2022 was supposed to be a big year for TV technology. This was supposed to be the year that QD-OLED TVs took the world by storm, and OLED TVs will finally reach the 1,000 nits peak brightness mark. So far, however, QD-OLED TVs have caused little more than a swish, and high-end OLED TVs seem to be stuck at around 800 nits.
That’s not to say it’s been a bad year for TV tech — the mid-range LG C2 OLED and Samsung QN95B still wowed us when they hit our test stand earlier this year — it seemed like my predictions for what TVs could do in 2018 2022 was a bit high.
As the year comes to an end, I look back at what I expected to see this year, and what we ended up with instead.
It did not deliver on the promise of QD-OLED
I remember sitting at briefings for QD-OLED TVs, and hearing the same line over and over again: “QD-OLED promises the best of both OLED TVs and QLED TVs in one package.” This was – and is – to some extent true.
The QD-OLED TVs we’ve tested so far have delivered higher brightness than regular LG OLED TVs and have better black levels than Samsung’s standard QLED TVs. What they didn’t tell me was that QD-OLED’s black levels wouldn’t be as good as they are on OLED TVs and their peak brightness wouldn’t be as bright as QLED TVs.
That’s exactly what we discovered when we reviewed the Samsung S95B OLED. While we were pleasantly surprised by Samsung’s QD-OLED peak brightness (1,500 nits), it wasn’t able to maintain that brightness when the window size was more than 10% of the total screen. This meant great HDR highlight when there were only a few bright things on the screen, but not impressive brightness when everything was supposed to be bright.
Black levels likewise left us disappointed. “Although an OLED TV should, in theory, have a perfect black level (because any unused pixels are completely turned off) results in infinite contrast,” our reviewer wrote, “the S95B doesn’t.” We can actually see the high black level in ambient light.
In the end, it’s all we can do is give Samsung’s first QD-OLED a respectable — if not entirely spotless — score of 4 out of 5.
However, 2022 was a great year for mid-range TVs
But just because the latest and greatest in TV technology wasn’t… well, that great, that doesn’t mean the rest of the year was a mess. Mini-LED TV prices have plummeted with the 65-inch Hisense U8H hitting an all-time low of $899 on Amazon, and OLED Evo technology making its way from the pricey LG G1 series to the more affordable LG C2 OLED series.
Both were huge milestones for TV technology — and in fact, one of my favorite parts of covering TVs is when expensive technology becomes affordable.
Take, for example, the Mini-LED backlight inside the Hisense U8H. It helps the mid-range model reach Samsung’s QLED TV’s peak brightness while maintaining excellent contrast and great black levels.
For a while, Mini-LED was something that was only available on TCL’s high-end TVs, before making its way to Samsung, Sony, and now Hisense TVs. Each time it is passed from one brand to another, the cost drops a bit and you can now buy one for less than $1,000. It’s exactly what I hoped it would be when I first saw them in 2019.
On the OLED side, this was the year the LG C2 OLED inherited the OLED Evo technology from last year’s LG G1 OLED. With it, the C2 was able to expand its peak brightness from 600 nits to 800 nits—not as much as we’d hoped, but a solid boost nonetheless. This was also an example of more expensive technology making its way into a more expensive model and another small victory for TV fans everywhere.
Televisions in 2023: Forecasts
Admittedly, I may have had too high expectations about QD-OLED. But anyone at those briefings would have given up on the same idea. Given that QD-OLED didn’t quite shine in its first year, I hope its second year on earth will bring much-needed improvements to the technology.
Whatever happens next year, I’ll be excited to be on the front lines to cover it for you. However, be sure to check back in early January as we cover CES 2023 and dozens of new TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, and more at the show.