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. MicroLED displays are often compared to OLED displays - the main display technology that it is rivaling.
Samsung MicroLED displays
Samsung Display and Samsung Electronics are mostly interested in microLED technology for TV applications, but the company is also developing other microLED display technologies, including ones for smaller displays which may one day power wearables, smartphones, tablets and laptops and monitors.
For the TV market, Samsung has two R&D initiatives. First up uses what should be called mini-LED chips to create large-area tiled microLED displays (more on this below). Samsung's LED chip supplier is San'an Optoelectronics. Samsung is also developing finer-pitch displays which will target more consumer-sized solutions. These TVs aren't available yet, and the company's partnerד in this project are Taiwan's PlayNitride and Epistar. It was reported that Samsung aims to release its first such TVs in 2020 but apparently there are still some challenges and these plans will have to be delayed.
Samsung The Wall microLED TV
Samsung's microLED TV product range, made from tiled display modules, is called The Wall. Its commercial TV range "The Wall for Business" is currently shipping with several fixed sizes, such as 219" and 292" 4k options and 437" and 587" 8k options. It is also possible to customize these displays. Samsung is also offering the more "consumer" version, The Wall Luxury, which offers smaller pixel pitches and sizes up to 292" at 8K.
Samsung's "The wall Luxury" is made from individual tiles each is 806.4 x 453.6 x 72.2 mm (WxHxD) in size, with a resolution of 960x540. These are based on 0.84 mm microLED pixels offering a 120Hz refresh rate, a peak brightness of 2,000 nits and a maximum brightness of 250 nits.
The Wall Luxury MicroLED tile
The Wall Professional uses tiles of the same resolution but with a lower peak brightness (1,600 nits) and a higher maximum brightness (500 nits).
The latest Samsung MicroLED news:
Samsung announced that it will introduce new modular MicroLED TVs for the consumer market (The wall Luxury) in 2020. Samsung says it takes advantage of "production improvements" to introduce new size options - and brighter panels.
In addition to the currently available 75, 146, 219 and 292 inch options, Samsung will now offer 88, 93, 110 and 150 inch displays, that will feature peak brightness of 5,000 nits (up from 2,000 in the previous models).
According to ETNews, Samsung Electronics is considering to start investing in a microLED TV production facility and equipment in the first half of 2020. ETNews says that Samsung did not yet decide on the investment amount or its production output goals - but microLED equipment makers are hoping for Samsung's orders.
If Samsung will indeed start to invest in microLED production in earnest, this will quite a surprise as microLED production costs are still very high and it is unlikely that prices will drop enough in the near future to appeal to the consumer market. There are also technical challenges yet to overcome.
US integrator installs the first US residential installation of a Samsung Wall Professional MicroLED TV
US-based AV integration company Just One Touch Video&Audio Center reports that it recently completed the first US residential installation of Samsung's The Wall Professional MicroLED TV.
The 146" 4K installation, done for a client in Los Angeles, was completed in three days. Just One Touch says that Samsung sent its own personnel to assist with this project. Just One Touch has already secured three more installations - in a hotel lobby, in a luxury mega-yacht and at a home of a "Hollywood Star".
Samsung Electronics announced that it now offers its large-area tiled "consumer" microLED "The wall Luxury" displays globally. The model number of the Wall Luxury is IW008R, and it is based on 0.84 mm microLED pixels offering a 120Hz refresh rate, a peak brightness of 2,000 nits and a maximum brightness of 250 nits.
The Wall Luxury is configurable and customizable to a variety of sizes and ratios from 73-inches in 2K definition, 146-inches in 4K, to 292-inches in 8K. Each Wall "Tile" is 806.4 x 453.6 x 72.2 mm (WxHxD) in size, with a resolution of 960x540.
iBeam Materials announced that it has received an investment from Samsung Ventures. iBeam developed a technology that can be used to produce LED chips on large-area flexible foils.
iBeam Materials, founded in 2011 in the US, is still at an early stage but this technology could enable the production of micro-LED devices directly on large-area flexible substrates without the use of a transfer (pick-and-place) process.
As promised last year, Samsung is set to launch the world's first consumer micro-LED TV. According to the company, in July 2019 it will start shipping (or accepting orders?) for the new TV, which (in a similar way to "The Wall Professional") will be made from tiled and seamless Micro-LED modules. The TVs will come in sizes ranging from 73" (2K resolution) to 292" (8K).
Samsung says that its Micro-LED TVs will offer unparalled viewing experience, and will offer a 2000 nits peak brightness, high contrast and 100,000 hour lifetime. The price will probably be very expensive, but Samsung did not reveal it yet.
The Society of Information Display (SID) revealed its 2019 display industry award winners, and interestingly two out of the three Display Of The Year Awards went to Micro-LED displays.
First up we have Samsung's modular The Wall display, made up of tiled and seamless micro-LED modules. The Wall was unveiled in January 2018 in a 146-inch installation. The Wall was officially launched in June 2018 when Samsung started to accept pre-orders, aiming to find customers in lobbies, museums, galleries, and retail spaces. It is estimated that the price of the 146" model is around $100,000. The Wall Professional features HDR 10+ and a peak brightness of 2,000 nits.
Samsung Electronics reported its financial results for Q4 2018 - with revenues of $53 billion USD down 10% from Q4 2017, and an operating profit of $9.6 billion (down 29% from 2017).
Samsung says that its display innovation in 2019 will include launching foldable OLED displays - and MicroLED TVs.