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Digital Dilemma

Converting to digital television is supposed to be simple. It's not

3 min read

When the U.S. Congress voted in 2006 to stop over-the-air broadcasts of analog television on 17 February 2009, it assured the public that going digital would be cheap and painless. It allocated US $1.5 billion to help fund the purchase of converter boxes for what was supposedly the tiny minority of U.S. households that don’t subscribe to a cable or satellite television service. But if my experience is typical, the coupons are just the first step in a conversion that will be neither painless nor, in the long run, cheap.

I ordered two coupon cards back in January. They arrived in April, and in June I purchased a $50 RCA converter box at Wal-Mart. A different brand at Radio Shack was sold out.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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