The world of television, from its inception, has been full of acronyms or buzz words, but lately it seems that they would like to drown in an alphabet soup: OLED, QLED, HDR, HDTV, HDMI, ARC, eARC… And if you thought that this was going to end, nothing more far from reality: see making room on your list, since there are two new terms with which you must become familiar, this without considering that a new battle is about to change the landscape of television: a micro-LED vs. mini-LED.
Although they look similar, the terms refer to very different types of screens, so let’s see what they are, how they differ from each other, and how both could play a decisive role in the purchase of your next tv.
What is micro-LED?
Micro-LED is a display technology emissive works in a similar way to OLED screens (Organic Light Emitting Diode), since each of its pixels is illuminated by itself, without the need of a backlight to separate. The biggest benefit is that it can achieve a level of perfect black. When a pixel is not in use, it emits no light, which in turn gives you that feeling of color deep black.
But the screens are micro-LEDS have two big advantages over OLED: due to that the LED can be much brighter than the OLED, that level of perfect black is accompanied by a gloss, stunning, to create a relationship of overall contrast that is currently unmatched by any other technology. How much brighter is it? Panels OLED can currently reach a maximum brightness of around 1,000 nits (unit basis that experts use to measure the brightness of the screens), but the micro-LEDS can produce up to 5,000 nits.
A panel micro-LED can also be combined with other similar panels, without actual limits of how many are connected, to create a screen that is measured in feet, not inches, and with a resolution that reaches up to 16K and more. For now, the maximum size of an OLED is 88 inches.
Several companies, including LG, Sony and Samsung, are working on screens micro-LED, but so far only the last two are being sold.
What is mini-LED?
Screens mini-LED belong to the family of LED tvs, which includes LED tvs and normal tvs QLED. A mini display-LED uses the same formula that these other televisions: an LED backlight provides the primary source of brightness which then passes through a matrix LCD and a set of color filters to give us the final image on the screen.
The place where mini-LED deviates from this model is in the number and size of these lights to LED backlight. An LED tv conventional could use a few tens, or perhaps hundreds of LEDS to power your background light. Mini-LED increases this up to thousands by drastically reducing the size of the individual LED. The reason for this approach is to once again find the holy grail of a better contrast, better brightness and better black levels.
With a larger collection of LED smaller, screens mini-LEDS may exert a greater control over the attenuation local, the ability to make parts of the screen are completely black. If the LEDS are small enough, then, in theory, you could create a LED tv with the same great black levels that the micro-LED or OLED. When combined with the brightness and the color improved possible thanks to the quantum dots, the screens mini-LED could be the technology that finally puts tvs QLED at par, or even better than OLED for picture quality overall.
As micro-LEDS, there are some different players who work with technology mini-LED, but for now, only TCL is selling these tvs.
Now let’s compare the two technologies with each other, and in several categories to have a better idea of where it stands on each.
There is No real limit to how large it can get to be a tv micro-LED. The CrystalLED Sony (their name for the micro-LEDS) has been configured with a size of up to 17 feet, with a resolution monstrous 16K to do honor to their size. With the ability to scale simply by adding more panels, it is an incredibly versatile system.
The size of the televisions, mini-LED is restricted by the same limitations of size LED displays to traditional. That is to say, can be made larger than the tvs, OLED bigger, but still do not come close to the possibilities of size of wall that exist with the micro-LED. The limitation in the mini-LEDS are not the LED itself, there is no limit on how many can be used at the same time, but with the panels of the matrix LCD that light up. By now, the LED tv largest we have seen was the tv UHD, limited availability of 110 inches of Samsung of 2013.
For now, the screens are micro-LEDS are only for those with a budget as big as the screen they want. These tvs are so expensive that neither Samsung nor Sony offer official prices on their web sites, which reminds us of the expression: “If you have to ask how much it costs, it is not for you.” Even so, the lack of public prices has not prevented us from gathering some estimates: tvs CrystalLED Sony start at around $180,000 dollars. And that is for a resolution setting of 1080 p 120 inches. Do you want 4K? That will cost you more than $700,000 dollars.
Fortunately, tvs, mini-LEDS are on par with other tvs QLED and in some cases, in reality, are cheaper in a comparison size for size. The first kick of TCL in the mini-LED, Series 8, 2019, the costs are quite less than $2,000 dollars for the model of 65 inches, which makes it reasonably affordable.
TCL has introduced a new version of its mini tech-LED at CES 2020, which called Glaze Mini-LED. The firm placed the mini-LED in a single thin sheet of glass, which gives as a result a general screen more thin, and one that seems to produce a brightness and black levels even better. The models equipped with the Glaze probably cost more than the equivalent mini-LED when they finally appear, but even then, Mini-LED’s will remain much more affordable than the micro-LED for many years.
Brightness, black levels and contrast
Despite the fact that mini-LED seems prepared to help to close the gap to the tvs QLED with its competitors in televisions with OLED in terms of these attributes, there is still no competition when mini-LED is facing micro-LED.
With the ability to become completely black pixel-by-pixel, the screens emisivas as micro-LEDS and OLEDS have an inherent advantage over any screen that you do not have control of level of pixel brightness. And the surprising brightness of the micro-LED also means that your contrast ratio is off the charts in comparison with other screens.
This is pretty simple. Yes, in theory, today you can buy a screen micro-LED, but let’s be honest: unless you are among the wealthiest residents of the united States does not have a tv micro-LEDS in your room in the short term.
Screens mini-LED, on the other hand, are available at this time, although only for TCL. Even so, Sony, LG have shown prototypes, mini-LED, which means that the monopoly of TCL on the technology probably won’t last long. However, with an important advantage, we expect TCL to be a leader in tvs, mini-LED in the near future.
Micro-LED and mini-LED are two of the new technologies of the screen’s most exciting that have appeared in years. Both will have an impact on the tvs they will buy in the future, but clearly mini-LED will be the that most of us know first.
At the margin, but perhaps not for a long time, is QD-OLED display, a marriage of technologies QLED and OLED. If we see the first tvs that used this innovation, we hope that cost much more than the mini models-LED, but still much less than the micro-LED.
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