Samsung Electronics had recently sent requests to Samsung Display and AUO to develop a 12.7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) to apply on its MicroLED TVs, TheElec has learned.
Specifically, the South Korean tech giant has requested that the display panel makers develop low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) TFT that it plans to apply on its home MicroLED TVs, sources said.
These TFTs will be applied to 2022 model MicroLED TVs Samsung will launch next year, they added.
TFT act as switches that turn pixels on and off in display panels and is widely used in most flat-panel TVs today.
Samsung’s first 110-inch model MicroLED TV aimed at home had used printed circuit board instead.
The South Korean tech giant’s 99-inch model, which will be launched in 2022 after being initially slated for a launch this year, will continue to be based on PCB but new models of MicroLED TVs going forward will all use LTPS TFT instead, the sources said.
LTPS TFT is being applied by Samsung as it plans to launch smaller-sized MicroLED TVs going forward.
LTPS TFT allows the TVs to have individual driver circuits, which will allow MicroLED TVs to reach 4K resolution. It is difficult to achieve 4K resolution with PCB.
Samsung is planning to apply LTPS TFT for the 89-inch, 101-inch and 114-inch MicroLED TVs that it will launch next year.
However, how much the application of LTPS TFT will cost will be a key issue for the South Korean tech giant.
Samsung currently believes a unit of 12.7-inch LTPS TFT will cost between US$70 to US$80.
However, those that TheElec talked to in the company’s supply chain believe this cost estimate could be doubled as the yield rate for the TFTs may be lower than expected when they go into production.
A single MicroLED TV will require dozens of TFTs, which can exasperate the cost of the already pricey TV. For example, an 89-inch model will require 49 units of 12.7-inch LTPS TFTs (7x7). A 101-inch model and a 114-inch model will each require 64 units (7x7) and 81 units (8x8), respectively.
Meanwhile, LTPS TFT for MicroLED will require 24 masks for production. The high number of masks is due to the increased number of transistors and circuits needed on the TFT. By comparison, a Gen 6 OLED requires 11 to 12 masks. The more masks there are needed during production, the more complicated the production process becomes.
Samsung had originally planned to launch MicroLED TV in the 70-inch and 80-inch ranges with LTPS TFT. However, it has scrapped the plan to launch a 70-inch range model next year, as making a 4K resolution 70-inch MicroLED TV is costly while the size is unattractive for the market when there are better and cheaper TVs that use liquid crystal display and OLED for consumers.