Samsung's Giantest Giant TV Could Be Coming to Homes Next Year

Illustration for article titled Samsungs Giantest Giant TV Could Be Coming to Homes Next Year
Photo: Samsung

At CES 2018, Samsung showed off “The Wall,” a 146-inch 4K TV that uses MicroLED display technology to make TVs larger than anything currently available. According to a report from the Korea Herald, Han Jong-hee, president of Samsung’s visual display business, claimed a consumer version of The Wall is on the way, and will be a little cheaper than someone who wants a 12-foot-wide TV might expect.

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MicroLED display technology is currently found in a handful of theaters where it functions as an alternative to more traditional screen and projector combinations. It operates, in a very loose sense, like OLED displays, wherein it controls the image on a pixel by pixel basis. Also like OLEDs its found more often in smaller displays (think smartwatches). However MicroLEDs could be potentially cheaper and the current technology allows makers to pair a number of MicroLED displays together to create larger displays—something traditional LED and OLED displays can’t do. Big display makers like Samsung and Sony have been pushing the product as an alternative to projectors and LEDs in the 80-inch and above realm of displays. Sony showed off a wall of MicroLEDs at CES in 2017 and Samsung showed off the Wall, a 146-inch display, at CES this year.

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While The Wall is designed for commercial and luxury spaces like hotels, mansions, or shops, the upcoming household version will be bit more svelte. That version of The Wall should be 30mm thick, nearly two inches thinner than its 80mm commercial version scheduled to launch in September.

According to the Korea Herald, Samsung refers to The Wall not as a TV but as a screen or display, and a modular one at that. The Wall will allow for consumers to attach display pieces to it and construct a television as large or small as they’d like, though it’s unclear if that could mean you’ll be able to stick a few 12-foot televisions together.

As Engadget notes, the tech is not perfect currently. Visible seams can appear between the modular components of the display leading to a checkerboard like experience. But that’s still better than the enormous TVs available in stores now, and would take up less room in the home than a 4K projector set up of similar size. If Samsung can work out the kinks it could be gorgeous.

And probably super fucking expensive.

[Korea Herald via Engadget]

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Staff Reporter, Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

If you’ve seen the behind the scenes of the large-format led walls/outdoor signage you know that those are constructed of 12"x 12" panels with about 144/288/576 RGB pixels and designed to come together like a puzzle (although more square) with some quick attach/release mechanisms on the edges. Of course that density (about 1-4ppi) is only useful at a couple dozen feet away. This microLED tech probably works in a similar way. You’d have an edge with a slight overlap on 2 of the 4 sides of the square that allowed the units to plug into each other. I can imagine they’ll keep the 12"x12" format for simplicity’s sake, but with a much higher PPI, maybe 120-240. And then you build a frame which allows for components and addressing (so you’ll have plug-in edges all around and a bezel that holds everything together. Its the bezel that you can put processing and other components, and likely where they’ll make back their money by selling frame components to build custom-sized assemblies. If they stick to 12"x12" units they’re going to have to produce frames that are at least some multiple of 16'x9' units high to get a proper tv HD/UHD format.  If they produce 6" and 3" elements, they can get somewhat smaller assemblies in the 16x9 aspect.  Just guessing here by the way.