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What Is a Mini-LED TV, and Why Would You Want One? -To Geek

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Ethelyn Brye is an award-winning author and blogger. Growing up in Switzerland and influenced by renowned Swiss design and a lot of fresh mountain air, she attended and completed design studies in Geneva. Post graduation she moved to Washington State to work for a design firm, but her love of writing brought her to Cyanosaur. She's highly interested in strategy rpgs, mountain climbing, board games with friends and skiing. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her lovely cat Armstrong.

TCLMini-LED displays are just making it on to the market, and they’re affordably priced. This new technology offers more local dimming zones for deeper blacks and improved contrast. Let’s cut through the jargon. What Is Mini-LED? Mini-LED is a new display technology that promises improved contrast ratios and deeper blacks compared to LCD panels that are lit with regular LEDs (light-emitting diodes). As the name suggests, mini-LEDs are a lot smaller than regular LEDs. Diodes that are smaller than 0.2 mm are generally classed as mini-LEDs. These are used to light up a regular LCD panel, just as a traditional LED-lit TV would. The key difference is that a lot more mini-LEDs are present compared to older TVs. While mini-LED technology can’t quite match the picture quality of an OLED or micro-LED display, mini-LED models are much cheaper to produce. The larger the panel, the bigger the savings. Manufacturing large OLED TVs is still tricky and expensive. How Does Mini-LED Improve on Traditional LED TVs? Most modern LCD models use LEDs for backlighting. When you shine an LED through an LCD panel that’s showing a black or dark scene, the blacks become washed out. There’s only so much work the LCD panel can do to “block out” the LED light shining through behind. To combat this, TV manufacturers turned to local dimming. By dimming specific LEDs behind the LCD panel, blacks appear deeper because less light interferes with the image. The problem here is that due to the size of traditional LEDs, you can fit only so many behind the panel. Vizio’s standard LED-lit 65-inch PX65-G1 Quantum X LED TV has 384 local dimming zones, which are essentially individual LEDs. TCLBy comparison, TCL’s comparably-sized mini-LED 65Q825 8-Series has around 1,000 local dimming zones and tens of thousands of micro-LEDs. This results in deeper blacks and less washed-out dark scenes since the dimmable regions are a lot smaller and provide far more granular control over the image. This makes mini-LED technology a great stop-gap between traditional LED-lit displays and OLED or micro-LED displays, at a competitive price point to boot. Mini-LED vs. Micro-LED: What’s the Difference? Micro-LEDs are even smaller than mini-LEDs, with each micro-LED being placed in a pixel. Samsung, which has shied away from mini-LED in favor of micro-LED, uses three tiny LEDs per pixel in its current micro-LED displays. This means each pixel can be turned on or off individually, and display a different color to the pixel next to it. Ultimately, this provides the gold standard in terms of contrast ratio and color control. The drawback is that micro-LED displays are still very expensive to produce. A 4K micro-LED TV requires 25 million micro-LEDs, and the manufacturing process isn’t easy. This means the technology isn’t yet viable on account of the costs associated with manufacturing. That might soon change: Market research firm IHS Markit predicts a dramatic drop in the cost of manufacturing micro-LED panels that should lead to around 15.5 million displays shipped annually by the year
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