For the last several years, all the most rave-worthy TVs have been OLEDs. These unique displays utilize a different type of backlighting technology to that of mainstream LED TVs, lighting each pixel individually, allowing for greater contrast, deeper blacks and a better picture. Unfortunately, the picture quality historically comes with a high price tag, but OLED TVs have become more affordable of late — you can buy new 55" models for around $1,200, like the LG A1 or Vizio OLED.
When it comes to OLED TVs is that there's really only one manufacturer — and it's LG. This has allowed LG to make many different lines OLED TVs, including its affordable A-Series, its flagship CX-Series and its high-end GX-Series. It also means that any company making OLED TVs that isn't LG probably sources their displays from LG, which both Sony and Vizio do. So if you have an OLED TV from either Sony, for example, the business end is still from LG. You're just paying for Sony's design, picture processing and audio technologies and smart operating system.
Naturally, this has spurred a lot of TV manufacturers to make competitors to OLED. The most obvious example is Samsung's QLED, which is type of LED display technology that adds an addition layer of quantum dot technology, which is filters the screen's backlight so that colors appear more vibrant and saturated than traditional LED displays, where the backlight that lights the entire picture can bleed through blacks, turning them into grays. They end result is a picture that's incredibly bright and beautiful and really "pops", but it's still not on par with OLEDs in terms of contrast, detail and overall picture quality they obtain by controlling pixels' backlighting individually.
But the 2022 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which has more recently become a showcase for innovative TVs, is in the books, has given us a greater glimpse into what the future (at least the "near future") of TVs looks like — and, well, it might not be OLED. That's because new display technologies were on show that could be superior to OLED.
Here's what you need to know.
Mini LED TVs
Sony, Samsung and Hisense all announced that they would be coming out with new Mini LED TVs in 2022. These are a type of LED TV (not OLED) that are built with new Mini LED backlight technology. This extra backlight layer is made up of thousands of miniature LED lights (hence the name "Mini LED"), which gives the TV better control of its dimming zones. The result is a brighter and more colorful picture, with better contrast than traditionally LED TVs. Maybe the best news is that you can expect these Mini LED TVs to be available this year, and they won't be as expensive as OLED TVs of the past.
The new display technology that is the most buzzed about (and likely the furthest away from being widely available) is MicroLED. Developed by Samsung, these new displays work similarly to OLED displays in that don't have a backlight and the brightness of each individual pixel can be controlled (rather than blocks of pixels — called dimming zones — that LED TVs control), which allows MicroLED TVs to achieve superb contrast and detail. The difference MicroLED TVs can actually get brighter and produce more saturated color (thanks to being made of flexible non-organic material) than OLEDs, but since it's a new technology, these MicroLED TVs are huge (none smaller than 76-inches), rare and wildly expensive right now.
Samsung QD OLED TVs
Samsung announced its first QD OLED TV at CES 2022. These are the company's first OLED TVs, yet the distinguish themselves by also being integrated with the company's Quantum Dot technology. Essentially, they promise to combine the best of both OLED (great contrast, detail and viewing angles) and QLED (color and brightness) display technologies into one ultimate TV. However, no pricing or available of these new QD OLED TVs has been announced — but you can expect them to be very expensive.
LG OLED EX TVs
LG has been in the OLED TV business for over a decade — its first OLED TV was announced in 2010 — and naturally it has improved its display technology over the years. Its OLED Evo panels, which were first integrated in the company's 2021 Gallery Series, delivered higher brightness than previous OLED TVs. And at CES 2022, LG announced all-new OLED EX TVs, which are the next evolution of its OLED Evo display and promise to be its brightest yet. You'll be able to buy these new LG OLED EX TVs later this year.