Despite these premium 2021 TVs (ranging from the mid-range QN85A and QN90A to the high-end QN900A 8K TV) coming packed with high-end specification and performance, its Samsung's addition of Mini LED backlighting that is helping to bring down power usage and improve overall efficiency.
Mini LED technology makes use of light-emitting diodes that are 1/40th of the sizes of traditional LEDs, allowing for far more precise brightness control. This means that the overall brightness of the screen can be lower, without lighting up pixels that don't need the extra visibility.
Samsung claims that energy consumption is reduced by "about a quarter" (so, 25%), through a combination of improved backlights and optimized power supply boards too – while the slim nature of Mini LEDs means that its screens are even more compact and resource-light than before. Samsung also introduced a new solar-powered TV remote for its 2021 QLED range, doing away with disposable batteries for good.
Of course, we wouldn't necessarily advise you to chuck your current television to get this more efficient one right away. Throwing away a TV can be damaging to the environment in itself, if not properly recycled, and it can cause waste to make upgrades before an older model has really run its course.
But if you need to upgrade your old LCD, and are looking for a model that won't take such a toll on your energy bills, a Neo QLED / Mini LED model should certainly fare better. The only other thing to consider is whether an OLED might be better...
It's not easy being green
TV makers are increasingly laying out their green credentials these days, and in a consumer tech market prone to wastage, a move towards sustainable practices can't come soon enough.
LG has laid out some attractive figures for OLED TV recycling, showing that OLED panels for 65-inch TVs require a mere 0.43kg of plastic, compared to the 5.2kg of plastic utilized in a 65-inch LCD. That's 12 times as much plastic in an LCD screen – and it's not plastic that's easily recyclable, either, given the complexity of the material (via Business Korea).
OLED TVs fare much better when it comes to power usage too. Due to the self-emissive nature of OLED panels, they don't require the backlight systems of LCD and QLED screens, and use a fraction of the amount of energy.
In 2017, SGS also praised LG's reduction of "hazardous substances" in OLED TV manufacturing compared to LCD, as well as the ability of a "self-luminous display [...] that used less parts and attained greater resource efficiency and recycle rates."
Samsung made some noise in 2020 around 'Eco-packaging' for select new Samsung TVs, made from "eco-friendly corrugated cardboard" that can be repurposed into a pet kennel or magazine rack, alongside moves to replace metal staples with glue and utilise more recycled plastic in its packaging.
However, the aggregate wastage of plastic-heavy LCD TVs may be more than these green measures can counteract by themselves.
- Check out the best OLED TVs you can buy