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Samsung to debut MicroLED TVs this year

Company wants a head start in next-generation displays after bypassing OLED

Samsung displays a MicroLED TV at a trade show in Las Vegas in January 2018. The South Korean company plans to release such sets by year-end.

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics will launch televisions using MicroLED next-generation display technology by the end of the year, with price tags that could reach $300,000.

Samsung will be able to work flexibly with customers on screen size, thanks to the modular design of its MicroLED panels, design chief Lee Don-tae told Nikkei.

Although details have not been settled, the TVs due out this year could be even larger than the 88-inchers leading Samsung's current lineup. Samsung plans to market them as a high-end offering in the U.S. and the Middle East, and as a potential replacement for computer projectors.

MicroLED, which uses massive numbers of tiny light-emitting diodes per screen, is seen as the next big thing in display technology. Unlike LCD and many OLED TVs on the market, it does not rely on color filters, using elements that emit red, green and blue light instead. It is also believed to offer better images with a wider viewing angle. Competition is already heating up. Apple has begun developing its own MicroLED displays, according to American reports.

Samsung itself has pulled out of OLED TVs, which take their name from the organic LEDs they employ. But the company remains critical of rivals' products, most of which use white OLEDs simply as a light source rather than to produce color. Samsung employs OLEDs that emit their own colors in smartphone displays that it makes.

Meanwhile, the LG group has emerged as a key player in displays based on white OLEDs. In addition to using them in its own TVs, it is also now supplying the panels to 13 TV manufacturers, including Sony.

OLED TVs are rapidly becoming a fixture in luxury markets. The global market for them nearly quintupled between 2015 and 2017 to roughly 1.33 million units, according to Euromonitor International. Samsung is struggling to remain a leading player in high-end TVs with its lack of OLED models and wants to gain a head start in next-generation MicroLEDs. 

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