Mini-LED backlight technology has increased in popularity in recent years and is now a commonly found feature in the best 4K TVs. Budget brand TCL was the first to offer mini-LED sets, and was soon followed by Samsung, LG and now Hisense.
The main picture quality benefits of mini-LED are brightness and contrast: sets with the technology are capable of producing a much higher light output than the best OLED TVs, while groups of tiny LEDs used for its backlights can be modulated to provide deep OLED-like blacks and refined shadow details through a process called local dimming.
While Samsung and LG’s Mini-LED sets have been relatively expensive, with the former’s flagship QN95B Neo QLED 4K TV starting at $2,300 for a 55-inch model, TCL has managed to keep prices for its smaller-screen models limited to under $1,000. They are now joined by Hisense, which has recently started shipping its new LED-backlit U8H series TVs with list prices starting at $1,100 for a 55-inch screen, although that model is currently on sale. for $700 (opens in new tab).
Along with a mini-LED backlight, Hisense’s U8H series sets are equipped with an ATSC 3.0 tuner. This allows the TV to receive NextGen digital TV broadcasts in the US, a format capable of, among other things, being broadcast in 4K/HDR with Dolby Atmos sound.
Hisense’s new, even cheaper U7H series 4K TVs, which were announced at the same time as the U8H series, also feature a built-in ATSC 3.0 digital TV tuner, although these models do not have a full-array mini-LED backlight. .
What else can viewers expect from the U8H series? The LCD panels in these sets feature a Quantum Dot layer for extended color and are rated for maximum brightness of up to 1,500 nits. Dolby Vision HDR is supported, and gaming-specific features include a 120Hz display, variable refresh rate, low-latency auto mode, and Freesync Premium. The U8H series also features Filmmaker mode and a smart Google TV interface with Google Assistant built in.
Analysis: Affordable TVs with mini-LED and ATSC 3.0 will give OLED serious competition
The picture quality benefits of mini-LED are undeniable and a good reason why so many models with this technology are on our list of the best 4K TVs. And while OLED models are also at the top of that same list, a new OLED from LG, Sony or Samsung will cost a little more than a mini-LED Hisense or TCL model – more than three times as much in the case of Sony. A95K quantum dot OLED TV.
When you combine mini-LED with features like Quantum Dots, full-array local dimming, Dolby Vision HDR, and now ATSC 3.0 digital TV streaming support, TVs like the Hisense U8H series become an attractive value. and performance proposal. The value part is indisputable, while performance is something we’ll report on shortly in our upcoming full review of a 65-inch U8H-series TV.
Will prices for OLED TVs fall fast enough to make the technology competitive with mini-LED? There was speculation in early 2022 that a possible deal for LG, the only current maker of W-OLED (white OLED) panels, to supply its OLED displays to Samsung, was in the works. That would have allowed Samsung to sell OLED TVs less expensive than the company’s current ones. S95B models that use RGB OLED (also known as QD-OLED) technology.
but this business finally fell when negotiations between the two companies broke down, opening up prospects for cheaper OLED TVs in 2022. Meanwhile, affordable, feature-packed mini-LED TVs are becoming available across a wider range of brands – something clearly highlighted by the arrival of the U8H. from Hisense Series.