Samsung is betting big on tiny LEDs for its 2021 TV lineup

Mini LED and Micro LED are coming to Samsung’s new display lineup.

Samsung TV game bar mode
The Game Bar provides data about your gaming performance. Samsung

The all-digital 2021 CES is getting underway and Samsung got an early start by showing off some of its new TV tech for the upcoming year during a preview event earlier this week. Here’s a quick look at what Samsung has up its sleeve when it comes to TVs this year.

Neo QLED

Samsung's new neo QLED TV
The Neo QLED has an extremely small bezel. Samsung

The new Samsung flagship TV line is called the Neo QLED and it relies on quantum mini LEDs to provide its backlight. Each diode is smaller than a grain of sand, which makes them roughly one fortieth the size of the previous LEDs.

Like with typical OLED displays, each diode provides its own light and can turn off completely when it’s not in use, which leads to darker black levels and improved perceived contrast. Light focusing tech on top of the diodes helps prevent a phenomenon called blooming, in which light from bright pixels leaks into surrounding dark areas to create ugly halos around objects on-screen.

A woman doing yoga in front of a samsung TV.
The TV can observe your workouts and critique your form with AI. Samsung

In addition to the picture quality updates, the Neo QLED TVs include gaming specific features, including support for super-wide aspect ratios and the ability to move the picture up or down on the screen when it’s showing up in letterbox. The Game Bar mode displays gaming-specific information like fps so you can tell when you’re starting to drop frames.

The new Health Smart Trainer uses the TV’s built-in camera to observe and analyze your form during workouts to give you helpful feedback. It’s similar to other workout platforms like Mirror. The camera also allows for native video calling. Because it can pan and zoom, it can track a person as they move around the room like Facebook’s Portal devices.

Micro LED

Giant samsung micro led TV in a fancy house
The 110-inch Micro LED display has 24 million LEDs. Samsung

Samsung has been showing off some form of its Micro LED TVs for years now, starting in 2018 with the Wall. The tech involves interlocking LED panels that can fit together to create screens of different sizes and shapes. The company is now selling a 110-inch version of the Micro LED TV, which packs 24 million individual diodes onto the panel.

Because Samsung uses synthetic LEDs instead of organic ones, the company claims they will last much longer before starting to degrade and lose their brightness. Synthetic LEDs will perform for roughly 100,000 hours before starting to decline in performance.

Solar Cell Remote Control

Samsung's solar-charging remote
The solar panel on the back of the remote keeps it charged. Samsung

In addition to the new TVs, Samsung is introducing a new remote that replaces disposable batteries with a rechargeable cell inside. It charges from ambient light and the cell should last roughly seven years, which Samsung claims is the typical life span of a TV.

Stan Horaczek
Stan Horaczek

is the senior gear editor at Popular Science and Popular Photography. His past bylines include Rolling Stone, Engadget, Men's Journal, GQ, and just about any other publication that has ever written about gadgets. For a short time, he even wrote the gadget page for Every Day With Rachel Ray magazine. He collects vintage cameras, eats pizza, and hopes you won't go looking at his Tweets even though the link is down there.