Last night, Samsung unveiled its vision for the future of the living room: The Wall, a 146-inch 4K TV made up of MicroLED panels. Yes, Samsung is skipping OLED entirely as it moves beyond its “QLED” LCD technology. The company claims The Wall has all of the benefits of OLED, without any of the downsides, like the potential for burn-in and worries about shortened lifespans. Since each pixel is self-emitting, there’s no backlight like there is with LCDs, and that means it can deliver brighter whites and pure blacks like OLED.
In person, The Wall doesn’t look much different than a very large OLED set. It’s astoundingly bright, colors are rich and vibrant, and the black levels are indeed inky dark. Samsung describes the TV as a scalable product, which can fit almost any size you can imagine (its technology comes from Samsung’s 34-foot cinema display). It’s not just a single screen, it’s actually made up a series of square MicroLED panels. That allows for the size flexibility, but I also noticed that you can easily make out those panels when you’re looking at The Wall up close. When it’s off, it almost looks like a checkerboard. In the image below, you can see that pattern where the flash bounces off the screen.
Samsung isn’t commenting on if that checkerboard issue will apply to the final product. In fact, it’s saving most details for a press event this March. There’s no doubt MicroLED is impressive, especially as consumers demand ever-larger sets. But I also can’t imagine that The Wall will be something most people can actually afford over the next few years.