At CES 2019, Samsung has unveiled ’The Wall 2019’, which are the company’s first TVs based on microLED display technology. It will come in 75, 146, and 219-inch sizes. It can also be customized.
Smaller & larger microLED TVs
Last year at CES 2018, Samsung announced The Wall, its first screen based on new microLED display technology. It did not actually arrive on the consumer market last year but it is getting closer, says Samsung.
At CES 2019, Samsung has announced ’The Wall 2019’, which will be available in 75 and 216 inches, besides the 146-inch model that was announced last year. The new 75-inch model has 4K resolution and may actually fit into regular living rooms.
- “For decades, Samsung has led the way in next-generation display innovation,” said Jonghee Han, President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “Our Micro LED technology is at the forefront of the next screen revolution with intelligent, customizable displays that excel in every performance category. Samsung Micro LED has no boundaries, only endless possibilities.”
MicroLED is Samsung’s first new TV display technology in over a decade. The company tried to commercialize OLED TVs some years back but was forced to abandon the project due to mass production issues. It has since been pushing its ”QLED” TVs that are based on conventional LCD technology.
Samsung has not announced full specifications but did say that the TVs can hit 2000 nits peak brightness. And unlike Samsung’s LCD TVs, that number may actually prove to be true since microLED is a self-emitting display technology where luminance and colors are controlled on a pixel level. As such microLED is seen as a direct competitor to OLED. Samsung also said that the 75- and 146-inch versions have 4K resolution but did not confirm technical details for the gigantic 216-inch version. The consumer versions will be 30mm thick, which is a lot thinner than last year’s prototype that measured 80mm.
The challenge with microLED is not to make large TVs. In fact, it is the opposite: to make the pixel and circuits small enough to enable high resolution in smaller screens. That is one of the reasons why these TVs are “limited” to 4K resolution. Many companies are researching the new display technology and some competitors like to point out that Samsung’s The Wall is actually “miniLED”. The distinction is not too important since it is the same technology and the moniker just refers to the size of the pixels but the point here is that Samsung is not alone. Competitors may or may not be lagging behind but few have shown their cards.
- “Due to the technical advancements in the ultra-fine pitch semiconductor packaging process that narrow the gap between the microscopic LED chips, Samsung has been able to create a stunning 4K Micro LED display in a smaller, more home-friendly 75” form factor” said Samsung.
The Korean company claims that microLED TVs deliver ”unmatched picture quality that surpasses any display technology currently available on the market”. We saw the first microLED prototype last year and were very impressed but still have a few reservations such as visible seams between the modules. We will bring you our hands-on impressions with the updated models later.
Modular: Any size you want
Samsung also used the opportunity to highlight that microLED is a modular display technology. In fact, even these fixed-size TVs are made up from smaller modules put together.
- ”These transformative TV displays are made up of individual modules of self-emissive Micro LEDs, featuring millions of inorganic red, green and blue microscopic LED chips that emit their own light to produce brilliant colors on screen,” the company explained.
The company gave a few examples, saying that ”if you add new modules to this 75-inch screen, it can be scaled up to 90 inches and even larger, with no limit”. It also highlighted a concept called ’The Window’ with odd-sized screens and highlighted the ability to customize what is on the screen when you are not watching the latest blockbuster movies.
- ”Micro LED can support everything from the standard 16:9 content, to 21:9 widescreen films, to unconventional aspect ratios like 32:9, or even 1:1 – without having to make any compromises in its picture quality.”
So what will these wonders cost? Samsung is not saying and the way that the company is focusing more on its vision and the future possibilities rather than the actual products makes us think that these TVs are still very expensive and some ways off. There are no operational mass production factories out there either so it will likely take at least a few more years to get microLED started. We are very excited about microLED but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.