what advantages they offer over traditional LCDs and what you should look for when buying one

The screens LCD-miniLED have been with us for several years with two generations of TCL smart TV in the market, although it is still a somewhat unknown technology among the general public, perhaps because it is a new evolution of LCD that has not yet shown its full potential. This situation could give a radical change in 2021 since some of the main brands in the sector have announced the arrival of this type of television in their catalog.

It is for example the case of LG, of Samsung or TCL itself with its third generation by 2021, manufacturers that will open the door to the landing of the miniLED technology in mid-range televisions and monitors. But, what does this technology really consist of? Is it an improvement over the current LCD-LED, OLED, QLED? What advantages does it bring and what do we have to look at when buying one of these televisions?

LCD-miniLED, the logical evolution of LCD-LEDs

To begin to understand what advantages miniLED gives us, you must first know What is and what is not really this technology that can be considered a logical evolution of the already classic display systems LCD-LED that many of us have at home.

LCD-miniLED It is nothing more than a variant of the classic LCD-LEDs in which the LEDs used to emit light from the rear or side of the panel have been replaced by smaller new generation ones with dimensions of between 100 and 200 microns, which allows incorporating a greater quantity for each square centimeter and obtaining a more uniform distribution.

MiniLEDs emit light in a single color and require a series of subsequent layers to filter this light to produce the primary colors.

We must not confuse them with technology microLED, composed of much smaller diodes, autoemisivos like OLED but manufactured with non-organic compounds and capable of generating the RGB basic colors (red, green and blue) with which the image is formed on the screen directly. MiniLEDs emit light in a single color (usually white or blue) and need a series of subsequent layers (for example from quantum dots) that filter this light to produce the primary colors.

Miniled

In other words, miniLED is a direct evolution of the current LED lighting behind an LCD panel but it still needs the rest of the layers of this type of screen and it is not self-emitting as it happens with microLED televisions, so it continues to have a residual light that worsens the quality of blacks and dark areas, although as we will see below to a lesser extent than current LCD technologies.

Main advantages

The reduction in size in the lighting system of televisions brings direct benefits for manufacturers and users, such as a less space occupied in the devices that mount them and therefore smaller thicknesses of the screens than with respect to conventional LCD models, despite considerably increasing the number of diodes going from hundreds to tens of thousands. But above all it gives the option to integrate systems more complex and efficient local management of light emission.

Miniled

Or what is the same, a matriz FALD (Full-Array Local Dimming) with more control zones whose brightness can be varied to offer a better contrast and reduce annoying grayish and bluish halos around bright images on dark backgrounds typical of LCD-LED TVs.

With miniLED we can go from the usual FALD matrices of tens or hundreds of control zones to thousands. For example, the latest LG models they boast to count on up to 2,500 control zones over a total of 30,000 miniLEDs, thus obtaining more blacks deep and contrasted in the whole image.

It also achieves a greater dispersion and uniformity of backlighting especially the panel, since the light sources (the miniLED diodes) are closer together and better distributed, which results in a theoretically superior image quality with less problems of banding and darkened corners.

halos Typical halos on dark backgrounds of an LCD-LED panel with FALD

Another advantage is given by the light power they are capable of offering. Having more points of light in each area allows to achieve higher light peaks and as a consequence we have televisions with a greater amount of brightness that far exceed 1,500 nits without increasing electricity consumption, since the new generation of miniLEDs are more efficient. In fact, by having more control zones it is possible reduce total electricity consumption by being able to totally or partially turn off more areas of the screen when necessary.

Aspects to watch out for before choosing tele miniLED

As we have seen, the advantages of miniLED are multiple, but that a TV has this technology does not mean that we have all of them directly. For this reason we must first look at the miniLED number used, a figure that some manufacturers proudly display and others seem to hide or at least not make public a priori. The more miniLEDs we have on the TV, the greater the uniformity of the image and potentially achieve a better level of brightness especially in HDR modes.

That a TV has miniLED lighting does not mean that we have directly all the theoretical improvements of the technology

And logically as a direct corollary of the previous paragraph we must check how many real FALD zones does the TV offer. The more the number of light control zones, the better dynamic contrast it will offer and less halos or blooming in the image. Thus, we will not have the same result with a TV that implements 100 FALD zones as another that has 2,000. Both can be miniLED but the image quality will be very different.

Miniled

It is also necessary to verify that the incorporation of this greater quantity of LEDs and zones does not influence the overall response time panel. Having to manage more FALD zones requires more complex algorithms that in turn require more powerful processors and if the TV does not include them we can have a retardo o input lag highest.

It is a factor that we may not notice when viewing video content, but it can be essential if we want TV to play video games. Hence, if we are regular players, it is advisable to look at the specifications or specialized analysis of the model that we like response times. below 20-25 ms.

Finally, we must make sure that the type of panel that the TVs incorporate adapts to our needs. MiniLED technology refers only to the light generation system back of the screen, but in front of this light we still have the classic IPS or VA panels, each with their advantages disadvantages and specific uses. Hence, not all miniLED TVs may be suitable for us.


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