are LED-backlit LCD TVs with 4K resolution. In short they use the same type of screen as a regular 4K or HD TV but have considerably more colour capacity. They’re not a completely new type of screen, like OLED.
How do quantum dots improve picture quality?
The range of colours your TV can produce when it has quantum dots is huge. Expect more accurate, realistic colours. The colours are brighter too.
HDR and quantum dot = TV perfection
HDR or high dynamic range is a major TV technology that creates pictures that are packed with colour and have excellent contrast. Colour accuracy and contrast (the difference between how bright and dark a picture your TV can create) are the most important elements of picture quality.
And Quantum dots are designed to get the best from HDR. Take Samsung’s SUHD TVs. These are 4K HDR TVs that add quantum dot displays to deliver more than 1 billion colours.
This enables them to get the best from HDR video sources like Netflix or Ultra HD Blu-ray – to show movies and TV shows with excellent contrast between dark and light, detail in shadowy scenes and vibrant, realistic colours.
Quantum Dot TVs can also reach incredibly high levels of brightness – this improves contrast by offering many more shades between black and white than a regular TV.
Samsung’s SUHD TVs, for example, can reach a brightness of 1,000-nit. Forget what you already know about nits, in this context they’re used to measure light – and the higher the number, the brighter the screen.
This makes these TVs much brighter than an OLED television.
OLEDs are however better at creating deep black colours. Though quantum dot TVs use local dimming technology to improve blackness in dark areas of the screen.
How do quantum dot TVs work?
A 4K TV is made up of liquid crystal pixels that create a picture when light is shone through them. This light is provided by tiny LEDs known as a backlight or edge-light.
A layer of quantum dots sit between the LCD pixels and the backlight. In a regular LED TV the backlight is white, but in a quantum dot TV it is blue.
When the blue light is shone through a dot a colour is emitted. Each tiny dot is designed to create a specific colour – the colour is determined by the size of each crystal.