MicroLED technology is a next-generation emissive display technology that promises highly efficient and bright displays that offer superior image quality with infinite contrast and a wide color gamut.
MicroLED can be applied to displays of many kinds - from small displays for smartwatches and AR devices to large-area TV displays.
Tiled MicroLED TV displays
One unique feature of microLED technology is the ability to create seamless large-area displays made from small display tiles. This unique feature is interesting because it can creates extremely large displays in which the cost grows linearly with display size, unlike standard LCD and OLED TV displays which grows exponentially more expensive as display grows.
The Wall by Samsung
Several companies developed such tiled display technology, including Sony, Samsung, Konka, LG and others. Tiled large-area microLED TVs are available on the market today, but prices are very expensive and these are highly premium devices. Are you looking to buy such a TV? Check out our 2021 MicroLED TV buying guide.
One interesting thing to note is that while most so-called microLED TVs are indeed emissive displays, the actual LED chips inside these TVs are not always miicroLEDs, but sometimes actually mini-LEDs (this is true for example in Samsung's TVs, at least for the first-gen models).
Consumer MicroLED TVs
Companies are also developing consumer-grade MicroLED TVs. These will be produced on standard TFT glass substrates, in a similar fashion to OLEDs and LCDs. Producing such consumer MicroLED displays at competitive prices is a huge challenge due to the extreme number of microLED chips - a 4K TV requires almost 25 million individual microLED chips - and these need to be produced on a wafer and transferred to the final TV substrate.
It will likely take many years before consumer MicroLED TVs at affordable prices can be produced. In 2021 we posted a buying guide for microLED TVs.
The latest MicroLED TV news:
LG Electronics has unveiled a new type of residential Magnit MicroLED TV, with a smaller pixel pitch than it showed before.
LG's new TV offers 4K resolution in 136", with a pixel pitch of 0.7 mm. LG's previous generation Magnit TVs offered a pixel pitch of 0.9 mm.
Porous-GaN material platform developer Porotech announced a new technology that it brands as DynamicPixelTuning that makes it possible to create full-color or tunable-color monochrome displays using identical pixels from a single wafer.
Porotech says that DynamicPixelTuning displays will offer high color uniformity without the use of complex fabrication processes. The technology is applicable for all microLED display types, from microdisplays to mobile displays to TV displays.
Towards the end of 2020, Samsung announced it's first "consumer" 110-inch 4K MicroLED TV, and then in early 2021 it said it will release smaller microLED TVs, including 77" and 89" models. The smallest 77-inch model was scrapped later in 2021, and now we learn that Samsung is delaying its plans for the 89-inch and 101-inch models.
Samsung originally planned to start 101-inch and 89-inch TV production in May 2022, but this is now pushed back to Q3 2022 for the 89-inch model. The company did not decide yet when to launch the 101-inch model. Samsung does plan to start producing 99-inch microLED TVs in Q2 2022.
Samsung Electronics installed a large The Wall microLED display at Thailand's The Forestias by MQDC, the country's biggest property development project. The display, installed at The Forest Pavilion will provide a one-of-a-kind immersive cinematic experience for the sustainable project.
The display, made from 384 modules, provide a 360-degree image with a total size of 38.7 x 3.62 meters and a resolution of 46,080x4320. That's around 200 million pixels and a total display area of 140.43 square meters.
According to The Elec, Samsung will reduce the price of its latest microLED TVs by 40% compared to its older models, compared to the price of its 110-inch TV launched in 2021.
The 2021 110-inch TV was priced at around $140,000. The new 89" model will cost $80,000 while a 114-inch model, which will launch later in 2022, will cost $100,000. The price of Samsung's 2022 101-inch microLED TV hasn't been decided yet.
Market research company TrendForce estimates that the market for microLED chips used in large-area displays will grow from $54 million in 2022 to $4.5 billion in 2026, a CAGR of 204%. The market will continue to grow and by 2030 TrendForce sees revenues of tens of billions of dollars.
There are still obstacles to overcome - technical challenges in both backplane technologies, transfer technologies and driving technologies, and the high cost of the microLED chips themselves.
LED developer Seoul Viosys announced a new technology called WICOP mp, that combines the company's no-wire, no-package WICOP tech with a PCB-based micro-IC, to create so-called micro Pixels.
The company says that its WICOP technology makes it possible to populate brand-new semiconductor chips into a general manufacturing process directly without modification. Seoul Viosys says that using WICOP mc microPixels enables higher efficiency (as there's no efficiency degradation) and high density displays (up to 2000 PPI)
MicroLED developer PlayNitride is showing a wide range of display prototypes at CES 2022, including two new displays.
The first new display is a 37-inch full-HD PixeLED Matrix panel made from tiled PCB-based microLED displays.