Samsung reportedly scraps plans for smaller MicroLED TVs

Mike Wheatley

Samsung Electronics has reportedly scrapped its plans to launch a smaller, 76-inch MicroLED TV next year due to its high manufacturing costs.


Instead, the company now plans to launch three new consumer MicroLED models, in sizes of 114-inches, 101-inches and 89-inches, according to a report in The Elec.

Samsung’s MicroLED TVs feature the company’s most advanced display technology. MicroLED is a self-emissive technology that provides all the best bits of OLED but without its shortcomings. The self-emissive properties mean that each pixel can switch itself off, just like OLED, to be completely black, while those next to it can display incredibly vibrant colours to create stunning contrast that simply isn’t possible on a regular LCD TV, for example.

MicroLED pixels are brighter than their OLED equivalents too, so it means the TVs should be able to deliver more spectacular contrast and better pictures overall. In addition, MicroLED pixels are said to be inorganic, which means they won’t degrade over time and suffer from issues such as image retention.

Samsung had planned to start selling a 99-inch MicroLED TV this year, with 88-inch and 76-inch models to follow by early next year, but it has reportedly struggled to miniaturise the technology, The Elec said. As a result, the company has adapted its plans and will now focus more on “ultra-large sized models,” The Elec’s report added.

The issue is that the pixels of MicroLED TVs are made up of LED devices that measure just micrometers in size. These LED devices are packed into 9.7-inch modules that are then assembled into larger TVs. But the LED devices must be packed onto a smaller surface when the screen size is reduced, and that is where Samsung is reportedly struggling.

As Samsung goes smaller, its production yield rates decline to such an extent that it becomes unprofitable to make the displays. In addition, Samsung is also believed to have struggled to reduce the distance between pixels on those smaller sets to achieve 4K resolution, which is a necessary capability for any high-end TV these days.

The Elec said next year’s planned 89-inch, 101-inch and 114-inch MicroLED TVs will be made using a more advanced technology known as “low-temperature polycrystalline silicon thin-film transistors”. The LTPS TFTs are based on glass substrates and are used to realize individual protective circuits on the smaller MicroLED models. Samsung’s first 110-inch Micro LED TV, launched earlier this year, used printed circuit board circuits - an older technology that becomes too difficult to apply when the LED chips become smaller.

Samsung Electronics has asked its subsidiary Samsung Display to manufacture the LTPS TFTs. According to a report earlier this year, the company originally planned to use Taiwan’s AUO as its supplier, but before deciding it would be too risky to rely on that company.