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QLED can’t beat OLED. So why is Samsung pushing it so hard?

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Samsung QLED TV

QLED can’t beat OLED. So why is Samsung pushing it so hard?

Samsung’s QLED TV tech is part innovation, part marketing ploy and part stepping stone to the real future for television displays.
If you are in the market for a new TV, last week you may have seen Samsung parade its 2018 line-up, headlined by its latest QLED models.

Aside from the new entry-level Q6, the rest of the range somewhat confusingly use exactly the same model numbers as last year. However, that isn’t the only area of possible confusion because Samsung has been making some fairly bold claims about its QLED range.

In fact, the brand’s advertising says that QLED is the “next innovation in TV”, but is this really true or just marketing flimflam? And perhaps more to the point if you are about to shell out for a new set, should you go for QLED, OLED or hold out for the next tech that promises to be better than both?

What is QLED?

Let’s start with a simple statement – QLED is not a new TV technology. Samsung’s QLED TVs use LCD panels, which have been around for decades, and LED (Light Emitting Diode) backlights which have also been in common use for nearly ten years. So why all the fuss? Well, the answer lies in the “Q” in QLED, which alludes to Samsung’s use of quantum dot technology.

It isn’t the only manufacturer to implement this relatively new development into its TVs, but it has certainly invested the most resources.

Quantum dot, as the rather space-age name suggests, are tiny particles that emit light in very specific wavelengths. As a result, an LED backlight coated with a quantum dot nano-filter can not only reproduce more colours, but it can do so with greater precision.

An LCD TV using a quantum dot LED backlight is also capable of very high levels of brightness, and this is important because we are currently in the middle of a televisual war. The combatants in this particular conflict both originate from the Korean peninsula and are the two largest TV manufacturers in the world – Samsung and LG. The cause of their hostilities is the advent of Ultra HD, which is itself a paradigm shift in TV technology.

TV arms race

For the avoidance of doubt, when we say Ultra HD we don’t just mean 4K resolution, although that is certainly an important element. Ultra HD also relates to the high dynamic range (HDR) and wide colour gamuts (WCG), both of which are just as important as the resolution of a display.

It’s about better pixels and not just more pixels. In fact, given that all Ultra HD TVs can display 4K content without any issues, it’s a TV’s ability to correctly handle increased dynamic ranges and more colours that differentiate one model from another.

This has resulted in a TV arms race with all the major manufacturers busy promoting the relative merits of their particular models and quoting higher numbers in their marketing.

But what’s set Samsung and LG at loggerheads, aside from their inherent animosity, is the very different TV technologies that they are utilising.

LCD vs OLED

Samsung decided to put its corporate weight behind long-established LCD technology, while LG invested billions developing a genuinely new technology in the form of OLED or Organic LED. If you’re wondering what that is, there’s a good chance you already have an OLED screen in your pocket because they’re used extensively on mobile phones.

LG has taken that technology and expanded it to larger screen sizes for use in TVs because it feels it offers certain advantages: OLED is self-emissive, which means when an electrical charge is passed through the pixels that compose the panel they glow. In that sense, they are very similar to plasma panels and offer the same advantages such as deeper blacks, a superior contrast performance and wider viewing angles.

So if OLED panels are so great, why isn’t Samsung using them? Well, it does, at least in its mobile phones, which often boast high-quality OLED screens made by Samsung themselves. Samsung even makes the OLED screen used in Apple’s iPhone X

However, while it is relatively easy to make small OLED screens for portable devices, scaling that up to screen sizes of 55-inches or more is a different matter. Samsung did dabble in OLED TV screens for a while, even releasing a model back in 2013, but it hit a snag.

It used what’s called RGB OLED, which means that every pixel was composed of a red, a green and a blue OLED. The problem is that blue OLEDs decay twice as fast as red and green ones, so in order to mitigate this Samsung made the blue OLED twice as big as the other two.

It was a rather clumsy solution and eventually, Samsung felt that the development and production of OLED TVs were proving too costly, so in 2014 it quietly abandoned the technology in favour of LCD and quantum dot. Samsung’s arch rival LG took a different approach when it came to OLED TVs and developed an elegant solution to the problem of blue OLED decay.

It uses what’s called WRGB OLED where each pixel is a combination of a white OLED with red, green and blue filters, thus avoiding the need to use a blue OLED at all.

To the victor the spoils

LG took a considerable gamble on the long-term prospects of OLED, investing billions of dollars in the development and production of large screen panels. After more than five years that gamble paid off in 2017 when OLED TVs reached mass-market price points and LG bumped Samsung off the number one spot in terms of premium TV sales.

The success of OLED hasn’t been limited to LG and we have seen major manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic and Philips also enter the market. While LG might not relish the competition, the others have to buy from the Korean company because they essentially have a monopoly on panel production.

All this left Samsung in a rather difficult position because it couldn’t produce its own OLED panels and it would be a cold day in hell before the company admitted it made a mistake and bought them from LG.

Since Samsung had financially committed itself to LCD and quantum dot, its only solution was to aggressively push the inherent benefits of that particular technology. If the advent of Ultra HD had started a TV arms race, then Samsung was going to have to boost its nuclear arsenal.

You see, while LCD panels can’t compete with OLED in terms of black levels and viewing angles, they are much brighter – and the addition of quantum dot means they can also deliver more colours. Which brings us conveniently back to QLED.

So which is best – QLED or OLED? Well, that really depends on your priorities. If you want the best HDR performance then, on paper at least, QLED is the winner with its higher peak brightness and wider colour reproduction. However, because an LCD TV works by passing light through the panel there are always issues when it comes to reproducing blacks or avoiding haloing, which is an annoying glow around light objects against a dark background.

The higher brightness requirements of HDR only exaggerate these issues, so Samsung’s latest QLED models claim thousands of dimmable zones in an attempt to avoid these problems. The company also uses VA (Vertical Alignment) LCD panels because they can deliver better black levels, but they also have very narrow optimal viewing angles.

Source: Wired

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BUSINESS

Econet goes into forex exchange. Launches bureau de change

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Ecocash Zimbabwe

ECOCASH has launched a digital mobile phone-based bureau de change in a move set to increase competition in the foreign currency exchange business.

The innovative facility, a first by a mobile money service provider, will likely revolutionise the business by providing the much-needed convenience to the platform’s 10 million registered customers.

According to the company, the new service will allow EcoCash customers to sell foreign currency in real-time and instantly have the local currency converted and credited to their wallets.

The move follows the granting of an operating licence to EcoCash by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has an effect of increasing access to specialised digital financial services to millions of Zimbabweans.

Speaking at the launch of the service in Harare yesterday, EcoCash chief executive officer, Ms Natalie Jabangwe, explained how the service would work.

“Before performing a currency conversion transaction, one needs to fund their EcoCash wallet,” she said, adding that a wallet could be funded in a number of ways.

“You fund your wallet by doing a cash-in of physical US dollars (or forex) into the wallet. Or you fund your wallet over the counter, at any Econet Shop. You can also fund your wallet through a direct in-wallet receipt of remittances from the diaspora into your EcoCash wallet. This could be through existing EcoCash remittance partners, which include Cassava Remit, World Remit, Mukuru, Western Union, Money Gram, Orange Botswana and MTN.”
Ms Jabangwe said an EcoCash customer could also fund their wallet via a Nostro bank-to-wallet transfer on their phone, from their respective FCA bank account linked to the EcoCash FCA wallet. She said once the wallet was funded, a customer could then proceed to dial a dedicated EcoCash Bureau de Change menu on the access code *150# to carry out their transaction.

“Customers will be able to check the rate of the day, get a quote for the amount to be sold and receive instant ‘confirmation of sale’ of foreign currency and the ZW$ conversation amount – all this happening via their mobile phone,” Ms Jabangwe said.

Cassava Smartech CEO, Mr Eddie Chibi, the parent company of EcoCash, said: “We are excited to be the first and only mobile financial service provider in Africa to offer this innovative service to our customers, empowering them with a simple, convenient, fast and real-time Bureau de Change service that they can access and use to transact anywhere, anytime.”

He said the service will help customers access competitive exchange rates quickly, convert or change their money in real-time, and transact on a secure platform that they have come to trust.

Ms Jabangwe said EcoCash Zimbabwe continued to leverage on the dynamic innovation capabilities that technology gives by building new products and services that go beyond the early services of financial inclusion.

“The advantage of having a scaled transaction platform is that you can build new services in line with a changing market environment. Accessibility of these services on the mobile phone enables us to travel the journey with our customers towards more complex but necessary financial services in the future,” she said. The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe ventures into trucks business

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Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe

Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe, yesterday launched the Vaya logistics unit, an additional entity that deals with delivery trucks and van services under its Vaya division.

The launch of the new product was done at the Cassava Smartech stand at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

Like any ordinary ride, the trucks and vans can be “easily” booked from anywhere at any time via the convenience of a mobile application, management said.

Chief executive officer Mrs Dorothy Zimuto said the launch came about after Cassava had noticed high demand for service to transport cargo on the market.

“Today, here in Bulawayo, we are launching Vaya logistics under the Vaya division because we noticed that there is a need to transport cargo from one place to another,” she said.

She said the company noticed that people using Vaya mobile were bringing cargo along with them which small rides could not transport.

“Previously we only had Vaya express, which moved small packages from one point to another but we have now introduced vans and trucks that can transport heavier cargo,” said Mrs Zimuto.

She said the services were not in competition with any business but were rather complementing what is already on the market.

Mrs Zimuto said Cassava was working on introducing waste disposal services and Vaya specialists services such as borehole drilling, road construction and plumbing under the Vaya division.

She said Cassava was looking at creating a pool of builders, plumbers, electricians, agronomists, mechanics, drivers, nurse aides, carpenters, tillers, tailors, tutors, hairdressers, barbers and domestic workers so that they can be connected to their various markets under an initiative called Technites.

Cassava Smartech has managed to successfully bring into operation Vaya tractor and ambulance services, which can also be accessed on the Vaya mobile app.

Meanwhile, Cassava Smartech, taking advantage of the ZITF platform, has also launched its shuttle services by offering free rides to exhibitors, business people and professionals travelling to the trade fair by air.

Throughout the trade fair week, the Vaya shuttle will be offering free shuttle service to all visitors to ZITF landing at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport. The Chronicle

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DIASPORA

Frank Buyanga Lamborghini Avedantor S owner

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Frank Buyanga

Frank Buyanga has emerged as the owner of the Lamborghini Avedantor S worth about R7.48m that landed in Harare a fortnight ago.

Last week H-Metro reported on the vehicle, whose owner was a mystery then that had been spotted in and around Harare’s northern suburbs including a popular shopping centre.

However, Frank Buyanga turned out to be the owner on Saturday afternoon as he returned from his South Africa base.

Frank Buyanga was spotted with the car at the arrivals section at the Robert Mugabe International Airport and moments later he walked into the Lamborghini Avedantor S and drove off.

Lamborghini Aventador S contains all the usual stuff about new four-wheel steering systems, a 130 per cent improvement of front axle downforce and a whole new control unit to marshall inputs from all the active systems, but none of it, no matter how high-tech, overshadows the drama.

This is how the Aventador S shapes up. It still uses the same central carbon tub with aluminium sub-frames fore and aft. It drives all four wheels through a central Haldex clutch.

The engine is the same 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12, but the valve timing and variable intakes have been altered, yielding another 40bhp (and exactly 1lb ft more torque). The power gain is also aided by a raised rev limiter (from 8,350rpm to 8,500rpm).

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