Displays are the first thing we notice in a mobile phone, a laptop or a TV. We often change our decisions of buying a product based on its display quality. While almost every big name in tech, keeps display an important part of the product design and marketing, it’s important to understand why the price of a new phone or a tv increases or decreases using different displays; How Mini LED Technology can make future devices better and cheaper. Becoming a deciding factor when you purchase your next Phone or TV in coming times.
What is a Mini-LED display ?
A mini-LED uses the same formula as traditional LED’s – backlit Light Emitting Diode (LED) providing the primary source of brightness which then passes through an LCD matrix and a set of color filters to produce the final image we see on the screen.
Where mini-LED differs is the number of backlit diodes. A conventional LED TV uses around a few hundred LED’s to power its backlight. Mini-LED bumps this number to thousands by shrinking the sizes of individual LED’s. Now this difference results in the following advantages :
• Higher Contrast Ratio.
• Higher Brightness.
• Deeper Blacks resulting from better local dimming.
• Less prone to get burn in the LED’s with time, compared to OLED.
• Use of Inorganic Gallium nitride (GaN) helps to prevent time prone degradation.
Bigger Tech, Smaller LED’s
Although there isn’t any limiting threshold on how smaller the LED size should be. But usually LED’s smaller than 0.2 millimetre are termed as Mini-LED.
As LED technology gets better with time, they tend to become more efficient. Newer manufacturing techniques and other related factors help to create the same amount of light using less energy; Or more light using the same amount of energy.
The Future is Bright and Dark (Local Dimming)
Local dimming method was developed to improve the LED’s performance. By dimming the required parts of the screen (example, a person’s shadow), and brightening the parts of the screen that should be bright (a well lit room ), the apparent contrast ratio can be improved drastically. With the advancement of LCD technology, local dimming got better as well.
Mini-LED technology brings the perks of local dimming in a cost effective manner. With more number of pixels in the array, the ability to dim parts of the screen precisely increases. Resulting in much higher contrast-ratio, a.k.a “The Punch”.
OLED (Organic Light-Emitting-Diode ) displays have become the most obvious choice of every smartphone manufacturer including Apple and Samsung who feature an OLED display in their flagship smartphones. But this is soon going to change.
While TCL’s 8-series TV, which came last year in October is the first product ever featuring a Mini-LED Display. It has opened gates for many to follow.
Next Generation iPad Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro from Apple too are expected to switch to mini-LED as early as Quarter-4 of 2020 or in Quarter-1 of 2021 if delays related to the pandemic occur. Apple Watch too would follow the same route thereafter.
Shoutout to Micro-LED
There is another form of such displays termed as Micro-LED. They have even smaller magnitude of backlit LED’s than Mini-LED’s – as small as 1/100th the size of a conventional LED.
Manufacturing Micro-LED displays in large scales, especially for higher quality displays is rather expensive and very difficult to achieve. It involves placing every pixel, in the scale of microns physically in the array. A huge problem(commercially) in the field of Semiconductor engineering.
Both Micro-LED and Mini-LED are two of the most exciting display technologies coming soon. They’ll both have an impact on the TVs we buy in the future to the phones we pick next. Mini-LED, being more promising for many.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates to follow with the OnePlus TV launching today and the OnePlus Nord around the corner as well. Until next time, stay safe, stay engaged and stay updated. See you in the next one.