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This is part of IEEE Spectrum's Special Report: The Day Analog TV Dies

Of the brave souls who bought any of the 13 176 digital television sets shipped in 1998, let it be said that never have so many paid so much for so few hours of programming. Sets went on sale as early as August, yet some buyers live in markets where there is no digital TV (DTV) to watch at all—and will not be for some time. That includes San Diego, Calif., where retailer Tom Campbell told IEEE Spectrum that his aggressive Dow Stereo chain in 1998 delivered nearly 100 sets to customers unlikely to receive terrestrial fs until late this year. Conspicuous consumption? Perhaps. Faith in the promise of progress? Certainly. But though digital programming is still offered in only a minority of locations, consumers have good reason to buy the US $7000-plus sets as a down payment on the future. For one thing, manufacturers have configured the digital models for the early market, and for another, they have included desirable features that can be exploited in the meantime.

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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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