The mainstream commercialization of colloidal quantum dots (QDs) for light-emitting applications has begun: Sony televisions emitting QD-enhanced colors are now on sale. The bright and uniquely size-tunable colors of solution-processable semiconducting QDs highlight the potential of electroluminescent QD light-emitting devices (QLEDs) for use in energy-efficient, high-color-quality thin-film display and solid-state lighting applications. Indeed, this year’s report of record-efficiency electrically driven QLEDs rivaling the most efficient molecular organic LEDs, together with the emergence of full-color QLED displays, foreshadow QD technologies that will transcend the optically excited QD-enhanced products already available. In this article, we discuss the key advantages of using QDs as luminophores in LEDs and outline the 19-year evolution of four types of QLEDs that have seen efficiencies rise from less than 0.01% to 18%. With an emphasis on the latest advances, we identify the key scientific and technological challenges facing the commercialization of QLEDs. A quantitative analysis, based on published small-scale synthetic procedures, allows us to estimate the material costs of QDs typical in light-emitting applications when produced in large quantities and to assess their commercial viability.