TV Tech In 2022: Better OLEDs, Better LCDs, And A Little Something Called QD OLED – Forbes

Until a few weeks ago I was feeling pessimistic about the likely state of TV tech in 2022. With 2021 having turned out to be a vintage year thanks to the widespread adoption of new, brighter OLED hardware and moves by Samsung and LG into mini LED backlighting for LCD screens, early word about what we might expect to see in 2022 made it sound like it was only going to be a year of consolidation. A few more dimming zones here, a little processing improvement there, but nothing to really sink our AV teeth into.
The pre-CES rumour mill, however, now has me thinking that 2022 may actually prove to be even more of a watershed for TV technology than the year we’re just about to say farewell to.
QD OLED promises the brightness and colour volume of LED TVs and the black levels and local contrast … [+] of OLED TVs.
Heading up the excitement is the increasing certainty that we will see the world’s first QD OLED TVs finally going on sale to consumers. Combining Quantum Dot LED and OLED technologies, QD OLED screens promise to provide the brightness and colour volume advantages of LCD technology with the self-illuminating pixels and resulting extreme contrast and viewing angles of OLED technology. 
There have been rumours of QD OLED arriving in living rooms for years now, but this time round the combination of both anecdotal and specific chatter I’m hearing from a multitude of sources suggests that 2022 is definitely going to see QD OLED TVs happen. And very likely from more than one brand, too. 
In terms of ‘regular’ OLED, meanwhile, as I reported a couple of days back things have suddenly got unexpectedly interesting here, too, with the announcement by LG Display of new OLED EX technology. This claims to be able to use deuterium in a way that hasn’t been possible before to deliver up to 30% more brightness than regular OLED displays, and its set to go into mass production in the second quarter of 2022. 
It should be said that the higher brightness OLED panels introduced in 2021 already delivered a brightness boost of between 15 and 20% over previous standard OLED screens. So the new OLED EX may only actually be 10% brighter than those 2021 OLED game changers. However, when you’re talking about local contrast control right down to pixel level like OLED can deliver, 10% more brightness can deliver really significant results. What’s more, my expectation would be that TVs using OLED EX technology will likely be substantially cheaper than the first QD OLED sets.
LG Display’s OLED EX technology promises the brightest OLEDs yet. But will it turn up in 2022 TVs?
What’s not clear yet is whether the 2022 OLED TVs from brands that sell OLED TVs will use the OLED EX technology. Even if they don’t, though, it definitely seems that we can expect more widespread use of last year’s high brightness OLED panels across various brands’ OLED ranges, including seeing them finding their way into more mainstream OLED price points.
The other major TV area where I’ve gone from ‘meh’ to ‘yeah’ recently is Mini LED. Again I initially suspected that we’d just see a bit of consolidation on this front – stuff like it working its way into slightly more mainstream pricing, plus maybe a small uptick in dimming zone numbers and so on. It’s now looking increasingly likely, though, both that Mini LED will be adopted by more brands, instantly raising the ‘average quality’ level of LCD TVs generally, and that new processing and power management developments might potentially take Mini LED’s already strong performance to a higher ‘second-gen’ level than I’d first anticipated.
One other area where I’m starting to think we might see more interesting things happening than initially expected is living room projectors. Ultra short throw projectors started to be developed and pushed as a serious alternative to TVs like never before in 2021, and I expect this trend towards developing UST models with more video-tuned picture quality and features will continue to develop in 2022.
I also think, though, that these ‘permanent installation’ UST projectors may be joined by a new breed of what might reasonably be called lifestyle projectors; ultra portable, ultra-bright, exceptionally easy to set up models with built-in smart features and potentially even battery power options. Design-led, convenience models that sit somewhere between the old ‘Pico’ projectors briefly popular a few years back and the larger, more picture quality focused models AV fans have grown accustomed to. 
We’ve seen early signs of this new market emerging from one or two relatively obscure brands from the far east, but it looks set to spread to more mainstream brands in the course of 2022.
Micro LED is still gorgeous – but still miles away from being ready for the mainstream domestic … [+] market.
Let’s finish, finally, with something that looks – again – like it’s NOT going to become a TV ‘thing’ in 2022. I’m talking, of course, about Micro LED. Once lauded as the natural future of TV thanks to its ability to deliver self-emissive pixels like OLED technology does but without the brightness and screen burn limitations associated with OLED’s organic elements, the manufacturing issues associated with Micro LED continue to make it both far too expensive for the mainstream market and pretty much a non-started at screen sizes smaller than 90 inches or so. 
So far off does Micro LED seem as a feasible living room option for anyone who isn’t a millionaire, in fact, that some have speculated that Samsung has felt compelled to increase its focus on its QD OLED technology as a mid- to long-term Micro LED replacement.
The good news is that we don’t have long to wait before we get a pretty big glimpse at how accurate or otherwise my TV predictions for 2022 are. After all, the 2022 CES in Las Vegas is still set to go ahead next week despite Covid issues around the globe, bringing with it the inevitable deluge of new TV technology announcements. All of which, of course, I will be covering on my Forbes channel. See you there!

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