Image only for representation (Source: LG)

LG has announced plans to introduce a new family of TVs called QNED series that will use the Mini LED technology and will be sold in multiple sizes (up to 86-inch) and resolutions going up to 8K. The company will be showcasing the flagship 86-inch model of its QNED lineup at CES 2021 that kicks off on January 11. The QNED portfolio will be the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to the company’s LCD TV line-up, but will still sit below the OLED family of TVs when it comes to raw quality as well as pricing. 

Mini LEDs will bring traits of OLED panels to LCD TVs

“As the first TVs to combine quantum dot and NanoCell in one product, LG QNED TVs produce incredibly accurate colors while the advanced LED backlight offers better contrast and deeper blacks for images of exceptional vibrancy and realism. And with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, these TVs render motion smoothly and more naturally,” LG said in a blog post.

What is Mini LED technology?

In case you’re wondering, the Mini LED technology is still linked deeply to the LCD panels, but it tries to emulate the properties of an OLED panel. As the name makes it abundantly clear, a large number of Mini LEDs (each diode measuring at 0.2mm or less) are used to light up an LCD panel, serving as local dimming spots. Now, using multiple local dimming spots rather than a single large one (or a few smaller ones) offers better control over backlighting, so you get deeper blacks and improved contrast. Plus, the brightness output is also touted to be higher.

QNED TVs are still LCDs, but better than regular LCD TVs

Essentially, Mini LEDs try to do what was LED panel does, but at a lower cost. Additionally, it is easier to make a large LCD panel with Mini LED technology compared to an OLED panel. So, you get the best of both worlds – a viewing output that tries to copy all the good traits of an OLED panel and a lower price tag to go with it. However, do keep in mind that OLEDs still offer a better viewing experience because backlighting is controlled at a pixel level, rather than relying on dimming zones. 

How LG is leveraging the Mini LED tech?

LG says that its QNED TVs with the Mini LED technology pack up to 30,000 tiny LEDs (hence, the name) to deliver a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and achieve a superior brightness output compared to a regular LCD panel. With up to 2,500 local dimming zones, LG claims that its QNED TVs will offer a refined visual experience that is tailor-made for HDR content. In addition to an 8K TV with the Mini LED technology, LG will also offer more affordable options in its QNED TV family that target a lower 4K resolution and smaller screen real estate.

The industry is moving towards Mini LEDs too

But it’s not just LG that is moving towards mini-LED panels. Another industry giant that is soon going all-in on the Mini LED technology is Apple. The company is reportedly planning to launch a new iPad Pro with Mini LED display early next year. Additionally, the oft-rumored redesigned MacBook Pro will reportedly debut next year as well packing a Mini LED display.

MacBooks and iPads with Mini LED display are coming

Plus, a MacBook Air with the same technology will likely arrive in 2022. Analyst Min-Chi Kuo has also mentioned that the adoption rate of Mini LED technology has picked up steam at Apple and that its adoption will be faster for MacBooks compared to iPads.

Samsung is also keen on jumping the Mini LED bandwagon, and soon. The company recently trademarked the name “Samsung Quantum Mini LED” before the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), says a Business Korea. Samsung plans to introduce “four mini-LED TV models ranging from 55 inches to 65, 76 and 85 inches,” adds the report. Another report from SamMobile mentions that Samsung’s Mini LED TVs are just around the corner and that they might arrive easily in 2021.

I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.
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