After many promises and teases, Samsung's first MicroLED TV is finally set for a global rollout in early 2021.
The company launched its commercial MicroLED model, The Wall, back in 2018 and has on a number of occasions promised that a consumer version will be available soon. This time, it looks set to actually happen.
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.
The new consumer MicroLED TV, for which we don't yet have an official model number, measures an absolutely huge 110 inches on the diagonal and comes pre-assembled as a complete flatscreen TV; unlike the commercial MicroLEDs, which come as smaller modules that can be assembled in various configurations.
Samsung is keen to point out that this is a genuine consumer proposition in other ways, too, such as the fact that it boasts 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, and that this consumer MicroLED TV's sound system is rated at 80W.
Another very interesting, albeit rather niche, feature of Samsung's new MicroLED TV is that it can display up to four sources at once by splitting the screen into smaller portions. Splitting the screen 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. Just think; you could invite three friends over with their game consoles and have a four-player LAN party using one TV. Nerd heaven.
Unsurprisingly, the new consumer MicroLED looks very striking, even before you consider its enormous size. For starters, it has 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 MicroLED is 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, the MicroLED is designed to be wall-mounted, but the Pure Metal Plate does apparently give the TV the strength to stand on its own. You will, though, need to buy the bespoke floor stand separately.
If you do wall-mount it, the Ambient mode (a feature of the company's QLEDs over the last couple of years or so) allows the TV to display art work or photos, or blend into the wall itself by matching its colour and pattern.
Interestingly, given its huge size and next-gen credentials, this new consumer MicroLED TV boasts 'only' a 4K 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.
Of course, what you really want to know is how much Samsung's new consumer MicroLED costs. Unfortunately, there's no official word on that yet (we have asked), but Business Korea claims that it's expected to be priced over 100-million won, which translates to roughly £70,000 ($90,000, AU$125,000). Best start saving.