One of the biggest TV stories since 2021 has been the arrival of mini-LED technology in TVs. This is a type of LCD backlight that uses – you guessed it – smaller LEDs so that most lights can be packed in any less space, creating ultra-thin TVs with stunning HDR. While TCL introduced the technology before 2021, it really took off with Samsung offering the technology worldwide on some of the best TVs of the year, and right now, you can also find it on TVs from Sony, LG, Philips. and Hisense.
The only problem? It is not cheap. It requires more advanced manufacturing than regular LED TVs, which means premium pricing. There has been great progress just in the last year, with the price of Samsung’s 2021 models (like the Samsung QN90A) dropping massively since launch, and it’s been nice to see that Samsung’s 2022 TV lineup has launched at slightly lower prices than the previous year. 2021 equivalent in many cases. This is in stark contrast to the price of 2022 LG OLED TVs, including the LG C2, going up compared to last year’s models.
But what we really expect is that mini-LED will become more common in mid-range TVs – and while that won’t happen overnight, there are good signs of further price drops coming from manufacturers.
In addition to the general price reductions underway in the manufacture of LCD screens, a report in Digitimes (opens in new tab) says there’s stiff competition brewing between different screen makers — and fierce competition often means a drop in prices as different makers try to hurt each other.
There are two factors in particular that Digitimes notes are causing big price drops in the Chinese market in particular, but both apply globally: fewer people buying TVs, which means companies are lowering prices to try to get people to buy TVs. buy; and lower TV sales mean more panels are being made than there is actually demand, so the asking price per panel drops.
Review: Expect cheaper mini-LED TVs, but know that there are two types of mini-LED
One thing to note is that there are two types of mini-LEDs, one of which tends to offer superior image quality over the other and is also (predictably) more expensive. We’ll see a lot of cheaper mini-LED sets coming this year, and we expect to find that mini-LED models from companies like TCL have massively reduced prices from companies like Samsung, despite both dropping a bit. in price.
As noted by Digitimes, cheaper TVs will generally use Package-on-Board (PoB) mini-LED technology, while more expensive models will use Chip-on-Board (CoB) mini-LED. The technical difference is not so essential to know (CoB has multiple LED units connected directly to one circuit board per lighting unit; PoB has single LED units, each in its own device package, which are then attached to the board circuit) – but the end result is quite different.
CoB mini-LED screens can have their light angle shaped more effectively than PoB screens, meaning you’ll have less light leakage from bright areas (where you want it) to dark areas (where you don’t). That’s why the likes of the Samsung QN900B really take on OLED for impressive contrast and black levels. You are more likely to see ‘bloom’ when dark areas are next to light areas on cheaper models.
Ultimately, people will buy whatever TV they can afford – and while the CoB technology used by Samsung and Sony will almost certainly produce superior results, PoB technology should still give us better picture quality than we’ve had from LED TVs in the past. mid-range prices, so we’re excited to see if mini-LED sets can take over our list of the best TVs under $1,000 and best TVs under £1,000 in 2022.