Samsung’s huge and expensive MicroLED TVs are getting closer to the mainstream
Until now, wealthy people who wanted the ultimate next-gen Samsung wall-mounted TV had to hire a professional to get a massive MicroLED TV in their homes. Samsung actually called these TVs “The Wall”. But with the 2023 version, announced at THESEthose lucky ones will be able to configure it themselves, if they wish.
Samsung claims its new 76-inch MicroLED CX is the “world’s smallest and most affordable MicroLED display”. It’s also the first one that doesn’t need professional installation – although I bet most people who buy one get help from the dealer to set it up.
The company hasn’t told us exactly how much it will cost, but “affordable” is sure to do a Herculean facelift. The previous version is 110 inches and runs at $156,000, with 88- and 99-inch sizes also available, so it’s safe to assume the new 76-inch model will cost at least several tens of thousands of dollars. For reference, the 77-inch size of my favorite high-end TV of 2023, the LG C2 OLED, costs $2,700.
Once it becomes affordable for real, a process that will take years, MicroLED could replace OLED as the best TV technology. It’s brighter with equally perfect black levels and no risk of burn-in. Not to be confused with Mini LED, MicroLED gets its name from the millions of tiny pixels that directly create the image, and the main obstacle to mass adoption is making those pixels (and screens) small enough. Besides Samsung, LG and Sony also offer MicroLED models.
In an interesting note, at least for material science nerds, Samsung claims that the CX’s pixels are “forged from sapphires”. Sapphire materials can improve MicroLED lighting performance and brightness, and a research brief from Samsung explains that so-called multi-sapphire nanomembranes could help MicroLED get closer to commercialization by improving manufacturing efficiency. Plus, they sound super cool.
Samsung lists a few tech chops of the CX, including “its 20-bit black detail, 240Hz variable refresh rates, and 2 nanosecond response time,” but I expect its main quality advantage to Picture versus OLED comes down to brightness. That said, current OLED screens are quite bright and mini-LED based LCDs are even brighter, so I don’t expect a mind-blowing improvement. I hope to have more time with the CX at CES.
In the meantime, here’s a reminder that Samsung actually announced a 76-inch MicroLED TV before, in March 2021, and the CX is basically that TV (down to the “99.99% screen-to-body ratio”), finally re-announced nearly two years later. New TV technology does not happen overnight.