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:
Specialized Korea-based LED developer Lumens announced that it has developed a Monolithic RGB epitaxial wafers for micro-LED display production. The new technology stacks the three color LEDs on on top of the other on the wafer.
A comparison between Lumen's stacked RGB transfer process (bottom) and the standard process (top)
A stacked microLED architecture improves the performance, while also making the transfer process more productive. The company says that its design will offer a dramatic reduction in the production costs - especially the transfer process, which is reduced to a third (in terms of number of transfer steps), while also doing all the process from a single wafer.
Samsung announced its 2023 microLED TV lineup, with a wide range of sizes - from 50-inch to 140-inch. The TVs will still be highly expensive, but Samsung is expected to reduce its prices, and in addition it will be possible (finally) to self-install the TVs.
The MicroLED CX range of TVs will include sizes of 50-, 63- 77-, 89-, 101-, 104- and 140-inch. Not all the TVs will ship at once and in all regions. It is expected that the main TV will the the 77-inch one. But at the expected high prices, these will be sold at very low volumes, most likely.
An California-based integrator, Just One Touch/Video & Audio Center, announced that it has installed the first-ever residential installation of Samsung's latest 219-inch microLED The Wall TV. The price of this project was about $800,000. The installation took three days to complete.
The 219-inch display is made from the IW-008A modules, which offer a 0.84 mm pixel pitch, 120Hz refresh rate, a peak brightness of 2,000 nits and a maximum brightness of 250 nits.
During the company's latest conference call, Samsung Electronics said that it aims to increase sales of its microLED TVs in 2023 and continue to expand its product range with more TV sizes, as it continues to provide a "differentiated customer experience".
Samsung recently started producing its smallest microLED TV, 89-inch in size, on LTPS backplanes. Its larger 101-inch and 114-inch LTPS models, however, are still not in production.
We're happy to interview ASMPT, as part of our new series of interviews with MicroLED Industry Association members. ASMPT (formerly ASM Pacific Technology Ltd.) was founded in 1975 and is a leading global supplier of hardware and software solutions for the manufacture of semiconductors and electronics.
Q: Hello! Can you introduce your company and technology?
We are a leading global supplier of hardware and software solutions for the manufacture of semiconductors and electronics. ASMPT is the only company in the world that offers high-quality solutions for all major steps in the electronics manufacturing process: from equipment to multi-factory-level automation concepts for smart manufacturing. From carrier for chip interconnection, to chip assembly and packaging, to Surface Mount Technology (SMT), ASMPT’s offerings encompass wafer deposition and laser grooving, to the various solutions that shape, assemble and package delicate electronic and optical components into a vast range of end-user devices; these include electronics, mobile communications, computing, automotive, industrial, LED & displays.
We have participated in Mini and Micro LED development since 2016. Our core technologies in Micro LED, mass transfer and mass bonding for Micro LED, have been well developed and successfully performing in customer sites worldwide.
Towards the end of 2020, Samsung announced it's first "consumer" MicroLED TVs that adopt small microLED chips (this followed its professional/commercial TVs that used larger chips and are already in production for several years). These smaller TVs were scrapped later in 2021, and then Samsung further delayed its plans in April 2022 and did so again in June 2022, due to technical issues.
According to the latest report from Korea, Samsung finally started to produce 89-inch LTPS microLED TVs. Its larger 101-inch and 114-inch models, however, are still not in production.
LG Electronics launched a new microLED TV in the US, the LG MAGNIT 4K 136-inch 2000-nits 120Hz Micro LED residential display (LSAD Series). This residential TV is a "luxury residential display' that is powered by LG's latest Alpha 9 AI-enhanced processor and the company's own webOS smart TV platform.
LG says that the new MicroLED display is available in the US through specially-certified LG distribution partners.
In 2021, Austria-based C SEED released a high-end microLED TV, the $400,000 165" 4K C SEED M1, which has a unique foldable design, which makes use of seven large MicroLED panels.
C SEED now announced a new outdoor foldable MicroLED TV, called the HLR series. The displays (both based on seven panesl) offer a brightness of 4,000 nits and a resolution of 4K. There are two models, a 144" one which costs $298,000 and a 201" one that costs $590,000.
Luxury display maker Danvas announced its premier Series G display, for digital art collectors. The company says that the microLED display will "accelerate the world’s appreciation of digital artists and their work by validating artwork ownership through a signature NFT authentication indicator and by allowing a buyer’s entire collection to be displayed in a truly exceptional next-generation display".
The Series G, designed by the Ammunition Group, is based on a microLED display that can be deployed in a square (4x4 feet) or portrait or landscape formats (3x4 feet). We do now have any more information on the display, and if it is indeed a microLED display, which if so it is likely to be tiled.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an increased demand for high quality IT solutions, including monitors and collaborative tools, which prompted LCD and OLED display makers to develop new solutions for this market for applications like computer monitors, signage and more.
microLED displays (and also OLED displays) that are 20-inch or more will suffer from incompatibility with standard capacitive touch, because the thin microLED display panels result in large parasitic capacitive coupling with the touch surface. The dynamic driving of microLED (where only lit pixels draw current) further reduces the capacitive touch performance by introducing unpredictable “display pattern noise”. These issues are easily mitigated in small area displays, but as displays increase in size, the performance and costs of capacitive solutions suffer.