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- Samsung has unveiled a new 110-inch TV model with an advanced Micro LED display.
- Micro LED is designed to compete with OLED, and it can provide better image performance than any other panel type on the market.
- We got to examine the screen during a special CES 2021 First Look event, and the TV looks fantastic in person.
- See also: Samsung’s new 2021 4K and 8K TVs promise improvements in great picture quality
Samsung has introduced massive Micro LED screens at CES in recent years, but the impressive technology has not yet hit the consumer market. This year, however, the company aims to change that.
For the first time, Samsung will release 1
Micro LEDs promise important improvements over other TV panel types, and it may even end up beating our current favorite TV technology, OLED. To demonstrate what makes Micro LED so special, Samsung invited Insider Reviews to a personal CES 2021 First Look event.
110-inch Micro LED TV was present on the demo, and the beautiful screen does not disappoint. However, it is important to note that Samsung described the model as a prototype, so that the screen can still go through some changes before it hits the market.
That said, based on what we’ve seen so far, Samsung’s Micro LED shows incredible promise, and the technology may very well end up being the future of TV. It’s not perfect, but the overall picture quality is simply amazing.
Note: Samsung did not allow pictures of Micro LED TVs at the CES event, so all the pictures included here are provided by the manufacturer.
Micro LED is an advanced panel technology used for monitors. The technology is designed to compete with other popular TV types, such as LCD (often labeled as LED or QLED) and OLED.
As the name suggests, Micro LED screens consist of millions of microscopic red, green and blue LEDs. Micro LEDs emit themselves, so they can be dimmed, lit up or turned off individually. This results in an infinite contrast ratio with true black levels and wide viewing angles – which are all areas where regular LCD TVs struggle.
Meanwhile, OLED TVs have a similar contrast, but the technology uses organic LEDs that can deteriorate over time. This leads to brightness limitations and potential for burn-in. However, since micro-LEDs are inorganic, Samsung says they can be brighter and last longer than OLED TVs with virtually no burn-in risk.
In other words, Micro LEDs have the potential to combine everything home theater fans love with OLED TVs, while offering similar brightness features as an LCD TV. Basically, it can be the best of both worlds.
Unlike typical TVs that use one panel, Micro LED screens are actually constructed of multiple tiles that are aligned together. This creates the potential for modular screens, where you can add, remove or move tiles to create different screen sizes and orientations.
Samsung offers a modular Micro LED display for business and luxury customers, called “The Wall”, which has this capability. That said, 110-, 99- and 88-inch Micro LEDs set out in 2021 will have fixed configurations and will not be modular.
For demo purposes, Samsung had a prototype of its 110-inch Micro LED TV set up in a dark room with a beautiful roll of 4K HDR video.
As is typical of demonstrations like this, the footage contained a beautiful selection of colorful images, ranging from shiny gems to towering cityscapes. The images dazzled no matter what was on the screen with rich saturation, precise highlights and deep black levels that disappeared into the room.
Samsung did not offer a specific number in nit, but to my eyes the top brightness was very impressive, and gave a more striking image than I am used to seeing on such a large screen. One scene, with a starry sky over mountains, was particularly striking as each star shone brilliantly from the screen against ink-colored blacks.
It’s the kind of infinite contrast I’ve only seen on OLED TVs before, but the HDR effect was even more pronounced. The viewing angles were also essentially perfect, with no real color or contrast issues when viewed from the side.
An LCD TV that is so large, even with advanced local dimming, will still show signs of flowering, crushing or swinging. An OLED will probably look just as impressive, but not as bright. Micro LED was able to demonstrate all the benefits of both of these technologies without giving any real indication of their flaws. That said, pixels were visible if you put your face right up to the screen, but that’s the case with any 4K TV.
Demos like this, of course, provide only a limited view of what a TV can do, and it’s important to remember that the model shown is still a prototype. At the end of the day, though, the experience has only left me wanting more.
As impressive as Micro LED is, no display technology is perfect. We need to spend more thorough time on a Micro LED TV to really evaluate it, but based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s one small drawback that is already clear: stitches are sometimes visible on the screen.
Since micro-LED TVs are made of several screen tiles that are connected together, it is seams between each tile that create the look of a grid. Fortunately, these seams are very weak, and during the demo period I found that they were extremely difficult to spot.
From a normal viewing distance and a centered angle, they are actually invisible. It is only when you get very close to the screen or look at the screen from an angle that the seams faintly appear. Even then, the stitches usually appear only when certain colors are on the screen. Similarly, you can watch them when the TV is off.
It’s too early to say how much of a factor this will be when watching a Micro LED TV under normal viewing conditions, but I doubt it will end up being too much of a problem. Although LCD and OLED TVs do not have this specific problem, they do have their own uniformity characteristics that can be just as distracting.
Samsung has not announced US prices for its Micro LEDs yet, but it is safe to say that they will be. very expensive when they hit the market. New panel technology always has a premium, and Micro LED has been particularly difficult to scale down to the consumer level.
According to ZDNet, the 110-inch Micro LED TV model launches in South Korea for 170 million won, which is around $ 156,000. A similar price is likely for the United States.
The closest premium TV we can see right now as a comparison is probably LG’s flagship 88-inch OLED 8K TV, which currently sells for $ 30,000. Samsung’s Micro LED TV is 4K instead of 8K, but I would not be surprised if we see a similar, if not higher price tag for the 88-inch model.
Samsung’s Micro LED may very well be the future of TV, but like any display technology, it will not be perfect. Still, based on what I’ve seen so far, the image quality pros look like they will outweigh the disadvantages.
The real question will be how much these monitors end up costing. I expect that this first wave of Micro LED TVs will be prohibitively expensive for ordinary buyers, but the 2021 series can help pave the way for cheaper Micro LED TVs in a (hopefully) not too distant future.