After what feels like years of teasing, in December Samsung finally confirmed that its consumer MicroLED TVs would go on sale in early 2021. Today, the company has announced that global deliveries will begin at the end of this month, as well as taking the wraps off a previously unannounced 76-inch version.
That takes Samsung's MicroLED lineup to a total of four models, with the new 76-incher as the smallest and a huge 110-inch model at the top end, with 88-inch and 99-inch models in between. It's only the largest two versions that will go on sale at the end of this month: the 88-inch model is "coming this fall" and the 76-inch version is "on the future roadmap".
As for pricing, that's still to be confirmed. It may well be one of those 'if you have to ask, you can't afford it' deals but, well, we've asked anyway.
But what's the big deal with MicroLED?
For the unfamiliar, MicroLED is a next-gen TV technology that essentially takes the best qualities of OLED and removes more or less all of its shortcomings. Like OLED, each pixel is self-emissive, so one can be completely black while those next to it can be bright white or a vibrant colour, creating incredible contrast.
MicroLEDs can actually go much brighter than OLEDs, though, theoretically resulting in even more spectacularly contrast. Samsung is quoting a peak brightness rating of 2000 nits in regard to this new MicroLED TV, which makes it around twice as bright as even the best OLEDs. What's more, unlike OLED TVs, which use organic materials ('OLED' stands for 'Organic Light Emitting Diode'), MicroLEDs are inorganic, so don't degrade and can't suffer from image retention or burn-in.
Samsung's new consumer MicroLED TVs come pre-assembled as complete flatscreen TVs; unlike existing commercial MicroLEDs, which come as smaller modules that can be assembled in various configurations.
Samsung is keen to point out that these are genuine consumer TVs in other ways, too, such as the fact that they boast a full smart platform, multiple HDMI inputs and an integrated sound system.
That sound system is interesting in that Samsung describes it as being both '5.1 channel' and 'OTS Pro', and also because we don't yet know whether it consists of drivers mounted into the frame of the TV or actuators that vibrate the whole screen in the vein of Sony's OLED TVs. What we do know is that OTS Pro is the new top version of Samsung's OTS (Object Tracking Sound) technology, which typically uses multiple drivers positioned around a TV's frame in order to create a virtual surround sound experience complete with height effects.
Another interesting, albeit rather niche, feature of Samsung's new MicroLED TVs is that it can display up to four sources at once by splitting the screen into smaller portions. Splitting the screen of the 110-inch version into quarters essentially gives you four 55-inch displays, and each one can be playing something different, whether from the HDMI inputs or smart platform.
Unsurprisingly, the new consumer MicroLEDs look very striking, even before you consider the enormous size. For starters, there's no bezel at all: from the front, it's all screen. But while MicroLED panels themselves can be extremely thin, a modern TV is more than just screen: it also needs speakers, connections and processing hardware, and these all need to go somewhere. Hence, the Samsung consumer MicroLEDs are mounted to what Samsung refers to as a 'Pure Metal Plate', which appears to give the set a depth of around 5cm or so, although it's hard to get a sense of scale from the images supplied so far.
Clearly, these MicroLED TVs are designed to be wall-mounted, but the Pure Metal Plate does apparently give them the strength to stand on their own. You will, though, need to buy the bespoke floor stand separately.
If you do go down the wall-mounting route, the Ambient mode (a feature of the company's QLEDs over the last couple of years or so) allows the TV to display artwork or photos, or blend into the wall itself by matching its colour and pattern.
Interestingly, given the huge size and next-gen credentials, these new consumer MicroLED TVs are only 4K in resolution. That's because the size of the individual MicroLEDs (each of which represents a single pixel, remember) means there are physical limitations to pixel density (how many pixels can be crammed into each inch of screen). In other words, MicroLEDs will have to get even smaller before MicroLED TVs become available at smaller sizes with higher resolutions.