Samsung Electronics’ production plan for MicroLED TV is being delayed, raising the question of whether the South Korean conglomerate will launch them at all within the year, people familiar with the matter told TheElec Wednesday.
The company initially planned to wrap up the production of the necessary components in the first half of the year and commercially launch the TVs during the second half of the year. However, Samsung is yet to even began the production of the components as of the current time, the people said.
Subcontractors that aren’t directly involved in the production of the MicroLED display also hasn’t received a time schedule for production, they said.
The biggest obstacle in launching MicroLED TVs has been the transfer process and pricing. Micrometer-sized LED modules need to be transferred from their temporary substrate to the flexible circuit board.
Though Samsung claims its MicroLED uses micrometer-sized LED, it is not smaller than 100 micrometers that is required for the designation, but rather, it is between 100 micrometers and 200 micrometers in size, which is technically a MiniLED. Nonetheless, MiniLED displays also require a similar transfer process.
Defects caused during the process is usually supplemented by a repair equipment.
However, the yield rate for Samsung’s MicroLED is reportedly so low that even the use of repair equipment is insufficient to solve the production problem, the people said. Having a high yield rate is crucial to lower the price of the finished product. The price of Samsung’s MicroLED currently range between ten thousand dollars to up to a hundred thousand dollars.
Though Samsung has set its MicroLED TVs as a higher tier TV than its current premium QLED TVs, pricing still remains the most important factor for the TVs to be commercially viable.
A Samsung spokesperson said the company remains on track to launch its MicroLED TV in the second half of the year.
According to TrendForce, MicroLED and MiniLED needs to be under US$6,000 to be competitive in the market. Transfer process technology must be stabilized and the production yield rate needs to reach 99.999%, the research firm said.
At CEO 2020 in January, Samsung displayed four new MicroLED TVs aimed at the home, which came in 75, 88, 93 and 110 screen sizes. It also showed off 150-inch and 292-inch models aimed at businesses. Han Jong-hee, President of Samsung’s Visual Display business, said it planned to launch the models in Europe and the US in the second half of the year.
Earlier this year, Samsung added Taiwan’s Epistar as one of its MicroLED chip suppliers. It has been using Taiwan’s PlayNitride and China’s San'an Optoelectronics as LED suppliers.