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The Wall, a modular microLED display (samsung.com)
129 points by ecesena 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 106 comments

This is one of those "oh my gosh" technologies that you put in the lobby of your venture capital firm or hedge fund to just calibrate the level of money the client should be expected to have/invest.

That said, AFAICT microleds are the only technology that really lets you tile them. So you can build a 4K UHD display that is basically a bit smaller shorter than 8 feet (2.5 meters). But at 31 PPI it isn't great up up close. (not bad obviously but not stunning). Once it crosses 72 PPI that is when the world gets really interesting. For me.

Interesting numbers.. If I recall correctly, 72 PPI is the minimum recommended pixel density for digital prints, so the final result looks smooth and not "pixely".

In the specs for The Wall microLED display, they mention a pixel pitch of 0.84mm. A quick conversion (1 inch = 25.4mm) tells me that's roughly 30 pixels per inch - oh, right, that's what you meant by 31 PPI, you already calculated it. :)

Still, it's an attractive product, and I can imagine many use cases. Looks like the price range is $17~22K, for 9.6m x 5.4m dimension.

To extend the thought, 72 DPI has been the minimum recommended density for working at a desktop. For closer materials like magazines or photos, it was I think 300 DPI, since you might get closer. It's one of the reasons mobile screens got more dense, so that when you hold it 30 cm from your face things still look smooth.

So... if your average viewer will be farther away from this wall than a desktop user, the DPI can go down and still be attractive.

Edit: the not-science-backed chart here seems to track http://resources.printhandbook.com/pages/viewing-distance-dp...

At 300PPI, the cost of powering (electricity, CPU and GPU) a large feature wall might actually exceed the cost of the wall itself.

Ahh comparison pics of two different displays being shown on my display. My favorite kind of "wait, that makes no sense whatsoever" marketing.

No matter what particular bit of new display tech they're advertising it's always the following too:

Image with undersaturated colors | Image with oversaturated colors

This was pointed out in an advertisement for a tv back in the 1980s. Think Harry Anderson was the pitchman for the ad. At the end he said "I'll show you this amazing new tv but remember, you're seeing it on your screen". Haven't seen any other video display ad since make that point.

Edit: found the commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PMG2lyGRcQ&feature=emb_titl...)

Sharp had ads for Quattron on their Aquos TVs that pointed out that you couldn’t see all the amazing colors. It had/has an extra yellow subpixel on the screen.


One of the reasons I hope they justify doctoring product shots (I mean really, the video includes a lot of pre-rendered models post-processed with heavily tweaked video)

The splash of dust transitions used in the product video seem pathological to YouTube's MPEG compression. The compression renders the transitions a blurry mess—it's so messy as to be jarring. That's disappointing in a video that is attempting to sell the viewer on the clarity of a new display technology.

Yeah, this is an inherent problem with marketing nice screens through bad screens.

More like bad bitrate/codec.

haha yeah, I was thinking that on the slidable images of 'conventional led' vs 'the wall'.

I'm on a conventional led, how can I actually see what the wall version is like?

Point being it would be better for them to go to Vimeo, or host high-bitrate copies themselves

Without giving away too many details, I worked on a project that involved the first installation of this in the UK last year. It's so good in person - you'd expect so for the price - but the early unit we worked with was incredibly unreliable. Hopefully they've managed to iron out the (apparently heat-related) issues by now.

I've seen this in person in London, and it's very warm. You can feel the heat coming off it from several metres away. Not sure if that is still causing problems or not.

We already seen this in last year's CES 2018 [1]. So what exactly is new here? Were there any technical improvement? Or was it the same thing someone decide to post it?

[1] https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/1/7/16861790/sa...

For people like me who only open the comment section; "the wall" is a new display technology by Samsung that apparently allows you to easily tile them together

Those side-by-side comparisons halfway down remind me of when you used to get ads demonstrating how much better DVDs were than VHS ... on the VHS tape you just rented.

Not only that but I preferred the "LED" examples in most the pictures, the right hand side just looked oversaturated.

This is cool. Add it to the ever growing list of impractical and expensive things that I want to own in spite of it. Historically speaking this sort of reminds me of the wall of sound: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_of_Sound Totally different and way more put together but the scale evokes a similar sensation.

If anyone is close enough to get to the Stanford Campus near the end of Spring quarter, I strongly going to CCRMA’s annual two-night concert series in the Bing Studio. They assemble their GRAIL around the audience, with members of CCRMA (and visitors) performing.



I really liked the individualism of the audio spotlight [0] but I have never seen one in use yet.

[0] https://www.holosonics.com/

I have experienced it at several Best Buy stores in the video games section to advertise the various Call of Duty games over the past several years. You can only barely hear it unless you are standing directly in front of the panel.

The small visitor center at the Amazon Spheres in Seattle has a whole bunch of them.

So what's new about this? It's been in the market for a while at around $20k per tile iirc.

On the other side doesn't Sony, Barco, Christie and a few other signage companies have something similar to it?

There doesn't seem to be much new, modular LED video walls are already available and used in the music and show industry:


They're made to be quickly set up and torn down, hanging from cables or lighting supports. Perhaps this version by Samsung is easier to configure in odd shapes? I've seen a music show (Jon Anderson) where he had multiple vertical panels with large gaps in-between (several feet) and the panels all showed parts of the same video as though it was one display, with gaps in the image where the physical gaps were. So there is some configurability in existing modular LED walls too.

If you search on eBay you'll find the panels listed by the pixel spacing, P2, P3, P4, P6 where the number is the number of millimeters spacing.


You can buy a 10ft x 5ft, P3, 18 panel system for around $10,000 complete except for the laptop to run it. Various show control software has the ability to map video or graphics to pixels on the panels (VDMX, GrandVJ, MadMapper, QLab, etc.)

This one is 0.8mm pixel pitch (e.g. P0.8 I suppose), and they claim lower reflectance of the black background (i.e. higher daylight dynamic range) and bigger colour range.

Brand new TVs have a tiny bezel on three or sometimes four sides, but it's still a bezel.

I dunno about Sony, but the Sharp and Philips models I could find had thin bezels too. When you tile displays, you have two bezels touching, so the black line is at least twice as wide.

Zero bezel on 4 sides also seems to be noteworthy, because it removes some ways in which one could 'cheat'. For example the new iPhone. From what I understand the bezel on the sides and top could be zero instead of just really really narrow, but the bottom edge has the display electronics attached. To keep from having a big bezel at the bottom of the phone they folded the screen over, so the electronics sit behind the display instead of below. I'm not sure that allows true edge-to-edge display, so Samsung would have had to do some other trick instead of feeding signal in from the edges.

A wall display that can be tiled on three edges still allows for quite a big bigger displays (especially in situations where long linear ones are good, like balconies or the barriers in MLS fields), but not quite like this one.

I don't follow your logic. What makes you think Samsung is applying consumer-grade smartphone design/cost-optimization hardware hacks to modules targeting a completely different market segment, let alone form factor?

I’m saying those won’t work for their design. But that hack exists on what many would deem a luxury good.

But the wall is not designed to be a TV but for digital signage. Even that page is inside their business side. I'm not sure while they keep trying to market to consumers. With those prices clearly it doesn't even make sense.

IIRC Sony has Crystal led (which is just a brand for their micro led), and other companies have a sub 1mm pitch led walls which should be pretty similar.

For a more "classical" solution there are LCD's with hairline bezels like Barco Unisee's, but again even those are far from consumer prices.

I know of a few people who have purchased "The Wall" for home installations. Never underestimate oil money.

My understanding is MicroLED offers the best of both worlds of OLED and LCD. Each pixel can be turned off entirely like OLED (so perfect blacks) and since there are three individual LEDs per pixel (RGB) you don't need any filters to get the desired colour so the brightness is much better than OLED.

They should just call it "Wall" /seanparker

I never though that Samsung will jump on microled bandwagon.

Samsung for long been trying to make LEDs in-situ on backplane, and they had samples in labs at least 5 years ago.

In the next generation's version of "Woody Woodpecker" Coyote will use these instead of fake tunnels painted on the walls.

I beg your pardon, ITYM "Road Runner".

:facepalm: you are correct

So you can combine 4 modules to make a 72" 1080p display. Regardless of cost, this currently seems a bit impractical for home use.

I'm currently rocking a 125" screen with a 1080p projector. I'd love 1440p with super dark black.

Anyone care to make an educated guess how much this thing costs? Is an 8'x10' display going to be six figures, or seven?

Currently, Samsung is offering two models of The Wall, or rather the individual panels that make up The Wall, the IW008J and the IW008R. While Samsung doesn't list prices for these panels online, other resellers are listing the modules for $16 to $23 thousand dollars each.

These individual modules measure 31.75 x 17.86 inches, but have an individual resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. In order to enjoy the same 3840 x 2160 resolution you'll get on a standard 4K TV, you'll need to buy 16 of these panels, to set up in a 4 x 4 configuration that measures 146 inches diagonally.


I'm more interested in what it's going to cost in 5 years.

Anyone with experience with these types of panels know whether the proposed seamless edges are actually possible? I'm a bit skeptical that manufacturing tolerances are tight enough to create a seamless edge from independent panels but I don't know enough to call bs.

In LCD or OLED displays, most of the display area emits light. There are black lines between the pixels, but they are thin, so it's hard to hide a seam in one. In contrast, the micro LEDs on this display are very small relative to the distance between them, "micrometer scale" vs. almost a millimeter. Most of the display area is actually a blank black surface, where a seam can be hidden.

Making smaller displays this way will be a challenge as the pixels will have to get closer together.

Here is their demonstration with sliding panels together:


You can see a little line on certain images (for example at 0:20) but maybe it's caused by the sliding mechanism, because there is no line on the left side assuming they are put together from two square panels same as the sliding one.

Sony displayed something similar at CES a couple of years ago. Didn't notice it until I stood very close. https://pro.sony/en_MK/products/led-video-walls

Yes they are. I have worked with one of these and it looks incredible in person. The edges are seamless (but incredibly fragile).

English is not my first language but even I can spot some rough edges in the copy. Probably translated by a non-native, and they read like AliExpress’ product pages: trying to be inspiring but in reality just confusing.

Someone loves the word "Great" in their marketing department.

No joke. Good example how to not write marketing copy for a landing page. This is from the linked page:

- Behind the greatness of microLED display technology

- View the greatness

- Great black

- Great color

- Great refinement

- Build the greatness

- Great design

- Great modularity

- Great look

- Handle the greatness

- Great performance

- ... see the greatness of microLED display technology up close

Hint for people writing landing pages: try to not use the same word over and over again. Something like thesaurus.com can help you find alternatives, but make sure you understand the replacement word and that it sounds natural.

> Hint for people writing landing pages: [...] Something like thesaurus.com can help you find alternatives [...]

Guess the next ad campaign will read like this:

- Behind the prodigiousness of microLED display technology

- View the amplitude

- Stupendous black

- Humongous color

- Titanic refinement

... you get the point.

Yeah at least it's not the newest product we have ever built

I’d have hoped for HN there’d be an article focusing more on technology, and not just a marketing site. That said, does anyone know how this compares to LG’s OLED tech?

LED walls aka jumbotrons have been around for years and it's not particularly clear what's new here other than the consumer branding. LED walls appear to be far more expensive than OLED but it's hard to compare given that there's no overlap in size.

> it's not particularly clear what's new here other than the consumer branding

Pixel density

Any idea on the estimated price per panel?

On SHI, it's listed at $16,779.00 (per unit?) https://www.shi.com/products/productdetail.aspx?SHISystemID=...

A power draw of 130w per module(incl. cabinet) will give you a nice usage of 2kW in the standard configuration.

With pixels sized at about a millimeter, maybe it should be called a "milliLED" display.

The catch is that the pixel is mostly black and the LEDs take up a small fraction of it. One might say a microscopic fraction.

I think the comparison screenshots are hilariously dumb given that most people are going to be viewing them on a normal lcd screen. How did they magically make my screen display previously impossible colors!

It's explained right there: "The Wall’s microLED technology possesses inherent color qualities with two times superior color purity ".

2x superior color purity is no mean feat. Such advanced technology can transcend beyond the boundaries set by your paltry screen.

How much power does this consume? Can it be battery powered? I wish there was a requirement for ads to list all the bill of materials they used and links to specifications.

190W/module max. 130W/module typical.

Full specs are there. Click on "See all specifications" near the bottom just above the form.

Parlor walls.

Any guesses as to consumer pricing on this?

I guess the Fahrenheit 451 references are inevitable, so why not embrace the naming? :b

Samsung doesn't need any more references to fire in the public consciousness right now.

As soon as I saw it, I couldn't think of anything else...

We don't need no illumination.

We don't need no bright control

We don't need no remote control

No dark LED in the clean room

Samsung leave TVs alone

How are you going to have your shows if we don’t eat your data!

brb3 15 days ago [flagged]

A marketing page at the number one spot on Hacker News, and only 35 minutes old. Hmm.

How is this any different than what happens after every Apple product launch?

Well for starters a lot of HN users actually use the products Apple launches.

And a lot of those product launches have Samsung displays in them .

Samsung is one of the largest (the largest?) display manufacturers in the world that makes, among other things, displays for Apple.

Every television in my house is a Samsung and all of my Android phones are too.

I have no hesitation in saying that you will never own, nor be in the market for this product.

Even in cases where that might be true - would you still allow me the enjoyment of reading about it?

Gee golly, I mean I don't live anywhere near The Boring Company tunnel projects but I still like reading about those...

What's your problem?

I'm on a Samsung device right now you dullard.

Is the difference that Apple product launches are (not exclusively) intended for consumers whereas the Wall is aimed almost exclusively at large business's lobbies?

... and for luxury living. Luxury car launches are covered on the hn frontpage as well, e.g. that weird car whose windows Elon broke... probably increasing its value in the process.

The website shows two uses "for business" and "for luxury living". So it is intended for home!

Two wrongs don't make a right.

What's "wrong" about this? No one has provided any evidence of manipulation other than speculation. Maybe people are interested in Samsung's display technology?

I don't know how to provide evidence of manipulation as an outside observer. I was pointing out that it does seem strange. But maybe this is the course of HN nowadays.

Agreed, sorry -- I was commenting on the logic of the argument rather than the apparent facts of the situation.

This site has a bay area bias.

Please don't break the site guidelines by insinuating astroturfing or shillage and whatnot. It's nearly always just imagination, and it poisons discussion here.



So? It's a cool product, it's tech related and potentially useful to a decent amount of people.

Why is this flagged? It seems like a very legitimate thought. And now this post is at #63 (on page 3).

Turns out, you can't mention that things might be astroturfing on HN because that's against the rules. So _pointing out_ something fishy is against the rules here. That seems very strange to me.

"In comments... Please don't post insinuations about astroturfing, shilling, brigading, foreign agents and the like. It degrades discussion and is usually mistaken. If you're worried about abuse, email us and we'll look at the data. "

It's not that you can't make a post discussing astroturfing on HN or that you can't point out astroturfing to someone that can actually do something about it it's that you aren't supposed to just respond to an article that you think it's astroturfing as that helps nobody even if it is or isn't actually astroturfing.

I can't wait for micro LED displays to become mainstream.

IMHO OLED displays are analogous to Plasma displays back in the day: A new tech that enabled many new form factors (Thinner TVs) but had many key drawbacks like power consumption and burn-in. The same is the case with OLED, which enables new form factors like foldable displays, but brings its own issues.

I've been actively avoiding OLED displays for all my purchases due to its major current drawback: Burn-in. As beautiful as OLED displays may be with color and contrast, I have seen plenty of TV displays and phones with a permanently burned-in image of something that remained static for too long such as network logos, and status bars. My previous employer used beautiful 80" Samsung displays for their conference rooms, all of which were ruined in little over a year.

This matters a lot to me because I use my TV for gaming, which involves static menus that will burn OLED displays if you're not careful.

This is not something current LED displays are prone to, and I'm hoping micro LED displays work the same way.

Samsung doesn’t make OLED displays. They would be QLED which is LED with quantum dots on the backlights for a truer white and better colors. LG and Sony have OLEDS. There are also no 80” OLEDS on the market. I think 77” is the largest and they are extremely pricey. You also never seen them in conference rooms since they don’t do well in bright areas unlike high end LEDs that have higher lumens

> This is not something current LED displays are prone to,

I will disappoint you. LED displays have burn ins too! And with pixel sizes approaching that of OLED, burn ins will start sooner, and be more visible.

Samsung will not go for microled for consumer market until it gets "led on the backplane" going. That eliminates the transfer process, and most of cost associated with it.

The unsolved issue is current transfer. If you grow LED in-situ, you have to somehow put power supply there too, and preferably do it in the same manufacturing process.

If you have to transfer LEDs mechanically, it makes little cost difference to put LED driver ICs there mechanically too.

You're right that LED isn't immune from burn-in, however, it is much more resistant to it, and isn't necessarily permanent either. Leaving an LED display off for a few days, often less, can be enough to bring it back to normal.

Another artifact OLED displays have is their PenTile subpixel arrangement to compensate for the red, blue, and green organic compounds degrading at different rates. Hopefully micro LED brings us OLED quality with LCD reliability.

The smaller is the junction area, the more current goes through it. If you want to produce more photons with smaller area, you will inevitably run into that.

Those LED displays you can get in retail are nowhere close in die size to what microled is. Those conventional 1080P led displays with <1mm pitch already demonstrate very visible burnins. There is one in a hotel nearby that is only 4 moths old, and I can already distinguish an imprint from the brand logo, they seem to have unknowingly ran it on maximum brightness though.

> Those LED displays you can get in retail

Do you mean the LCD displays with LED backlights; that's what I've seen in retail, marketed as "LED TV"? Are you seeing burnin of the LEDs, or image retention on the LCD? LED burn in might look more like noticeably different white levels across the different local dimming areas, especially if it gets worse over time related to static brightness differences in the displayed image.

I mean commercial small pitch LED panels made of modules, like ones used for outdoor advertising, but much smaller.

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