According to a new report from TrendForce subsidiary WitsView, one of the highlights of this year's consumer electronics exhibition – commonly referred to as CES 2018 – is the feud between QLED and AMOLED in televisions. These are, of course, both relatively new technologies to be included in TVs and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. They also share a similar portion of the market, with QLED TVs reportedly expected market penetration of around 1-percent to 1.5-percent as compared to AMOLED's 0.7-percent to 1-percent. Despite that QLED has a clear lead by the numbers, that's still a relatively small margin and WitsView says AMOLED is actually selling faster. Moreover, the similarities extend into both the features and quality of visuals allowed by both. While it would feasibly be possible for both technologies to coexist, it's also entirely possible that those are indicators of a new technology battlefront just beginning to open up. That competition is also lending itself to the accelerated rate at which new features and improvements are being shown and hitting the market.
In fact, WitsView seems to suggest that the improvements associated with screen resolution and refresh rates, which were big news in their own rights and even 8K televisions appeared prominently, can mostly be set aside. That's because this year saw substantial steps forward behind the scenes, with focus notably shifting toward video processing chips and smart functions in a bid to offer better content in ever-improving HDR-compatible formats. That, of course, lent itself to advances in screen resolution and more, but it appears as though the work to improve televisions from the inside out was the driving factor. In some cases, the A.I. behind the smart features was brought to the forefront in user-facing ways that weren't immediately obvious, as is the case with Samsung's The Wall. The Wall is a QLED panel that utilizes A.I. in order to, the company claims, upscale nearly any content seamlessly to 8K resolution. Meanwhile, smart functionality advanced to include NVIDIA-specific features in some televisions and, as alluded to above, the inclusion of HDR standards such as HDR10+ and Dolby Vision is beginning to further penetrate the market. At the same time, LG and others unveiled their own smart, UHD televisions operating on AMOLED technologies – keeping the competition effectively neck-and-neck over the course of CES 2018.
Bearing all of that in mind, WitsView concludes that the battle between the two competing technologies is likely going to continue for the foreseeable future. The analytics firm also says that QLED could ultimately pull ahead over the long-term if Samsung can overcome some of the technical limits it faces in improving its displays. Primary among those, the report says, are obstacles related to the integration of Quantum Dots into the Panel Cell process instead of the backlight modules. However, Samsung is also heavily invested in the creation of MicroLED panels, which could put a third technology into the mix. WitsView posits that could show results well before any breakthroughs happen with Quantum Dots. In any case, while the vast majority of the new features are showing up only at the ultra-high-end of the TV market, those features will undoubtedly begin to trickle into more affordable products as well. At very least, it can be surmised that the increasingly competitive race to the top will be a boon for consumers.