LG’s 4K/8K QNED TVs with Mini LED tech arrive next year

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With 2,500 dimming zones and 30,000 LEDs, are these the best alternative to OLED?

Television buyers will soon have another acronym to contend with when LG launches its QNED Mini LED TVs next year. The company says the sets represent a giant leap forward in TV picture quality, offering improved brightness, color, and contrast compared to traditional LCDs.

While LG is known for its excellent OLED televisions, QNED sets are part of its LCD lineup. Mini LED technology uses smaller and much more LEDs than high-end LCD TVs, boosting their peak brightness and contrast ratio.

LG says the QNED TVs’ Mini LED backlighting is made up of “almost 30,000 tiny LEDs that produce incredible peak brightness and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 when paired with up to 2,500 dimming zones and advanced local dimming technology.” Those figures are likely for the 86-inch models.

Mini LEDs allow for excellent HDR image quality, thanks to the high contrast, deep blacks, wide color gamut, and “incredible” color accuracy. While that’s all very impressive, LG emphasizes that Mini LED can’t compete with its OLED TVs’ self-lit pixels, though the QNED sets will doubtlessly be cheaper.

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TCL already uses Mini LEDs in its 8 Series televisions, which boast 25,000 LEDs in around 1,000 control zones. LG’s main television rival Samsung is expected to add the technology to its LCD TV lineup next year.

The QNED line also features quantum dot and NanoCell technologies, as well as 120Hz refresh rates that should make them a good choice for living room gaming. The 2021 lineup includes ten new 4K and 8K models in various screen sizes, reaching 86 inches. They will be on show at the virtual CES 2021 event.

Less tech-savvy consumers may now wince at having to deal with OLED, QLED, and QNED TVs. It’s also important not to mix up Mini LED with the similar-sounding MicroLED, the latter of which is similar to OLEDs in that it’s self-illuminating with no backlight. Samsung recently revealed its 110-inch MicroLED 4K TV, which promises all the benefits of OLED with none of the drawbacks—unless you count the price, probably.

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