LEDinside’s latest “New Display Technology Cost” report, in the past two years, the most discussed technology in the display industry is nothing more than Micro LED. Looking forward to it; however, from a technical point of view, including the yield rate of mass transfer and LED uniformity, etc., it seems that the road to mass production of Micro LED seems to be difficult. Some manufacturers have temporarily shifted their development focus to Mini LED. Since the structure of Mini LED is similar to the current LCD or LED display, there is not much change in design. It is only a matter of time before commercialization, so it is also placed by manufacturers. It is hoped that it can become a transitional product before Micro LED mass production.
However, Mini LED is bound to face direct competition from OLED. Whether it is in consumer electronics products such as mobile phones or TVs, consumers have gradually recognized that OLED panels are equivalent to high-end products, coupled with the stability of OLED production and even future production capacity. Both have more advantages, so the market is also continuing to observe which applications Mini LED should target.
The respective technical advantages of Mini LED and OLED
OLED has inherent advantages such as high color saturation (NTSC over 100%), high contrast (1,000,000:1) and fast response time (microsecond level), etc. Imaginative space allows manufacturers to have greater flexibility in thickness or appearance design. Mini LED is to shrink the chip size to 100~200 microns on the basis of the current LCD display structure, and arrange it in a matrix to fill the backlight module with LEDs. It also emphasizes high contrast and has an ultra-high brightness of more than 1000 nits. In addition, realizing HDR through zone dimming is also one of the advantages of Mini LED.
Limited by technical issues such as cost and power consumption, it is not easy for Mini LED to enter the mobile phone market
However, the number of LEDs used in Mini LED products is very large. Taking a 5.5-inch FHD screen as an example, the number of LEDs used ranges from 2,000 to 10,000. When the number of LEDs is small, a longer optical distance is required, which increases the thickness of the whole machine; when the number of LEDs is large, although the optical distance required by the backlight can be shortened and the uniformity is better, it will cause heat dissipation problems and greatly increase the cost.
Taking a 5.5-inch rigid OLED panel as an example, the cost of the panel is about US$17-18; if the same size and resolution are replaced with a Mini LED backlight, the cost of the panel will be around US$35-40, which is close to that of OLED panels in the past. The Selling Price of . However, as OLED production capacity is no longer tight, and there is price competition pressure from LTPS panels, OLED smart phone panel quotations will remain relatively weak in the long run. Therefore, the key for Mini LED to enter the mobile phone market depends on when its cost can approach that of OLED.
In the large-size TV market, Mini LED may have the opportunity to compete with OLED
Looking at the situation of TVs, since OLED printing and coloring technology is not yet mature, and the material utilization rate of the current evaporation method is actually only 20-30%, if full-color evaporation is used on TVs, it will face production yields. And the problem of low material utilization, so the current TVs are basically based on WOLED, that is, yellow/green and blue light-emitting layers are mixed to form white light, and color filters are used to achieve full color. Although this structure still has advantages in terms of contrast and thickness, in terms of color saturation performance, using Mini LED with QD film backlight may have the opportunity to achieve the same level as WOLED.
Taking the production cost of 65-inch UHD as an example, the production cost is about 950-1000 US dollars; and the 65-inch UHD with Mini LED backlight is estimated to use 30,000-40,000 LEDs, and the production cost is about 900-1000 US dollars. 1,000. Since power consumption is not a priority for TVs at present, and the cost is not much different from that of OLED, Mini LED may have an opportunity. Recently, first-line brands such as Samsung Electronics and LGE have demonstrated or announced that they will There are plans to launch large Mini LED TVs or commercial displays.
Cost is not a priority, Mini LED will compete in the niche market
When cost is not a priority, the opportunity to introduce Mini LED into the device is much greater. From the 10.1-inch car display screen announced by Innolux at CES at the beginning of the year, and the 27-inch LCD monitor for gaming and the 15.6-inch LCD monitor displayed by AUO recently. Notebooks, 2-inch VR and other related devices, it can be seen that Mini LED technology has room to play in niche markets where the unit price of products is relatively high.
Since IT products inevitably need to perform document processing, the afterimage problem caused by too long static images has caused OLED to suffer a lot. In addition, in 2016, most of Samsung Display’s OLED production capacity is given priority to smartphone panels. Missed the opportunity to enter the IT market. In recent years, with the expansion of the e-sports market and the increase in output value year by year, various IT brands are eager to launch e-sports products with high gross profit and added value; moreover, recently, PC monitors have also adopted the HDR standard, and Mini LED has a strong division The dimming function has the opportunity to bring HDR to the fullest. Therefore, high-end IT products will be one of the few markets where Mini LED has the opportunity to compete on the same starting line as OLED.