Both of South Korea’s television giants — Samsung and LG — are reportedly planning to introduce lines of televisions in 2021 using miniLED backlight technology.

The technology was first launched in models for the United States with TCL’s 8 Series 4K miniLED televisions with quantum dot color enhancement film, and was expanded this year with the launch of the 2020 TCL 6 Series 4K Ultra HDTVs with a scaled down and more price aggressive miniLED lineup.

According to a report from Korean trade site The Elec, Samsung and LG are now preparing to jump into the technology next year, behind new premium LCD-based model series.

Unlike MicroLED displays, which both manufacturers are also working on, tiny miniLEDs (somewhat larger at 100 to 200 micrometers than microLEDs) are used in a full-array backlighting system for traditional LCD panels. Currently, microLED displays are self-emissive modular panels that assemble into a larger overall screen size.

The miniLED technology is a more affordably priced bridge product to microLED displays, OLED TVs and other new technologies in development like QD-LEDs and QNED self-emissive flat-panel televisions.

MiniLED technology offers greater local dimming control than traditional LCD LEDs (measuring 300 micrometers) because they enable using more LED zones, which can be shut off entirely to create nearly pure black, and are used across the LCD back plane. Depending on how many zones are used, a picture can be made both brighter and darker than traditional LCD TVs, for a wider contrast ratio performance.

MiniLED TVs can also be made less expensively than OLED TVs, offering a high quality, competitively priced alternative to that technology.

According to the report, Samsung Electronics is expected to use miniLED technology in tandem with its quantum dot color enhancement technology (like TCL currently does in its 8 and 6 series models).

Samsung Electronics previously demonstrated miniLED backlit displays at CES two years ago.

Market research firm TrendForce recently issued a report predicting 4.4 million miniLED TVs to be shipped world wide in 2021, with Samsung forecast to account for 2 million of those units. Trendforce said Samsung is planning to market miniLED TVs with 4K resolution in the 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch screen sizes.

Trendforce said Samsung’s miniLED sets will produce a contrast ratio of 1M:1 and will be equipped with more than 100 local dimming zones, accounting for between 8,000 to 30,000 individual miniLEDs in the backlight system.

The Elec cited sources familiar with LG’s plans saying the manufacturer is preparing 4K and 8K resolution miniLED TVs measuring 70-inches that will represent the flagship of its NanoCell LCD TV assortment.

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However, LG is still expected to push its OLED TVs as its top-performing 4K and 8K television technology.

In addition to TCL, the Elec said China’s Konka and Skyworth are also preparing to market televisions based on miniLED technology.

TrendForce reported that Samsung’s new Mini LED backlight TVs will feature HV LED miniLED chips as their light source.

“Samsung’s adoption of HV LED chips requires an extremely large-scale, fast, and stringent testing and sorting process for LED chips according to chip wavelengths and specs, and related companies such as San’an Optoelectronics, Epistar/Lextar, FitTech, Saultech, Apex, and Macroblock have all moved to participate in Samsung’s Mini LED supply chain. TrendForce believes that, although most of the above companies are still currently in the sampling stage without any finalized contracts, competition in the LED supply chain will likely intensify once again,” Trendforce said.

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By Greg Tarr

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