CES 2018: Samsung launches modular TV called The Wall

Samsung has announced a giant 146in (396cm) TV called The Wall at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.

The TV features a micro-LED display, which is pitched as a superior alternative to OLED because it offers both deep blacks and bright highlights. However, one analyst said they would likely be very expensive to manufacture. Samsung also says its modular technology will allow for TVs of customised sizes to be ordered. This is because the display is actually composed of many smaller modules that can be arranged to form unusual dimensions – one example that was squat and super-wide was briefly shown at the presentation.
‘Millions’ of LEDs. The micro-LED display, thanks to its self-emitting LEDs, should allow for a bright picture without the need for a backlight.

Backlights normally make it hard to produce deep blacks on screen because their illumination spills beyond the pixels they are targeted at. Sony tried to produce TVs made from the same basic technology back in 2012 but they proved too expensive to make en masse. Samsung’s decision to bet on micro-LED puts it in direct competition with rivals that have opted to go with OLED displays. Micro-LED screens are difficult to manufacture because the LEDs need to be individually placed onto a layer by machines, explained analyst Paul Gray at IHS Technology. He said:

You have millions for a single display. But maybe Samsung has made some breakthroughs on multiple placement at once.

Mr Gray added that, although Samsung was pitching the technology as a “consumer” product, it would likely only appear in very expensive devices. Samsung has not yet revealed details on pricing itself. Other options for giant TV displays have been shown off at CES this year. Hisense unveiled a 150in 4K TV projector system that can beam a picture onto its owner’s wall. The firm did not announce a price for the product, though a 100in version costs $10,000 (£7,300). And there were TVs with improved brains, too. Samsung promised that its next generation of smart TVs would be more intelligent than ever before, thanks to the inclusion of the firm’s voice-activated assistant Bixby.

Users can even ask Bixby to display the inside of their fridge on screen – if they have a compatible Samsung smart fridge with internal camera. AI assistants have cropped up several smart TV’s at CES this year, including Philips’ 7703 Series 24in Android TV, which comes perched on a Bluetooth speaker and is designed for kitchen worktops.