QLED/HDR10 Summit 2017

I had the opportunity this week to present at the QLED/HDR10 Summit in Hollywood, CA. The Samsung sponsored event was a gathering of experts in quantum dot display technology, and next-generation display content and the technology behind it. While my contribution was focused on quantum dots on LEDs, the topics covered were far more broad and opened my eyes to the breadth of technology and amazing people involved in the display community. Here are some highlights.

Quantum dots

Samsung kicked off the QD session with an in depth look at their QD mateirials development. Still committed to InP QDs, they have made amazing progress in improving the optical properties of these materials, inching closer and closer to the performance of Cd-based materials. Samsung claims that 2017 QDLED models will include red and green QDs with <40 nm full width half max! Pretty amazing progress considering that 3 years ago InP QD performance was insufficient for displays.

Nanoco presented their work on quantum dots to replace current color filters. While there are some clear advantages to a technology like this (brightness, viewing angle, and efficiency just to name a few) there are a lot of problems still to be solved for this application. It was certainly a hot topic with many people debating its feasibility. More on QD color filters in a future blog post.

Other topics in the QD session included perovskite QDs (an amazing new material, but still contains heavy metals), as well as EMD/Merck detailing their plans to create Cd-free materials for QD displays.

Wide color gamut

The reason Samsung and others are using QDs in place of traditional phosphors is to improve the viewing experience by expanding the colors available to display while improving brightness and efficiency. There was a lot of discussion surrounding BT-2020 gamut and heated debates about if a color gamut larger than DCI-P3 is really necessary. Will the average viewer be able to tell the difference? Is it even possible to reach BT-2020? Will this throw a wrench in the video production/post-production/broadcasting of content? I don’t claim to know the answers, and by the spirited discussion, I can tell you that other experts in this field don’t know all of the answers yet either. You can tell from the gamut comparison that displays that contain QDs have a MUCH larger gamut than those without (but you all knew that). And while comparisons like this might be a good sales pitch, what the consumer will actually see with their own eyes is a far more complicated story. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

HDR is becoming a more common feature in high end TVs recently. This feature is a benefit especially in dark scenes (think moonlit night). What you really notice is the detail in the dark regions of the image. Samsung and others have been developing this technology for the past few years, and true HDR it is still only available in high end TVs. One issue that was raised is that there is no governing “HDR police” to set and inspect TVs that are marketed as HDR. Rest assured, if you are purchasing a $400 TV that claims to be HDR, it will not be nearly as impressive as a true HDR available in a much more expensive display. Samsung has debuted its newest HDR10+ in collaboration with Amazon as an open source rival to Dolby Vision.

Overall it was a great conference with educational and spirited discussion about QDs, HDR, and display technology in general. I’d like to thank Samsung and Insight Mediafor inviting me to be a part of it. One thing is for sure; displays are improving (quantum dots and HDR are only a few of the recent advances)… but how we are going to deal with the transmission and use of the additional data that comes with these advancement is another story. For now, I recommend we enjoy the beauty and technology that can be created with only three colors. The advances in HDR and quantum dots will become mainstream soon enough.

Thanks for reading.

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