Samsung and LG are rethinking their MicroLED TV strategy — here's why

Samsung MicroLED TV on wall in living room
(Image credit: Samsung)

MicroLED TVs were first conceived as OLED killers, with specs that blend together the pros of both LCD TVs and even the best OLED TVs. Yet the high flying nature of MicroLEDs might not be so glamorous as companies no sooner pull investments and R&D away from the technology. 

As reported by MicroLED-Info, for Samsung and LG, MicroLED investment is proving too expensive in the face of a technology stack that will take many more years before it’s ever fully realized (especially at a price worth its luster). 

The article cites Korean and Taiwanese reports that claim “both Samsung Display and LG Display have decided to slow down their Micro-LED business plans.” The move makes sense when presented with products like Samsung’s newest Micro-LED TV lineup, which boasts an 89-inch model for the low, low $110,000 starting price. 

First introduced at CES to much acclaim, MicroLED displays have since been relegated to the extreme side of the premium TV market. Now it seems its days in the spotlight are swiftly dwindling, especially when the MicroLED vs OLED debate is being drowned out by far more interesting display technologies in the form of QDEL and NanoLED offshoots. 

MicroLED TVs take a back seat

MicroLED TV on wall in living room

(Image credit: LG)

Despite being thrust into the limelight once more, MicroLED TVs aren’t necessarily a new thing, as the technology dates back over a decade to Sony’s 2012 iterations that, like their current day counterparts, proved far too expensive for everyday consumers. 

Unfortunately, those pricing woes haven’t changed much over the last decade as manufacturers are still trying to deliver MicroLED TVs for a more reasonable price and, without full-on funding, it's not going to get cheaper anytime soon. 

LG's MicroLED engineers will be folded into its OLED team. If that doesn’t spell disaster for MicroLEDs, I’m not sure what else will.

The good news is that MicroLED-info claims that Samsung isn’t pulling out of the tech entirely, but will continue to invest in MicroLED R&D without any major plans of expanding its production. The news isn't so good for LG as, in a cruel twist of irony, the site also notes that some of LG's MicroLED engineers will be folded into its OLED team. If that doesn’t spell disaster for MicroLEDs, I’m not sure what else will. 

Beyond just the exorbitant prices associated with MicroLED TV production, high competition was also one of the key factors as to why LG and Samsung are moving away from the tech. According to MicroLED-Info, low profitability because of this high competition was just as detrimental as production costs.  

They’re not alone, though, as even Apple is reconsidering its MicroLED approach for the Apple Watch. The reasoning? As you might expect, it's high costs. It seems even for the likes of Apple, which has one of (if not the) highest market capitalizations in the world, MicroLED proves just too premium.

Will we ever see the return of MicroLED displays far into the future? It’s hard to say, as the MicroLED Industry Association claims it won’t be truly feasible until the early 2030s, and with alternate display technologies, like the aforementioned QDEL and NanoLED making waves already, there could be some immense competition on the horizon if those high costs can come down. 

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Ryan Epps
Staff Writer

Ryan Epps is a Staff Writer under the TV/AV section at Tom's Guide focusing on TVs and projectors. When not researching PHOLEDs and writing about the next major innovation in the projector space, he's consuming random anime from the 90's, playing Dark Souls 3 again, or reading yet another Haruki Murakami novel.