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LG QNED Mini-LED TVs are its best LCDs for 2021, but they're not as good as OLED

That "N" in QNED is not a misprint: They're different from Samsung QLED TVs.

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LG
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

LG, best known for excellent OLED TVs like the CX series, is coming out with a new line of televisions called QNED. Based on the more common LCD TV technology instead of OLED, QNED combines the benefits of its NanoCell technology with quantum dots for improved color, contrast and brightness, according to LG.

QNED TVs will occupy the upper end of LG's 2021 LCD TV lineup but representatives were careful to say they won't deliver the same level of picture quality as its OLED TVs. At CES 2021 LG announced a whole new OLED TV range as well that includes brighter panels and a new 83-inch size.

Now playing: Watch this: LG amps up the brightness in its 2021 OLED and QNED TVs
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QNED is just one letter away from QLED, a technology touted by Samsung and TCL with largely similar underpinnings (LED LCD backlights and quantum dots), so confusion is inevitable. LG says its QNED TVs will use Mini-LED backlight technology, much like TCL's 6-Series and 8-Series QLED TVs, which again improve brightness and contrast compared to traditional LED backlights. Samsung and TCL, for their parts, also announced Mini-LED equipped TVs at CES.

Read more: Mini-LED LCD TV tech: Tiny lights lead to better picture quality

LG has yet to provide much additional information on its QNED sets. It did not say exactly how NanoCell and quantum dots would work together (both technologies traditionally focus on improving color) or provide more specifications -- aside from saying the TVs would have "up to" 30,000 Mini-LEDs and 2,500 local dimming zones, presumably in the largest sizes. It also did not announce exactly which models will use QNED or what screen sizes and resolutions (4K and/or 8K) they'll have. 

In the meantime TV shoppers are faced with yet another confusing, similar-sounding brand name. At CNET we'll do our best to unravel it once we get more information. How QNED compares with QLED and other high-end LCD TVs, or with OLED TVs, is the biggest question however, and ultimately that answer will have to wait for reviews. Stay tuned.