A new kind of display is about to make TV images appear even more lifelike. LG will show off a TV based on quantum-dot technology at CES 2015 in January, and the company also plans to start selling it later that year.
Quantum-dot tech uses extremely tiny crystals — measuring 2 to 10 nanometers — to generate light. (That’s so small that the tiniest crystals are only about 20 atoms thick.) Different-size crystals generate different colors, and the size of the crystals can be controlled precisely. As a result, quantum-dot displays can reproduce color that’s even better and more accurate than OLED screens, the current leading tech for advanced TVs.
There are already a few products with quantum-dot displays, most notably Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX, and China’s TCL announced in the fall it would build the world’s first TV based on the tech.
With LG, which sells roughly 17% of the world’s TVs, on board, quantum-dot sets will have a shot at going mainstream. The company didn’t say how big the TV would be, only that it would have 4K (a.k.a. Ultra HD) resolution, it would be on display at CES, and that the product would join its official lineup in 2015 (i.e., it won’t just be a technology demo).
In LG’s set, the quantum dots are in a “film” that’s mounted on the TV’s LED backlight but, otherwise, the technology is just like an LCD model. With the quantum dots, however, the color gamut is increased by more than 30% With the quantum dots, however, the color gamut is increased by more than 30%, LG says.
One big downside of quantum-dot TVs has been their reliance on cadmium, which is considered a toxic substance. But LG says it has solved this problem, claiming its new quantum-dot set is cadmium-free.
LG didn’t give a price for the TV, and it probably won’t until it’s ready to ship, but there’s reason to be optimistic: TCL’s set sold for one-third the price of an comparable OLED TV. The most advanced technology doesn’t always need to be the most expensive.