Samsung Micro LED at CES 2022: Is the king of TV technology really worth $150,000? - MrLiambi's blog


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Friday, 7 January 2022

Samsung Micro LED at CES 2022: Is the king of TV technology really worth $150,000?

At CES 2022 there was no doubt that Samsung's Micro LED TV display was jaw-dropping in its sheer scale, visual fidelity and in presenting best-of-best when it comes to high dynamic range (HDR). This is the future of TV.

Then we learned what the price is expected to be: over $100,000, potentially up to $150,000 (there's no official price yet, however, so it's best guess work at the time of writing, based on feedback from industry insiders).

So how can a TV justify costing as much as a sports car? Well, because Samsung's Micro LED pretty much is the sports car of the TV world.

First of all: just look at our pictures, taken at Samsung's First Look event during CES 2022. The Korean company had booked out a ballroom at Caesars Palace to showcase its full range of televisions, from the Micro LED panels, to its more consumer (yet still high-end) Neo QLED 4K and 8K panels, down to its lifestyle range - including the astounding glare-free The Frame 2022.

TVs are notoriously difficult to photograph, especially in dark settings with multiple light sources, but these Micro LED panels deliver just such epic deep blacks and punchy whites that it's almost like photographing a scene. See how the blacks just continue into the darkness surrounding the panel? That's how rich these images are - in fact, they're far richer in person, it's almost impossible to describe without actually standing in front of one.

That is Micro LED's big appeal: its microscopic LEDs, which self-illuminate per display pixel (much like an OLED panel does, only Micro LED uses inorganic material), allow for ultra precise control of lighting that nothing else on the market can compete against. This also brings the benefit of ultra-low black levels, again just like OLED, but with much higher peak brightness.

But back to the question: is that good enough to make you want to part ways with six figures? Well, let's face it, most of the world's population won't ever have such sums available. Really the price is indicative of the high fail rate in the production process - which means starting again, new module and all - and the huge panel size, with the CES 2022 showcase showing-off the trio of 89-, 101- and 110-inch models. Even the smallest is huge, delivering an entirely immersive expereince, as there's zero bezel (well, it's a 99.9 per cent screen-to-body ratio).

The bigger take-away, really, is that with practise Samsung will be able to perfect its art form: Micro LED's price should shrink as the company's production experience and processes increase, and the panel sizes reduce to be more in line with what most consumers are after (i.e. 55-inch panels and similar).

Ultimately seeing a Samsung Micro LED TV in person is about the luxury of that experience, not the imaginary scenario of actually owning one right now. But what a visual treat it is - and great to see Samsung committing to this format some three years after first announcing The Wall at CES 2019.

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