Samsung’s visual display division is ditching QD-OLEDs in favor of MiniLED TVs

Mr. Jong-Hee Han, head of visual display business and chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, was seen visiting its new production complex in Vietnam last month. He was checking the progress of transforming the Ho Chi Min City plant from a manufacturing plant into an “export processing enterprise”, which gives him greater tax incentives and reduced import and export duties. ‘export.

In order to qualify for the switch, Samsung would have to generate 90% of its revenue from export sales, which it hopes to do this year, making the Vietnamese production complex one of Samsung’s largest. Although it is just one part of Samsung’s extensive supply chain, Samsung is also spending around $36 million to build 50 mini-LED production lines at the complex.

The Visual Display division recently changed its stance on miniLED LCD backlights from moderate interest to strong engagement after seeing the performance of some Chinese-made TVs with Mini LED backlights that also incorporated color changing films. QD. They believe these devices can compete with OLEDs and have therefore informed Samsung Display that they will not participate in QDOLED TV sales. (QD-OLED production to begin without Samsung Visual approval)

Since SDC’s only commitment to date for QDOLED panels has been Sony, SDC has delayed mass production until Q321. This schedule change had already been reported, but SDC never provided the justification. Now it is clear. Additionally, the Visual Display division, which is also responsible for monitors and laptops, has agreed to sell high-end QDOLED monitors in the 33″ to 35″ range, almost as a way to express some fidelity to the ‘business. SDC also changed the panel stack design from a 3-tandem blue stack to a 4-tandem blue stack. Apparently using 3 layers did not provide the difference in luminance with WRGB that Samsung feels is necessary to differentiate their product.

The following figure compares light loss from color filters and QD blue light suppression.

Source: Nanosys – Click for higher resolution

Light loss through QDs has been significantly improved and according to Nanosys includes:

  • 99% blue absorption and
  • 94% quantum efficiency
  • 5% loss through the blue protective layer

The total loss is approximately 15%, which compares to a loss of 66.7% for the color filter used in the WRGB design. The following chart compares light output in terms of cd/A at white point. The WRGB design produces 71 cd/A and the QD-OLED produces 97 cd/A in raw luminance. But the displays are compared to the white point where red contributes 30%, green 60% and blue 10%. When adjusted for white point, RGBW delivers 69 cd/A and QD-OLED 31 cd/A.

Source: OLED-A – Click for higher resolution

Two other light-impacting components are difficult to measure: QDOLEDs are higher emitting and use a higher aperture ratio, while RGBW has a white sub-pixel that is used as a substitute for certain colors that would normally require the use of of 2 or 3 primary colors, which improves the efficiency of the device at the cost of additional power to drive 4 sub-pixels instead of 3.

Another reason the Visual Display Division was reluctant to sell QDOLEDs was the added value it could provide by using LCD displays. Samsung Visual Display pioneered the concept of buying “open panels”, so they could supply the electronics, including drivers and backlighting. This process effectively shifts net revenue from the panel maker to the TV maker and isn’t really possible with backlightless OLEDs.

(On that note, I always believed that Samsung VD did this so it could have unique panels that weren’t available to Sony, because at the time it started Sony had a large investment in the one of Samsung’s LCD factories which allowed it access to fab products By moving module assembly to Samsung VD, the company could keep its technology, such as how to make curved LCDs, to itself -same. Editor)

Samsung Visual Display is expected to introduce at least one or two miniLED products over the next few months. With eight factories and an R&D center in Vietnam, Samsung should have no problem finding room to expand its miniLED assembly capacity if it succeeds with consumers.


Samsung has in recent weeks trademarked “QLED Neo”, “QLED Platinum”, “QLED+”, “QLED Z” and “Quantum Matrix”, potentially hinting at its plans for 2021 TVs. And even “Samsung QNED”. Last year, they registered the trademarks “Dual LED”, “Zero Bezel” and “Infinity Screen”. The company launched its nearly frameless Q950TS “Infinity” 8K TVs two months later at CES 2020 – and started using Dual LED in its mid-range models. Samsung has now trademarked “QLED Neo”, “QLED Platinum”, “QLED+” and “QLED Z” ahead of the launch of its 2021 TVs.

German site 4KFilme first reported the QLED+ and Z trademarks, but the company has also filed trademarks for other variants, discovered by FlatpanelsHD, in various regions. All have been registered as trademarks related to televisions. The company also trademarked the “Quantum Matrix” trademark, which most likely refers to the LED backlighting of an LCD TV – possibly the miniLED type mentioned earlier. It even registered the trademarks “Samsung micro LED” and “Samsung QNED”, where QNED refers to Quantum Nano (rod) Emitting Diode. (Are quantum nano-diodes (QNEDs) the next big thing?) Finally, it trademarked “Compatible with Wireless Rear Speakers” in the “Televisions; Audio Speakers,” perhaps suggesting that buyers will be able to wirelessly connect optional rear speakers to their TV.

MicroLED faces challenges

Furthermore, DSCC, in a report on MicroLEDs, concluded that even by 2026 the technology will be constrained by high costs to a small segment of the television market. At CES 2020, Samsung announced microLED TVs for the third time, promising to release “home-ready” models from 75″ to 150″ this year. MicroLED TVs, sued by Samsung Visual Display, are eyeing the mainstream market, but Samsung’s 2020 plan fell through even as Jong-Hee Han signed on with the Samsung chairman’s office. Samsung Electronics, home to the two divisions, is now a microcosm of the TV industry, where the battle for TV display supremacy looms between microLEDs, OLEDs and QDs.

The DSCC report moderates the short-term outlook for microLED TVs, highlighting high costs, fierce competition and the challenge of moving to 8K resolution, which would quadruple the number of microLEDs from 25m for 4K to 100m. They estimate that sales will grow from around $30 million in 2020 to $225 million by 2026. The base of the projection is Samsung’s “Wall TV”, which can be configured in sizes ranging from 146 inches at 292 inches diagonally and offers 1,600 nits of brightness. Resellers list modules for $16,000 to $23,000 each. These individual modules measure 31.75 x 17.86 inches, but have an individual resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. It takes 16 of these modules, to be set up in a 4 x 4 configuration that measures 146 inches diagonally. DSCC put the average price at $300,000. Based on these figures, the number of TVs shipped in 2020 stands at 116 and DSCC presumably expected 1200 by 2026, as shown in the following figure.

Source: DSCC MicroLED Display Technology and Market Outlook Report, OLED-A

DSCC said,

It will be a huge challenge to compete even in the premium TV category. Quantum dot OLED and LCD are already well established in this space. Several TV manufacturers are also introducing LCD screens with miniLED backlighting, with significantly improved contrast. The dual-cell LCD screen is another possible contender. Meanwhile, Samsung Display is set to mass-produce QD-OLED panels that will compete with LG Display’s White OLEDs… MicroLED TVs will fill a niche in the very large TV market, where LCD panels are no longer profitable. They will be popular among home theater enthusiasts but will not become mainstream. The DSCC predicts that microLED displays will likely see more success in other applications, such as AR/VR and Wearables. »

A report by IHS Markit previously predicted that microLED TVs would first hit the mass market in 2026, capturing a 0.4% market share. (~1m units)

The work carried out by Aledia and NS Nanotech, on which we have written (Micro LED Technology in Pursuit of TV and Smartphone Displays; Aledia, Jade Bird Compared to OLEDs (Part 1)/(NS Nanotech Solves the Binning & Green Gap Problems for Micro LEDs), to develop nano-sized RGB emitters on a single wafer could alleviate cost issues in TV production, but these solutions are still in the development phase. Aledia plans to use MOCVD equipment with a single wafer of 12′ silicon and their costs for LED production are quite attractive. Our assumptions regarding Micro LED costs are based on:

  • A 12 inch Si wafer will provide 19.5 b µLEDs[1] at 80% efficiency/use
  • 8K requires 99.5m of LED arrays
  • Finished cost/12 inch pad is $2,500
  • The cost of LEDs for an 8K TV would be $13
  • OLED costs for an 8K TV in 2025 are expected to be $137[2]
    • OLED material — $45
    • VTE damping — $83
  • This essentially leaves $128 per screen to move the µLEDs from the Si wafer to the display substrate.
  • Given that a Gen 8.5 factory can deliver 5 million panels per year, it allows an annual payback of $640 million or ~$4 billion in investments assuming a 6-year payback.

While Samsung Visual Division was unable to supply its consumer µLEDs

TV in 2020, they seem to have a large investment budget to solve the transport problem. (THROUGH)

[1] DPW-AnySilicon.xlsx]DPW Tool’

[2] Extrapolated from DSCC OLED cost report


Edward N. Arrington