The new technologies allow the televisions that we have at home to be bigger and better, with better brightness and better contrast. The latest technology to reach the market are the mini LED and microLED , both bring interesting advantages and have become a great bet for the future.
The mini-LED technology is advancing in televisions with sizes between 65 and 75 inches while the micro-LED bets on even smaller LEDs and in each panel we find millions of them. Although the quality of the latter is spectacular, it still does not have the same availability as the first in the market and getting a television that opts for these micro LEDs will be very expensive. But what are their differences, what advantages does each have, when we will use them.
What is Mini LED?
The mini LED technology consists of betting on smaller LEDs than those commonly used in this type of panels and televisions, as the name implies. The way in which these screens are “built” is the same as in QLED televisions or LED televisions although the difference is that the collection is larger and the diodes used are smaller. That is, we have a series of LEDs (smaller than usual) that are illuminated by a main light source. Being the same architecture as the usual screens, the investment that brands must make is very small and this makes it one of the most interesting options for the future with advantages over the current ones.
We bet on a much smaller size, up to 1,000 times smaller. This allows that in the same space we have a greater amount of LEDs and translates into advantages such as better brightness or better contrast. But, above all, the main improvement is that we get a perfect black without the blooming or halo effect. The great advantage of using mini LED technology on screens is that we have a larger number of diodes and can be grouped into smaller areas of the screen or TV. This implies that we can turn the zone on or off more independently as needed at all times and have greater control over local attenuation , without affecting nearby areas. That is, when lighting white letters on the black background, these will be the ones that are illuminated precisely to but there will not be a halo around them because we can turn off what is around. It consists mainly of the possibility or ability for some parts of the screen to be completely black when necessary.
The mini LED also improves brightness, reaching up to 1,500 nits in general terms or up to 4,000 nits in some cases. That is, it will allow us to see the image with quality even in places where there is a lot of light. And another of its main advantages is that it allows us to reduce the thickness compared to classic LED TVs.
What is MicroLED?
The microLED technology is different from the previous one in its operation: while the mini LEDs opt for a technology similar to the QLED through which there is a main source of brightness, in the case of the microLED it is similar to the OLED screens. That is, each of its pixels illuminates on its own without the need for a general source of illumination in the background. This allows each of the pixels to be turned off when they are not needed and thus achieve totally deep blacks, as well as in high-end mobile phones in which we bet on dark backgrounds to save energy and battery by turning off said pixels.
Although the operating system of the micro-LED technology and OLED screens is similar, there are two differences that make the first ones a better option: beyond the perfect black thanks to the blackout of the “surging” pixels, we have a higher brightness almost five times higher. It is usually estimated that OLED screens can get about 1,000 nits but micro-LED technology we calculated that it could get even 5,000 nits. That is to say, not only would we have perfect blacks but we would have excellent brightness with the consequence of also having a spectacular contrast.
In terms of size, there are no limits for micro-LEDs and they can be used in any resolution , so they are an ideal option to create huge panels focused on business, such as Samsung‘s The Wall.
What are the differences
Micro-LED and Mini-LED will star in what is expected to be the next commercial “war” on the teles. Is there one that is better than another? You cannot choose a winner as such because both have very interesting advantages, with differences in size, price or availability in the market.
One of the main differences we ask ourselves is size. We know that they are smaller than usual LEDs but what is the maximum size that we can have on a screen using this technology. How many diodes or points can we use at most? In the case of microLEDs, they have no limitations on how the screen to be created can be thanks to the system used. On the other hand, and for this same reason, televisions that use mini LED technology do have a limitation: the LCD panel they use to illuminate. A limitation that we have already seen in the usual LED TV format although without any problem it could be reached up to one hundred inches. The “mini” are a good option if we look for panels of around 65 inches or something else. If we want to go to large screens that exceed 120 inches, we would bet on microLED technology. At the user level, this one hundred inch limitation can be insignificant if what you want is a television for your living room. But if you think about it in broader terms, microLEDs will have more possibility in terms of size and huge and unlimited screens.
Micro-LED technology is also better in terms of features such as brightness or pure blacks, as we have explained in previous paragraphs. The mini LED technology uses the same system as the QLED TVs but with the advantage of smaller groups of lights that can be adjusted in more detail according to the image, turn off or turn on smaller “pieces” than before. But they are still parts of an image that we turn off or on, however precise. In the case of microLED technology, we turn off the pixels individually and improve the level of the blacks but also the brightness of them and, therefore, the contrast.
Although the microLED offers us less limitations in size and allows us to have better characteristics of brightness, contrast or black levels, it is not a perfect technology. Of course, it has lower availability and is much more expensive. If after reading this you were already dreaming of a microLED TV that has an enviable brightness or perfect black … it will be complicated. It is a system that is still arriving gradually and for now there are very few manufacturers who have televisions of this type in the market and its price can exceed 150,000 euros for the most affordable models or up to 600,000 euros for models that They offer 4K quality. They have better quality and fewer limitations but currently their prices are not acceptable for most users.
In terms of price, mini LEDs can enter within the normal or usual when we want to buy a quality television. We will find televisions from Samsung, TLC or LG with sizes larger than 65 inches and with a price of around 1,500 euros or 2,000 euros approximately.
As we say, it is unusual to see companies that are now betting on micro-LED technology for televisions aimed at a wide audience. There is the Samsung Wall that uses a modular microLED screen that boasts blacks, color or even the appeal and aesthetics of this panel. However, on the website itself we see that they indicate “for business” or “to live in luxury.” It is not expected to be a television for anyone to buy to have at home. At least for now.
As for mini LED televisions, TCL announced in August 2019 its first Smart TVs that opted for this technology and were 65 and 76-inch models that were around 2,000 or 3,000 dollars with 15,000 “points” and more than 750 areas of independent control to control the halo or blooming. Thanks to the lower cost of mini LED technology, it will soon become something much more common in the market that we can incorporate normally into our salon.