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January 18, 2022

Samsung Reveals New microLED TVs and Manufacturing Details

Samsung’s new MicroLED TVs are direct-view models with no LCD panel. Samsung has already commercialized a 110″ model that sells for about $150K. At CES 2022, they announced two new screen sizes at 89″ and 99″ available in 2022. At last year’s CES, Samsung also announced smaller screen sizes for their microLED TVs, but they never were released in 2021. Perhaps they will arrive in 2022. All of these microLED TVs are 4K resolution. Samsung has shown 8K resolution microLED TVs in the past, but they remain very large and even more expensive. As microLED manufacturing matures, we will see 8K versions in these similar screen sizes – but not for a few years.

Image quality on these sets is outstanding, with nothing to complain about. Indeed, at their First Look event at CES we saw all three sizes side-by-side plus an 8K NEO QLED display on the same wall. As one might expect, the microLED TVs were brighter and offered higher contrast but will come with more than a 10x pricing premium. (See video here.)

Credit: Chris Chinnock

While representatives did not highlight some of their innovations this year, they did show some very revealing graphics in their booth concerning the state of development of the Samsung microLED TVs.

For example, in the graphic below, Samsung is now revealing they are using a laser lift-off process to do the mass transfer of red, green or blue microLEDs to the doner substrate. This technique has been in development for several years by several companies. Delays in perfecting the process may indeed have been the reason smaller-sized microLED TVs did not arrive in 2021. A 1500X increase in transfer rate is significant. If Samsung shows acceptable yields and reworks capabilities with this process, it is a big step in moving the microLED ecosystem forward.

Evolution of Samsung microLED TVs
credit: Chris Chinnock

The following image illustrates the difference in size between the LEDs used in the 2019 version of their microLED TVs and the 2022 version. The first years of their microLED TVs did not use microLEDs but rather miniLEDs due to size constraints. Now, Samsung may be able to legitimately claim they are using microLEDs (which depends on your definition of size – some say less than 100 microns and other say less than 50 microns).

Samsung New microLED TVs
Credit: Chris Chinnock

Next, Samsung also revealed they are moving from a PCB backplane with passive matrix driving to a glass backplane with active matrix driving. This is also significant as it can increase the control of the LEDs to a much greater degree and allows the use of existing glass-based facilities used for LCDs. Samsung now claims a 99.99% screen-to-body ratio.

Credit: Chris Chinnock

Samsung now says they can control their microLED’s luminance using 20-bit grayscale (1 million steps) up from more traditional 16-bit grayscale. This step-up is probably made possible by the active matrix driving. The displays also provide 100% of DCI and Adobe RGB color gamut.

Samsung microLED TVs
Credit: Samsung Electronics

The microLED TV’s Art Mode allows consumers to select and display their favorite artwork or digital photography. The 2022 microLED TVs also come with two exclusive media pieces from noted artist and designer Refik Anadol.

Multi-View lets users view content from four different sources simultaneously – from any or all of the four HDMI ports – in 4K resolution at up to 120fps. Dolby Atmos is also supported.

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