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, 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.
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 mini-LEDs and not microLEDs.
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.
The latest MicroLED TV news:
Samsung unveiled its TV lineup for 2021 in its Unbox & Discover 2021 event. Included in this new lineup are two new MicroLED TVs aimed for the residential consumer market.
Samsung will start selling its MicroLED TVs by the end of the month (March 2021), with two models - 110-inch and 99-inch in size. In the fall Samsung will release a 88-inch model, and it also revealed that it has a 76-inch model on its future roadmap.
Austria-based C SEED announced a new MicroLED TV, the 165-inch 4K C SEED M1. This TV uses a unique foldable design, which makes use of seven large MicroLED panels that can be unfolded and be inserted into the floor.
Unfortunately C SEED does not detail much about the display itself, or who produces the MicroLED tiles. The price is around $400,000.
Global digital signage solution provider STRATACACHE is embarking on a project to construct a microLED display production line in Eugene, Oregon. The company aims to start production in this fab at around 2022-2023, with plans to adopt these microLED displays in its own solutions.
The new factory (E4) will be a complete microLED production line, from epiwafer (on 300 mm silicon wafers), through transfer process and to final module assembly. The company plans to produce a wide range of displays, from tablet-sized panels to large-area displays. Some of these displays will be flexible and transparent as the company sees a market demand for such technologies. The yearly capacity of the E4 is expected to start at a 1 million square meters per year.
In September 2020 LG launched its MAGNIT MicroLED TV. The company is now showcasing its next-generation TV technology at virtual CES 2021:
The MAGNIT TVs are made from 160x180 modules, arranged in 8-unit Cabinets (640x360 each). The MAGNIT offers a brightness of 600 nits (peak 1,200 nits) and feature LG's AI solution (based on its a7 image processor). LG says it uses a new advanced black coating technology that maximizes black levels and increase resistance to dust, humidly and finger marks. A 4K MAGNIT configuration is 163" in size.
Towards the end of 2020, Samsung announced it's first "consumer"110-inch 4K MicroLED TV. It's not really for regular consumers with a price tag of around $150,000 - but this is a step forward in Samsung's goal to advance its MicroLED display technology.
Samsung now announced that its Micro-LED TVs will also be available in 99-inch sizes - and even smaller ones by the end of the year.
Sony introduced its next-generation microLED display technology (direct-view LED as the company calls it), the high contrast Crystal LED C-series (ZRD-C12A/C15A) and the high brightness B-series (ZRD-B12A/B15A).
The new display modules offer two pixel pitch sizes (in both series), 1.26 mm and 1.56 mm and are equipped with Sony's "X1 for Crystal LED" image quality processor, which features Sony's signal processing technology and microLED control technology. Other features include high-quality and high-resolution upscaling, Sony's Motionflow technology for smooth and artifact-free pictures without motion blur, 22 bit Super Bit Mapping, 120 fps (HFR) and HDR.
Samsung Electronics is now accepting pre-orders for its upcoming 110-inch 4K MicroLED TV, in Korea.
Customers who pre-order the TV (the price is 170 million Won, or about $155,000) will get a special bundle (home cinema package, refrigerator package or a travel package to Jeju island) in addition to a 7-year warranty (this will likely to be extended to all customers). Shipment will begin in March 2021.
Sony published a teaser video that says the company will unveil the "next breakthrough" in directview display technology" on January 6th. It is likely that Sony will release a new MicroLED display technology:
Sony was the the first company to introduce micro-LED large-area displays with its launch of the Crystal LED (also called Canvas LED, or CLEDIS) displays in 2016. The company introduced its displays to the residential market in September 2020.