Neo QLED: the Mini LED arrives at Samsung at CES 2021… and that promises!

The suspense is over! Samsung has just made official the arrival of Neo QLED TVs, models that use a Mini LED-based backlighting system. While it is still a colorimetric LCD technology boosted by quantum filters, this new generation of backlighting looks very promising. The manufacturer also returns to the self-emitting Micro LED technology with 99 and 110 inch televisions at prices … We let you be the judge! Samsung has also formalized the arrival of MicroLED TVs which will be sold at very high prices.

What if the OLED finally had a real reason to shake! It was during its conference organized as part of a digital CES 2021 that Samsung announced its Neo QLED technology . Unsurprisingly, this is no more and no less than the formal response to its perennial technological rival, the other Korean, LG. Indeed, the latter announced last December 29 its technology LG QNED , using Mini LEDs and which will therefore equip LCD televisions. Today, Samsung is fighting back and we’re making no secret of it, this new technological war is making our mouths water.

Samsung NEO QLED: 40x smaller Mini LEDs

This is nothing new, Samsung is a strong supporter of LCD technology, certainly in the TV market – smartphones and tablets come with AMOLED displays. And if the brand’s first LCD TV dates from 2010, a decade later, this technology has evolved devilishly. Actually, the step which will separate the televisions of 2020 and those of 2021, promises to be really important . Thanks to Mini LED technology, LCD technology and its backlighting, so far difficult to master, should benefit from significant improvements.

A quick reminder of the facts – that the more tech-savvy among you may pass – regarding LCD technology. Unlike OLED technology, the LCD uses a backlight to illuminate the liquid crystal panel and produce the colors in the image. Samsung is also applying quantum filters (and a QLC filter to improve light diffusion depending on the model) to boost contrasts and extend the color coverage of the panels.

Neo QLED

Neo QLED // Source: Samsung

With Neo QLED, these same LEDs that light up the panel are still there, just like the Quantum Dots, but they are 40 times smaller than the LEDs that integrate a current QLED television (in l Samsung is referring to the model Q80T ). Where Samsung leaves us hungry is that we do not yet know the number of Mini LEDs built into televisions. We can bet that the data will be variable according to the sizes of the diagonal. On current QLED technologies, we know that the number of backlight zones is not the same between a 55 and 75 inches. The same will undoubtedly be the case with Neo QLED technology. Suddenly, we will have to wait a little longer to know how Samsung intends to manage the Mini LEDs. Can each mini LED be driven individually? It’s unlikely … How many zones in a 65 inch? How many Mini LEDs for a zone? So many questions that remain unanswered for the moment. Just like questions about brightness and contrast ratios elsewhere.

So, naturally, we are eager to learn more about these specific elements of Neo QLED for which Samsung promises unparalleled mastery of brightness and therefore contrast and image quality. In the screenshot above, you can see what (schematically of course) a “ Quantum Mini LED “ looks like. It consists of a base for attaching it to the electronic panels that house the components and the LED is coated in addition to a material to diffuse light.

To master brightness is to master contrasts

You will agree, there is always something amusing when a manufacturer plebiscites the evolutions of its technologies, it is that it often amounts to “denigrating” those of the past, or in any case to recognize them. weaknesses. And that of the LCD in this case, even when coupled with Full LED backlighting with local dimming (management by backlighting zone) , remains the problem of light leaks. Below you will find some captures from the Samsung conference. These speak for themselves: Neo QLED technology will offer more precise control of brightness and therefore of contrast.

Where LED strips produced diffused light that was difficult to control perfectly, the thousands of mini LEDs offer much finer management of brightness.

The output of blacks and other colors will be significantly improved – and possibly lower power consumption as well.

And among these messy evolutions, this better control of contrast and brightness allows Samsung to announce today compatibility with 12-bit sources (4096 levels) and therefore a different management even better HDR content. We see you coming, but no, Samsung has not announced compatibility with Dolby Vision . On the other hand, we know that Samsung has announced its Adaptive HDR10 + technology which competes with Dolby Vision IQ technology.

MicroLED also makes its show

Samsung also took advantage of this conference to discuss the future of MicroLED which is, for once, the real competitor of OLED since it is this time a self-emissive technology, with individual management of pixels and therefore contrasts. The Korean manufacturer also mentioned panels that can contain up to 24 million micro-LEDs!

This is no longer a question of backlighting, but of diodes which produce their own RGB colors, without loss of brightness or light leakage. In addition to all of this, MicroLED technology has for it to be inorganic, unlike OLED which is organic . It would therefore not be subject to the same image-marking effect, the famous “burn-in” phenomenon against which OLED TV manufacturers are actively fighting to reduce the risks. The Micro LED is also for Samsung the longevity of a television since it announces a lifespan of 100,000 hours of use.

Neo QLED (MiniLED) and MicroLED: a first idea of ​​prices

This is most of the information currently shared by Samsung. We will come back in a second article to the other innovations (minor in our opinion) that will accompany this new 2021 range.

We had the opportunity to talk to a manager of the TV division within Samsung France. Details of the Neo QLED ranges will be known shortly, but, good news, the Korean manufacturer does not seem to want to make this technology an exceptional product. So the range could start with a 50-inch model for less than 2000 euros – we grant you that, it is not sold off either. The availability of the first models is announced for the month of March.

Samsung Micro LED

Samsung Micro LED

On the other hand, MicroLED models will remain reserved for rich people, very rich even! The range will be composed of models with diagonals in 99 and 110 inches, in fixed sizes – remember that the MicroLED also has the advantage of being flexible in shape (image ratio) and in size – but it will take, drum roll, 1000 euros… thumbs up! We’ll let you do the math …

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