LG microLED TV sneaks into IFA, takes a swipe at Samsung

Tucked behind a pair of velvet curtains in LG’s IFA 2018 booth is a small, unmarked room where the company is showing off some of its most impressive technology. LG hasn’t mentioned this in any of its press materials, and it isn’t actively routing showgoers into the room, but there sits the microLED TV in all its intensely bright glory — a silent and stealthy swipe at its competitor, Samsung.

At CES 2018, Samsung led its press conference with a 146-inch behemoth of a microLED TV,  dubbed “The Wall” due to its wall-devouring size. Samsung was the first to show off a display of this size and target it toward consumers, suggesting it could be installed in high-end home theaters if and when it was made available at the consumer level. To date, The Wall has not shipped to any consumers, but the TV was made available for order in June and is supposed to ship sometime this year.

LG isn’t making any such commitment. In fact, it hasn’t said anything about microLED displays at all. At least not publicly. Rather it seems LG is brandishing its design and engineering muscle, almost as if to say anything Samsung can do, it can do too — maybe even better.

What is a microLED TV anyway?

MicroLED technology uses tiny LEDs as pixels for the display itself. This differs dramatically from today’s so-called “LED TVs,” which use LCD panels for displays and LEDs play a simple backlighting role. In TV circles, microLED displays are referred to as emissive — they makes their own light, just like OLED, and as such are capable of the perfect blacks associated with OLED TVs, while achieving brightness levels that far exceed OLED.

LG microLED
Caleb Denison/Digital Trends

The challenge with creating a microLED TV is that, small as microLEDs are today, the technology hasn’t been scaled down to a size small enough to make what we would consider a normal TV. The microLED displays we have seen from Samsung — and now LG — are actually a grouping of several iPad-sized panels, stitched together to make one large display — kind of like an electronic quilt.

This approach is what leads to our primary criticism of Samsung and LG’s microLED TVs: If you get too close, you can see the individual panel borders, which makes the displays look less like TVs and more like commercial signage.

Of course, this technology is in its infancy, but we do expect Samsung, LG, and Sony to continue to pursue it. For Samsung’s part, a microLED TV could be part of a salvo to dethrone OLED TVs (which it refuses to manufacture), while LG would simply integrate a microLED TV as part of a broader TV dominance strategy.

As we sit back and watch the evolution of TV technology, from 8K resolution to multiple HDR formats, and now to microLED displays, it will be interesting to see in which basket manufacturers decide to place their technology development eggs.

Meanwhile, with an array of technologies and manufacturers vying with each other to build the best TV possible, there is one clear winner: you.

Home Theater

In surprise announcement, OnePlus says it’s going to make a smart TV

Smartphone manufacturer OnePlus says it will release a smart TV. CEO Pete Lau will head up a new division of the company, and has hinted the TV will be simple to use, and will feature artificial intelligence.
Home Theater

TV calibration 101: Here's how to tune up the picture of your new TV

You’ve got your new TV out of the box, but now what? Our TV picture adjustment guide takes you through the simple steps to get the best picture from your brand new TV so you can set it and forget it.
Mobile

The LG V40 ThinQ will be revealed at an event in October

The LG V30 was one of our favorite phones of 2017, and we're expecting big things from its successor in the later part of 2018. Here's absolutely everything we know about the upcoming LG V40 ThinQ.
Home Theater

Still wondering why you should buy a smart TV? Here's what you should consider

If you've been living under a rock, you might wonder: What is a smart TV, anyway? Lucky for you stone-dwellers, we've put together a quick-hit guide to teach you everything you need to know about televisions with big brains.
Home Theater

Here’s how to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Home Theater

Dish Network or DirecTV: Which is the better choice for you?

So, you’ve chosen to go with a satellite television provider. Check out our quick rundown of what both Dish Network and DirecTV offer in terms of content, hardware, and pricing, and why you might choose them over streaming services.
Home Theater

Pandora takes aim at Spotify’s Release Radar with smart playlist The Drop

Pandora is debuting its own answer to Spotify’s Release Radar in the form of The Drop, a weekly personalized playlist for Premium subscribers full of new music based on what they already love.
Home Theater

HDMI 2.0b is a whole lot more than just a connection to your TV

HDMI 2.0b is the backbone for many of the latest updates in 4K UHD technology. And while a new cable standard can often involve a bunch of changes for consumers, that is not the case this time around.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (October 2018)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in September and October 2018, from new comedies to terrifying horror…
Home Theater

Vizio is bringing Dolby Atmos to your living room without any setup headaches

Vizio’s new home theater sound systems offer all of the good parts of Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound to your living room without the troublesome setup chores of some other systems.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: When it happens and where to find the best deals

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Home Theater

Sol Republic delivers a long-awaited true wireless sequel with its Amps Air 2.0

Sol Republic is delivering a long-awaited sequel in its Amps Air true wireless earbuds in the Amps Air 2.0, which feature Bluetooth 5.0 and an IPX4 rating alongside the awesome charging case that fans of the original model loved.
Movies & TV

Brie Larson powers up in the first 'Captain Marvel' trailer

Academy Award winner Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel in the upcoming Marvel Studios movie hitting theaters in March 2019. Here's everything we know about Marvel's first female-led superhero movie.
Movies & TV

2018 Emmy Awards winners: The night of ‘Mrs. Maisel’ and diversity

The 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, was full of laughs and drama, as well as some surprises. Here is the full list of nominees, winners, and highlights from the show.