Hisense’s ULED XD TV Aims to Compete With OLED Tech

Chinese TV manufacturer Hisense just unveiled its ULED XD television, with plans to offer high-end technology at a lower-than-typical price. According to the company’s director of product management Chris Porter, the company puts 5 percent of profits every year into R&D, which has allowed it to develop the set’s proprietary technology — some of which has never been released in the U.S. market. At CES 2019, Hisense showed off the ULED XD, which is essentially comprised of two connected 4K LCD panels, and a proprietary chipset that reportedly offers exceptional deep blacks.

Digital Trends reports that one 4K panel is for grayscale or luminance and the other for color. The grayscale panel “essentially becomes the backlight, meaning in the dark spots of an image, it simply doesn’t shine light through the color panel and out to your eyeballs — meaning darks are really, really dark.”

Current LCD TVs use “local dimming zones” to handle the fact that the technology doesn’t do well at producing blacks. Rather than the “dozens or even hundreds” most LCD TVs offer, Hisense states it handles dimming on a pixel level, with 8.3 million dimming zones.

“Instead of just utilizing zones or little blocks … we’re able to take local dimming all the way down to the pixel level,” Porter said. The result, according to Hisense, are “black levels 100 times blacker than today’s fanciest LCDs” and brightness “over 1,000 nits.” The company also said the set offers “100 percent DCI-P3, a hot buzzword that basically means a measurement of better color.”

The reviewer reports on Hisense’s demo of a “handmade set marrying a 1080p panel and a 4K panel, side by side with a very fancy OLED set,” and found that the “comparison was striking.” This set with two 4K panels is currently only found in the company’s R&D lab in Qingdao, China.

The ULED XD is scheduled to ship in 2020, and the price is not yet set, but Hisense has stated that it will be “noticeably cheaper than the OLED sets that [it aims] to supplant.” The DT reviewer notes that the biggest impact will be a lift for the Hisense brand, whose goal is to be on a level with TV set manufacturing’s biggest names.

For additional tech specs on the Hisense ULED XD dual-layer TV, check out this CNET report.