By Joo Kyung-don
SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. -- the world's two largest TV makers -- are set to intensify their battle in the TV market this year as they unveiled new TVs using mini light emitting diode (LED) technology ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021.
A Mini LED TV is a liquid crystal display (LCD) TV that uses tiny LED chips that generally range from 100 to 200 micrometers in size for its backlights. The product offers better brightness, higher contrast ratio and lower power consumption compared to conventional LCD TVs with regular LEDs.
Industry observers said this year will be a breakout year for the Mini LED TV market as multiple TV makers will launch such products.
"Yearly Mini LED backlight TV shipments are projected to reach 4.4 million units for 2021, a 2 percent penetration rate in the overall TV market, as brands begin integrating Mini LED backlights into their TVs and continue to improve technologies as well as optimize costs," industry research firm TrendForce said.
Of the two South Korean electronics giants, LG first introduced its Mini LED TV on Dec. 29, combining its quantum dot and NanoCell technologies.
The company said its new QNED Mini LED TV lineup consists of 10 models, offering both 4K and 8K options with large screen sizes up to 87 inches.
"LG's innovative Mini LED backlighting comprises up to almost 30,000 tiny LEDs that produce incredible peak brightness and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1," the company said. "Thanks to a new panel structure enhanced by LG's advanced Mini LED backlighting, these TVs deliver a truly immersive viewing experience in the LCD space,"
Samsung threw its hat into the ring on Thursday by introducing the Neo QLED TV that uses Quantum Mini LED.
"Samsung designed the Quantum Mini LED to be 1/40 the height of a conventional LED," the company said. "The Quantum Mini LED has incredibly thin micro layers filled with many more LEDs."
Samsung's Neo QLED TV also comes with Quantum Matrix Technology that provides a 12-bit luminance scale with 4096 steps, which delivers a more precise and immersive viewing experience, and its Neo Quantum Processor that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) upscaling technology for optimized picture quality.
Samsung said the Neo QLED TV will be available in 8K and 4K models and will be launched from the first quarter of the year.
Industry insiders said Samsung and LG's launch of Mini LED TVs will push the two sides to go head-to-head in the premium TV market.
In recent years, Samsung and LG have been locking horns over QLED TV and OLED TV, which are basically different types of TVs.
LG has been claiming that Samsung's QLED TV is merely a LCD TV with a backlight panel that has an additional quantum dot (QD) sheet, while Samsung has been pointing out that LG's OLED TV has a problem of gradual degradation of pixels, also referred to as "burn-in," as the product uses organic material.
Observers said the introduction of the Mini LED TV will help Samsung to defend its status as the world's top TV vendor until the company rolls out its premium TV sets with next-generation QD-OLED displays.
According to data from market researcher Omdia, Samsung led the global TV market with a share of 33.1 percent in the third quarter of 2020 in terms of sales revenue. LG was the runner-up with a market share of 16.6 percent.
"Samsung is hoping to increase the market share of its QLED TVs, which are much more cost-competitive than OLED TVs, via the integration of Mini LED backlights," TrendForce said in its recent report. "Samsung is targeting yearly shipments of more than two million Mini LED TVs next year in anticipation of high market demand."
For LG, its Mini LED TVs are expected to boost the company's premium TV sales considering that they will come with more affordable prices than its flagship OLED TV.
"With OLED at the pinnacle of LG's TV offerings with its self-lit pixels and independent dimming control, the arrival of LG's QNED Mini LED TVs offers a compelling option for consumers," LG said.
Industry observers said the Mini LED market is expected to grow sharply over the coming years. According to market tracker Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), sales of Mini LED TVs are expected to reach nearly 10 million units in 2022 and above 15 million units in 2024.