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I know I say this a lot, but this truly is going to be an interesting one. Folks, today we have Micro LED vs OLED!

Chances are you may not be familiar with the former, (or even the latter for that matter) but just know that it’s extremely exciting since it’s being fabled as the one display technology that could be crowned the new visual king.

What makes it even more interesting is the fact it’s not out yet!

Yes you heard that right. As of right now, micro led isn’t commercially just yet — though I do think that we will start to see some of these displays in a year or two.

That’s just my thoughts since it remains to be seen when the first fully integrated, commercial displays are mass released.

Because of that fact, this is going to be more of a speculative article since I personally haven’t seen the tech for myself yet.

What we can do however, is look at the experiences of insiders & people who have seen it, as well as how it works, to get a sort of general idea of how it might compare along with some general thoughts on it as a whole.

Hopefully that makes sense.

Believe me, when it’s commercially available, I’ll undoubtedly purchase one to give you guys an idea of whether or not it’s worth it, but for right now, we’ll have to go off of what other experts have experienced thus far.


What Is OLED & How Does It Work?


The Benefits & Drawbacks Of OLED


What Is Micro LED & How Does It Work?


The Benefits & Drawbacks Of Micro LED


What Are People Saying About Micro LED?


Which One Do I Think Will Be Better?


When Will Micro LED Be Available?


Final Thoughts



What Is OLED & How Does It Work?

Before all of that though, a few may still be shaky on what exactly OLED is, so I’ll go over that first. OLED is actually an acronym that stands for organic light emitting diode.

What does that mean though?

Well it’s basically just a fancier way of saying its a compound capable of producing its own light when given power.

Now the way that it works is actually really cool.

Without getting too in depth, (because it can get pretty complicated) for every pixel, when an electrical current passes through it, it glows a specific color depending on the filter being used for that pixel.

This is where things get really interesting though.

Whereas the average television today uses a backlight to produce a picture; an OLED doesn’t. Instead of a backlight, each individual pixel acts as it’s own backlight in a sense.

So when an electrical current is detected, it happens to light up.

Also unlike a normal display where other nearby pixels light up when one is active, with OLED, each individual pixel acts on it’s own accord.

So when a scene calls for a white object on a black background, only those specific ones are active while the others are completely off.

I did a complete article on OLED if you’re really curious about the nitty gritty on it. https://easyhometheater.net/oled-tv-technology-explained


The Benefits & Drawbacks Of OLED

The biggest benefit of this technology is an incredible black level. You’ll often see people touting the importance of black levels in displays, for good reason; the darker the black level of a screen, the more realistic and satisfying the image appears to be.

The crazy thing about OLED is that it has infinite blacks. I mean think about it, what’s darker than a pixel that’s already off? Exactly. So because of that, what you get are images that look incredibly realistic; better than anything you’ve likely seen to date.

To top it off, colors also get noticeable boost in intensity and scope. This 1,2 punch of amazing colors, and incredible black levels is what makes it so well renowned. But that’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s drawbacks as it definitely does.

The first downside has to do with HDR content. When compared with an LED TV with the same content, it doesn’t quite reach the same luminance.

The first time I heard about this I was skeptical, but when I saw it for myself, I certainly did notice it.

Another potential drawback really has less to do with the technology, and more to do with its accessibility if anything.

Given that OLED is time intensive to produce, the price could catch a few people off guard when comparing similarly sized displays. I will say it has become more mainstream in recent years, so that’s certainly helped in that regard.

Screen burn in was also something that use to be an issue. The good news is that this was typically an issue with earlier sets, so it’s not really much of a problem anymore.

Still though, I wouldn’t necessarily leave static images on the screen for hours at a time or anything, just to be on the safe side.

That’s a common cause for burn in with things like a logo on screen for example, remaining in the same spot for hours at a time.

So while not nearly as prevalent as this issue once was, it’s still best to not have the same non moving element on screen for extended periods of time.


What is Micro LED & How Does It Work?

Now when it comes to Micro LED, (MLEDfor short) you’ll be really surprised to know that it’s been around for a little while now. In fact, Sony even released a TV back in 2010 dubbed “Crystal LED Display” which was the first to utilize it.

(If you’re curious about the history and technical aspects of how it works, you can read more about that here)https://www.ledinside.com/outlook/2016/8/overview_of_micro_led_history_and_current_developments

The more general question though is what is it?

Well think of it this way. You know how the typical display has some sort backlighting system that it uses to display an image?

Imagine instead, that you had a tiny backlight for every single pixel there is.

Sounds like it’d be pretty awesome right?

Well as luck would have it , that’s exactly what it is. Rather than using utilizing the more conventional lighting system, every single pixel has its own one.

What that means is only the pixels that need to be on for a given scene are, while the others remain off. This offers a level of precision that’s unprecedented.


The Benefits Of Micro LED

So of course with that, there are some serious, noteworthy benefits afforded here as well.

Infinite Black Levels


As I’ve mentioned earlier, black level is one of the most important metrics of a quality display. The darker the black levels, the better. Why? Because this is what gives a scene that realism factor.

Have you ever seen a television that looked somewhat washed out?

Well besides being calibrated wrong, it’s also likely that that set had poor black levels.

You won’t have that issue with this tech, since it has an infinite black level. That means it can’t get any darker than this, which overall means you’re going to be getting some seriously impressive images.


More Accurate Images

Due to the fact that each pixel acts independently of one another, that means that only the ones that need to be on for a scene will be. The rest will remain off until they’re needed.

This is extremely similar to OLED in that regard.

Because of that, scenes in whatever is being viewed will look far more realistic. On top of that, this also negates an issue with typical LED panels called light bleed.

This is where parts of the picture become illuminated that shouldn’t be, resulting in uneven picture quality.

Pixel by pixel accuracy also helps with appropriate color accuracy as well, providing for a more vibrant yet lifelike image.


Brighter Picture Than OLED

This is something that is definitely interesting to think about. OLED, as remarkable as it is, doesn’t always seem to get as bright sometimes when it comes to HDR content.

Though due to its infinite contrast ratio from its infinite blacks, in normal lighting conditions you may not notice the difference between in 2 in vibrancy. It’s really typically when there’s a brighter environment where this difference becomes even more apparent

Micro LED on the other hand, was supposedly developed with both of these factors in mind.

So hypothetically, it should offer a brighter picture than the former when it comes to that type of content; much like the current excellent display technology QLED, while also keeping the infinite contrast ratio of OLED as well.

This brightness level is measured in nits and ideally, it’s recommended that for optimal HDR, a display should reach at least 1000 nits.

While some LED displays can do this and sometimes more, they often lack the black levels and color depth that OLEDs have.

Micro LED then can have the best of both, with a much higher brightness and the same black levels.



The Drawbacks

As you can imagine, there’s also a few drawbacks to keep in mind as well. While these could be thought of as temporary issues, they’re still issues that are present right now nonetheless.


Time Intensive

Being that an LED has to be supplied for every pixel, this is where the problem arises. Doing so takes a large amount of time & effort just for a smaller screen. For a larger display like a TV or monitor, it takes exponentially more.

On top of that, the smaller the display, the harder it is to create since the LEDs have to be smaller due to there being less space overall. Developers have yet to come up with a more efficient way to create them.


The Cost

This pretty much ties in with the first point. Because of how much time it takes to create one of these displays, the cost when producing these panels can also be a factor for manufacturers.

These screens aren’t common when it comes to home use, but I’d imagine we’ll inevitably see these become more widespread.


Thoughts About Micro LED

Talks about the actual technology have been overwhelmingly positive for the most part. They’re saying that it could potentially take on OLED from what they’ve seen so far. But it’s also important to keep in mind that this tech is in the prototype stage and not finalized.

That just means it’s not possible to speak on it definitively until the final product is out. Here’s an article that rounds up some of the top industry leaders’ opinion on it thus far. https://www.ledinside.com/news/2017/12/what_industry_professionals_say_about_micro_led

Samsung even had their first venture into the mix with a 146 inch TV dubbed as “The Wall”



Which One Do I Think Will Be Better?

OLED TV Technology Explained

So, which of the two do I think will be better?

To be honest with you, I’d have to say I’m torn for a number of reasons. I say that because I personally have an OLED screen, so I know how incredible it looks. But at the same time, here’s a newcomer that checks all the boxes that should hypothetically be superior.

Yet therein lies the problem, I haven’t personally seen it yet with my own eyes to speak with certainty. I mean it does have infinite blacks like OLED, while being able to achieve a higher brightness, so I technically think it should be able to edge it out when it comes to picture quality.

But the fact that a single Micro LED screen is so hard to mass manufacture compared to other TVs makes me a little hesitant to start calling this the new golden standard.

Until they figure out a way to create them more efficiently, it’s hard to determine how things will go.

Even when it comes to viewing HDR content, my QLED TV is comparable to my OLED when it comes to peak brightness and color volume so I think  MLED would expound upon this even further.


When Will Micro LED Be Available?

Even though we’ve seen prototypes of micro led in things like “The Wall,” (with the consumer version initially planned to launch this year) industry leaders have been vague in regards to when they’ll be commercially at smaller sizes.

LG launched a 163 inch display for signage purposes and luxury homes in 2020, and Samsung is releasing a 99 inch & 110 inch in March, with a smaller 88 inch version later that fall.

There’s was even a 76 inch as well.

So that does show manufacturers are at least working out how to release this new technology on a mass scale.

Only time will tell how long it’ll take to actually catch on with the masses; but once it does, then we’ll no doubt be in for a treat when it comes to implementation of this technology with our favorite content.

If I had to take a guess, it’ll at least be at least 5, maybe even 6 years at the max before we start to see these displays widely catching on.

Until the manufacturing process is perfected, it just won’t be something that’s commercially viable unfortunately.



Final Thoughts

So here we have Micro LED vs OLED, two somewhat similar technologies with two radically different approaches.

One is already available, while the other has yet to see the light of day. While I’m unable to say which is better at the moment, I will say that I have a feeling that given they perfect the yielding issues, Micro LED should be able to come out on top.

But then again who knows. Guess we’ll have to revisit this rematch when it releases I suppose.

Until next time, make it easy, keep it simple.

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14 Comments so far:

  1. Thank you for your great blog post! Even non-tech people like me can understand what you’re writing about, enjoy the read and learn new things. I’m so impressed with all these technology improvements and would really like to see them practically. Your comparisons of two technologies are great. Pictures, too.

    Thanks again,

    • No problem, I’m glad you liked it. Yeah I love OLED, and I would say the same for Micro but it isn’t out yet lol.

  2. Incredible post. It contains so much information about display technologies… I think you have done a wonderful job by conducting research and providing technical details about both technologies. Actually, I read the post with great interest. And the images are impressive. I like that you also provided links to the respective sources. Good luck with the future development.

  3. WOW – I’m interested already. Love the picture of the black dog and your explanation. I can’t wait – but 5 years for OLED!?! Oh well, I guess the micro LED is the winner so far then by virtue of at least turning up!
    I do have one question – will these be available in all kinds of devices or limited to just a few? Look forward to hearing your reply. Thanks again for this informative post. Gail

    • It’s the other way around, micro led is the one coming out haha. But that’s the exciting part, it’ll be implemented in everything from laptops to phones. Imagine being able to see your phone screen clearly in direct sunlight with no issues at all or better battery life. That’s some of the kinds of benefits it’s bringing to the table other than improving TV technology.

    • It’s super amazing, there’s really nothing like it (for now at least lol) But I’m sure you’ll love it.

  4. Oh yeah, I have been wanting a new TV and I am kind of a techy so I like to have the latest and greatest. I am just trying to come up with my excuse as to why change out the TV. I am going to be selling my home soon, and I am sure I will have more wall space. You see I just bought this house, lugged in my 3 50+ inch TVS and only to discover that there were NO walls for all of them. Too many windows and I had to get rid of two TVS. So, in my quest for a new home, I need a new TV. I like the micro OLED! Sounds like just what I need!

    • That sucks big time, haha sorry to hear that. But yeah it will be awesome, but they’re not out yet unfortunately. Unless you meant the OLED then yeah, those are insane.

  5. Wow sounds really cool! Being a totally tech less old fart I approached your article with considerable trepidation, expecting to just not get it.

    You truly shone the light on it tho, so even I could understand the benefits of oled. That’s no mean feat.

    • Hey I truly do appreciate that! My goal was to make it as easy a read as possible so I’m glad I was able to do so. 🙂

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