Samsung’s MicroLED TV could be The Wall in your living room

When I was watching my first TV, which featured a dedicated button for each channel and plenty of faux wood paneling, I couldn't have dreamed where we'd be today. Even my first progressive-scan set didn't quite prepare me for the future. Some of the panels on display at CES are nothing short of mindblowing. LG's 88" 8K TV is impressive, as is Samsung's 85" 8K set. But I think it's Samsung's 146" modular display, titled The Wall, that has me most excited. The company calls it the world's first consumer modular TV.

At last year's Cinemacon, Samsung built a gigantic, 34-foot, 4K HDR display. Now the company is working on downsizing that technology for home use, and that's where The Wall comes in. That 146" diagonal works out to about the height of a standard floor-to-ceiling wall. Samsung says the MicroLEDs in The Wall don't need color filters and are capable of hitting brightness levels up to 2000 nits.

The MicroLED technology is different from OLED, though similar in concept. MicroLEDs are capable of completely-black contrast because they're not lit from elsewhere on the panel like we see with LCD panels—each pixel is its own LED, which can be lit up or turned off as necessary. Each sub-pixel is about 15 microns wide. In other words, if you want to see the pixels, you'll have to get very close up. The technology isn't new—it's been in the works  in some form or another since the early 2000s but it's just starting to mature.

The Wall is bezel-less and modular, too. Samsung says that "users can add or remove modules to make their TV bigger or smaller, in any configuration, removing previous limitations on screen size, with zero impact on the performance of the display."

There's no pricing on this just yet, and availability to those of us with realistic wallets is probably a few years off, but tech like this is a great reminder that our screens, as much as they've improved, still have a long way to go.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    15 microns wide seems too small for a subpixel on a 146″ screen. The subpixels on a 48″ 1080p screen are 18 microns wide, so this must be at least an 8K screen.

    I’d rather just have bigger, cheaper, lower PPI for a large-format display like that. The pixels might be ugly if you stand two feet from it, but they’ll still be “retina” once you sit 15 feet away from it on the sofa.

    larger subpixels means cheaper, and we don’t need (nor can we afford) an 8K screen right now, thanks. It’s hard enough driving a 4K screen properly as it is!

      • DataMeister
      • 2 years ago

      Maybe an 8K screen doesn’t need 8K content. Maybe it just needs 4 different feeds, or a repositionable viewing area, or a customizable “wallpaper” background around your the content of interest.

    • Anovoca
    • 2 years ago

    Large scale TVs have never been able to compete with Projectors for value. The real question is how will TVs fair in the 4k HDR race. Atm, 4k projectors cost as much as the down payment on a house. These could be a real answer, assuming the they don’t price themselves right out of the market.

    If I had to guess, the price to size scale-ability will only favor the modular TV up to two panels, after which you are better off with a projector that you can just move closer/further to/from the wall to adjust your picture scale.

      • tsk
      • 2 years ago

      True, but a projector in anything but a pitch black room is terrible.

        • Anovoca
        • 2 years ago

        It depends, there certainly isn’t a one size fits all projector; but you can get enough lumes for a bright room, it just a matter of what you will sacrifice in other specs to get it (ie throw distance, latency, resolution.) It is also a matter of cost and bulb choice. Laser projectors are the future as they will last the longest, throw the farthest, and be effected the least by ambient light, but the premium on them is 10x cost as standard bulb.

          • Chrispy_
          • 2 years ago

          Laser projectors are pretty cool, but there’s still the problem that your darkest possible colour is a pure white wall, so you have to sit in a very dim room to really enjoy the picture, or have the brightness cranked up so high that it hurts. Contrast ratios (real-world environments, rather than a black room) will never be any projector’s strong point, until someone invents a functional projector surface that’s matte black.

            • Anovoca
            • 2 years ago

            [quote<] there's still the problem that your darkest possible colour is a pure white wall [/quote<] Except it isn't. Matte grey is becoming fairly standard for in home theaters and DIY screen jobs. [url<]https://www.markertek.com/product/pos-3dhdsilver-w/paint-on-screen-3dhd-silver-screen-water-base-1-gallon?utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=googlebase&cvsfa=3786&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=504f532d3344484453494c5645522d57&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImOqFjtLL2AIVGIGzCh2VkgG0EAQYASABEgK87fD_BwE[/url<] edit: there are much more cheaper alternatives, this just happened to be the first gallon I found on google to link as an example.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            That’s actually pretty cool. Not seen it used before but I bet it helps a little bit.

            What do you do when it’s sunny? We have 8 high-intensity projectors in the lobby creating a video wall and it’s embarassing how bad projectors are in broad daylight. That is something that is only going to be compensated by increasing the output to maybe 15K lumens.

            • Anovoca
            • 2 years ago

            In my home, I spent all of $30 on blackout blinds. Even without, It really isnt that much worse than direct sunlight reflecting on most ISP panels. The real thing to consider with these panels though is when you talk about “an average situation” but if you are stringing 4 or 6 of these together you clearly arent talking about an average living room wall. I picture these things being used mostly in a dedicated theater room residentialy, or commercially in some advertising capacity in dark malls.

            In your workplace scenario, I would agree these make more sense, but to be fair, this article headline was about living rooms, and in a living room I think people significantly overestimate the cost overhead of coverting to a projector friendly environment. The real question I was trying to raise in my OP was how 4k will factor in as the projector tech hasn’t matured yet and is currently at a premium. Samsung however has a habit of pricing thenselves out of 90% of the market for their new tvs which could be a real poor marketing decision for commercial retail.

            • DataMeister
            • 2 years ago

            I would hope that a wall sized TV can be controlled like it’s futuristic wallpaper. Draw a square in the middle of the wall and watch TV. Duplicate the square a few times all over to keep an eye on multiple shows at once. Change the “wallpaper” on your wall on a whim. Etc.

    • Kretschmer
    • 2 years ago

    I wonder how many organs/children you would need to sell to outfit a wall with this tech. Probably so many that your in-laws would mind. A shame.

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 2 years ago

    So, can I start out with a 40″ base unit and buy more modules to expand it as my budget permits?

      • Sargent Duck
      • 2 years ago

      I believe so

      • DataMeister
      • 2 years ago

      I’m sort of hoping the same thing. Maybe even smaller base units.

      Buy a 9 panel (3×3) 70″ TV then a couple years later add 7 more panels to expand it to a 100″ (or whatever that would come to). Then a few years after that buy another 9 panels for a huge 5×5 grid of panels.

      The big issue might be how well they hold their color over the years. And whether they can be consumer assembled or if they need an expensive assembly and calibration system to make it look seamless.

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