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    What is MicroLED?

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    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort

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    How MicroLED technology could change the future of TV and cinema. MicroLED is a video display technology that employs microscopic-sized LEDs which, when placed on a surface of the video screen, can produce a viewable image.


    Each MicroLED is a pixel that emits its own light, produces the image and adds color. A MicroLED pixel is made up of red, green, and blue elements (referred to as subpixels). The MicroLEDs can be illuminated, dimmed or activated or deactivated individually.



    MicroLED vs. OLED

    MicroLED technology is similar to that used in OLED TVs and some PC monitors, portable and wearable devices. OLED pixels also produce their own light, image and color and can be individually adjusted or turned on or off.

    However, although OLED technology displays excellent quality images, it uses organic materials, while MicroLED is inorganic. As a result, the ability to produce OLED images decreases over time and is susceptible to “burn-in” when still images are displayed for long periods of time.


    MicroLED vs LED / LCD

    MicroLEDs are different from LEDs currently used in LCD TVs (includes LED / LCD and QLED) and most PC monitors. The LEDs used in these products and similar video displays do not actually produce the image.

    Instead, LEDs are just small bulbs positioned behind the screen, or along the edges of the screen, that pass through the LCD pixels containing the image information. Color is added as light passes through additional red, green, and blue filters before reaching the screen surface.

    MicroLEDs are much smaller than the LED bulbs used in LED / LCD and QLED TVs.




    MicroLED Pro

    • MicroLED pixels do not degrade over time and are less sensitive to image persistence, not prone to burn-in, which are limitations with OLEDs. They are also brighter than OLED pixels - on par with the brightness capability of LED / LCD pixels, but just as capable of OLEDs at displaying absolute black and equivalent levels of color saturation.
    • It supports low latency and faster refresh rates without depending on frame interpolation, black frame insertion, or backlight scan (Good news for gamers!).
    • È can provide a angle di wider vision compared to the current LED / LCD technology.
    • High light output in capable of supporting HDR and both internal and external viewing,
    • Compatible with both viewing applications 2D and 3D.
    • Lower energy consumption compared to LED / LCD and OLED technology, when comparing equivalent screen sizes.
    • Better viewing for large applications. Current outdoor video displays, as well as in shopping malls, arenas and stadiums are bright. However, the LEDs used in these displays aren't much smaller than the LED Christmas lights you might be using at home. As a result, it is often possible to see the LED structure of the screens which makes them irritating after viewing them briefly. By using much smaller MicroLEDs, a smoother “TV like” viewing experience is possible for outdoor environments and large rooms.
    • MicroLED supports the construction of the modulator. Televisions, PC monitors, and video displays are usually made with a single panel, and a film screen is usually a sheet of fabric. However, a MicroLED display can be assembled from smaller modules to create any screen size needed in different aspect ratios. This is suitable for commercial applications, such as large digital signage displays (such as outdoor screens used in Las Vegas, billboards and video displays used in arenas and stadiums) or as a replacement for projectors / screens in cinemas.

    The dimensions of the modules (i.e. cabinets) vary by manufacturer. A module size used by Samsung is 2,6 x 1,5 x 0,2 feet.



    Cons. MicroLED

    • Difficult to adapt for small size wearable, portable PC or PC monitor screens that require high resolutions.
    • Modular construction supports installation a wall only for larger screen applications.
    • Very expensive production costs a due to the precision required to place the MicroLEDs on a support surface.

    How MicroLED is used

    MicroLED displays are mostly used in commercial applications but are slowly becoming available to consumers via a special order (you can't just go to your local Best Buy or order one on Amazon - yet).

    • Samsung Wall : Samsung markets its MicroLED displays for both business (digital signage) and home use as "The Wall". Depending on the number of assembled modules (overall screen size), users can view images in 4K or 8K resolution. The assembled modular screen sizes for 4K are 75 and 146 inches (4K), 219 inches (6K) and 292 inches (8K).
    • Samsung cinema screen : The cinema screen Samsung (also known as the Onyx screen) uses MicroLED modules to assemble large screens required by cinemas, eliminating the need for a traditional projector / screen setup. The cinema screen is brighter, can display higher resolutions and is 3D compatible. Cinema screens have been installed in select cinemas in South Korea, China, Thailand, Switzerland - and now the United States
    • sony cledis : CLEDIS acronym for ( C rystal LED I integrated S istema o S STRUCTURE). Sony is implementing its variation of MicroLED mainly in digital signage applications, but like Samsung it is also promoting its use in the home environment. The proposed screen sizes are 146, 182 and 219 inches.

    Conclusion

    MicroLED promises a lot for the future of video displays. It offers long life with no burn-in, high light output, no backlight system required, and each pixel can be turned on and off allowing for absolute black viewing.




    These capabilities push the boundaries of OLED and LCD video display technology. Additionally, the modular building stand is practical as smaller modules are easier to make and ship, and they assemble easily to create a large screen.

    On the flip side, MicroLED is currently limited to large screen applications. Although already microscopic, the current MicroLED pixels are not small enough to provide 4K resolution in small to medium-sized TV and PC monitor screens, but Samsung is marketing a 75-inch diagonal screen size option for home use capable to view 4K resolution images. Larger screens may display resolutions of 8K or higher depending on the number of modules used.

    Apple is also making a concerted effort to integrate MicroLEDs into portable and wearable devices, such as cell phones and smartwatches. However, reducing the MicroLED pixel size so that devices with smaller screens can display a viewable image, while cost-effective mass production of the small screens is certainly a challenge. If Apple succeeds, you may see MicroLED flourish in all screen size applications, replacing both OLED and LCD technologies.

    As with most new technologies, the cost of manufacturing is high, so MicroLED products are very expensive (prices are not generally provided publicly), but will become more affordable as more companies come together and innovate and consumers buy.

    What is Super-AMOLED (S-AMOLED)?

    Further Reading:

    • What exactly is Samsung's MicroLED technology (and how it affects your new TV)
    • Plasma vs. OLED, we find the differences
    • Differenze TV LED: Edge LED vs Direct LED vs Full Array
    • OLED TV: what you need to know
    • Apple Watch Series 6: release date, price, news, everything
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