Opinion: You Should Never Buy A Premium LCD (LED, QLED) TV!

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LCD TV

If you are in the market for TV, the best panel type is OLED. It is way better than any other consumer display technologies in the market. Yet, we settle for an LCD TV due to its dirt-cheap pricing. For instance, a 55-inch LCD TV with LED backlight, often referred to as LED TV, can be bought for as little as Rs 30,000 in India. On the other hand, the cheapest OLED TV can cost well over Rs 200,000. With such price disparity, it doesn’t really matter which technology is superior. With OLED simply out of the reach, most Indian consumers have no option but to settle for the LCD TVs. Things are changing though, as a German brand Metz, in Association with a Chinese company Skyworth, has brought down the price of OLED TV in half. Priced at Rs 99,999, the 55-inch Metz M55S9A TV is inching towards making the living room OLED TV in India a reality.

Metz OLED

How Much Should You Pay For An LCD (LED) TV?

55-inch is a generous size for a TV. So, assuming that you are looking to purchase a 55-incher, the maximum you should spend on an LCD TV is Rs 40,000. TCL’s online brand iFfalcon offers a killer 55-inch TV for Rs 33,000. By spending Rs 7,000 more, you can get an IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel from Motorola, which is a worthy upgrade. Compared to the regular LCD, an IPS display offers rich colors and wide viewing angles. Beyond this point though, it doesn’t make any sense to invest more in the LCD technology. There are plenty of LCD (LED backlight) TVs from Sony and Samsung that cost as much as Rs 70,000 to lakh rupees but offer no significant upgrade in terms of quality. Sure, some LCD (LED backlight) TVs are better than others but there’s no way that the difference is worth so much. Don’t be fooled by the marketing mumbo-jumbo or some out-of-the-world logic presented by a super confident salesman. If you have no option but to stick to an LCD (LED backlight) TV, make sure not to spend a penny over Rs 40,000.

Iffalcon

How About QLED LCD TVs?

QLED and OLED sound similar, but they have nothing in common between them. QLED is simply a type of LCD. To better understand this, here’s some insight on display technologies. LCD screens are transmissive by design, which means these panels can’t emit their own light. This is where LED backlight comes into the picture (literally). To produce an image, the backlight bend and twisted by the liquid crystal molecules in the display. Since the process involves manipulating light instead of producing it, achieving pure colors and perfect blacks is near impossible. After years of refinement, QLED tech fixes many of the problems associated with the LCD panels. By introducing an additional layer of quantum dots to filter the light, QLED TVs improve the color accuracy and contrast ratio of LCD panels. However, it is nowhere as good as an OLED panel that produces its own light. So, in terms of picture quality, QLED falls in between regular LCD and OLED. However, the price you pay for this improvement is astronomically high. To put things in perspective, a latest 55-inch QLED TV from Samsung and other brands can cost anywhere between 120,000 to over 2 lakh rupees. So far, they could get away with this because as mentioned earlier, 55-inch OLED TVs used to cost north of 2 lakh rupees. But now with a 55-inch Metz OLED TV undercutting the similarly sized QLED TVs, there’s no way you should consider the latter.

Samsung QLED

Samsung has invested a lot of resources and money in developing the QLED tech. It has definitely improved the quality of LCD panels. However, paying a premium for QLED tech when there’s a far superior display technology already available at a similar price doesn’t make sense for the consumers. It is a good short term strategy for Samsung because it saves the company from completely revamping its TV manufacturing facilities for a different display type. LG, on the other hand, is betting its farm on the OLED TVs. Samsung knows that OLED is superior to whatever improvements it is doing to the LCD panels. Otherwise, why would it use an OLED display on its best-selling Galaxy smartphone line-up and brag about it. However, at this point, it is unlikely to make a switch to the OLED tech in TVs. In the long run, Samsung will move to microLED. It is a new display type made of microscopic LEDs that produce colors and light on their own. It will undoubtedly give OLED displays a run for their money in the future. But, till then, Samsung will continue to push its QLED tech.


Chandrakant is a sci-fi movie aficionado and wannabe space explorer. He writes about consumer technology for bread and butter. He has worked with some of the esteemed publications like PCMag, TechTree, Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle, NDTV Gadgets, and more.