The Billion Dollar Race for a perfect display Technologies

The tech landscape witnesses a fierce race as major players invest billions to perfect display technologies. From vivid colors to seamless interfaces, the pursuit of the ideal visual experience is reshaping industries and captivating consumers in a relentless quest for excellence.
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Technologies are evolving like crabs. You might have heard of the concept of carcinization, where various animals independently evolve to look and behave like crabs. This suggests that in many places, the crab form is considered the perfect physique. We believe a similar process is happening with display technologies. LCDs, OLEDs, and micro-LEDs, the three most important display technologies currently, are all striving to evolve into the same final form, at least on the high end.
Despite starting as different technologies, they are converging towards a common goal.Let’s delve into how these display technologies work, their evolution over time, and the common future they are aiming for.

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Understanding LCD Technology

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) emerged as a dominant force in the mid-2000s, replacing bulky CRT monitors and TVs.

The basic working principle involves a backlight, polarizers, and a layer of liquid crystal. By manipulating the liquid crystal with an electric current, LCDs can control the passage of light, creating vibrant images.

However, LCDs faced challenges such as inefficient use of backlight and limitations in displaying true blacks.

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Recent advancements in LCD

Over time, LCD technology has undergone significant improvements to address its initial shortcomings. Two notable advancements are mini-LED displays and Quantum dots (discussed below).

Mini LED displays involve a grid of smaller LEDs, providing fine control over the backlight and enabling almost perfect blacks. Quantum dots, on the other hand, are special structures that enhance color reproduction by converting light into vibrant hues.

High-end LCDs now leverage these technologies, offering impressive color accuracy and brightness.

What are Quantum dots?

When you reduce the size of materials drastically, their properties change. And they change for the good (at least for uses in displays) .The word quantum actually means the smallest amount of something that can be involved in an interaction. As we reduce the size of transistors, it is eminent that we’ll hit the limitations of physics and from there our quest towards quantum realm will start.

Quantum dots or semiconductor nanocrystals are semiconductor particles a few nanometres in size with optical and electronic properties that differ from those of larger particles via quantum mechanical effects.

They are a central topic in nanotechnology and materials science. When a quantum dot is illuminated by UV light, an electron in the quantum dot can be excited to a state of higher energy. In the case of a semiconducting quantum dot, this process corresponds to the transition of an electron from the valence band to the conductance band.

The excited electron can drop back into the valence band releasing its energy as light. This light emission is illustrated in the figure on the right. The color of that light depends on the energy difference between the conductance band and the valence band.

Why are Quantum dots employed in displays?

Quantum dots are tiny particles used in certain types of displays, like TVs. They’re really small – so small that they behave differently from larger particles. This gives them some special properties.
One of these properties is that they can emit light. The color of the light depends on the size of the quantum dot. Smaller dots emit bluer light, and larger dots emit redder light.

This means we can control the color of light a quantum dot emits just by changing its size. This is great for displays, because it means we can produce very accurate colors.
Another advantage of quantum dots is that they’re very efficient at converting light.

This means that displays using quantum dots can be brighter than other types of displays.
Finally, quantum dots can produce a wide range of colors. This means that the images they produce can be more realistic and vibrant.

OLED Technology: Pioneering a New Frontier

Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) introduced a paradigm shift in display technology. Samsung’s AMOLED and LG’s W-OLED technologies revolutionized smaller and larger displays, respectively.

OLEDs offer individual pixel control, flexibility, and thinness, making them ideal for various applications. However, challenges such as burn-in and brightness limitations have historically been associated with OLEDs.

What is this organic and inorganic?

The table below shows the difference between organic LEDs (OLED) and Inorganic LEDs (MicroLED).

Innovations in OLED Technology

Figure – Lenses in OLED displays aid precise pixel color and arrangement.
Despite these challenges, OLED technology is witnessing remarkable advancements. Tandem OLEDs, slated for a 2024 launch, involve stacking two OLED layers, providing double the brightness at peak and quadrupling the lifespan.

LG Signature OLED T (CES 2024)- This TV combines LG’s rollable screen technology with a wireless connectivity box, resulting in a futuristic-looking TV. When not in use, the OLED T looks like a pane of glass, but when it’s time to watch something, a matte black panel pops up that covers the back of the screen

Samsung’s QD OLED TVs represent a fusion of OLED and Quantum dot technologies. By replacing color filters with Quantum dots, Samsung achieves brighter subpixels without the need for additional layers. This innovation enhances color vibrancy and brightness in OLED displays, overcoming historical limitations.

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Micro LEDs – The True Crab of Displays

Micro LED displays are made up of millions of actual separate physical LEDs, combining the advantages of OLEDs and LCDs. Despite the potential benefits, challenges such as manufacturing complexities, scalability, and cost remain.

What are MicroLEDs?

MicroLEDs, the tiny individual pixels in MicroLED displays, are made up of inorganic light-emitting diodes composed of Gallium nitride (GaN). Each pixel is composed of separate microscopic red, green, and blue diodes. These diodes can individually brighten or dim to create millions of different colors per pixel.

[CES 2024] Samsung’s Transparent MicroLED Display One of the most exciting innovations at CES 2024 was the introduction of transparent screens. Samsung unveiled the world’s first transparent MicroLED display.

The display looks like a transparent pane of glass with extremely small Micro LEDs embedded in them. This was achieved using a precision manufacturing process that eliminates seams and light refractions.

The display was significantly brighter and featured a completely frameless design and a more transparent glass panel that made it easier to see objects behind it. The content on this display almost looks like a hologram as it floats in mid-air.

The MicroLED panel’s high pixel density made the images look incredibly sharp. Because transparent MicroLED displays have higher brightness compared to transparent OLED panels, they are also less impacted by ambient light.

However, with Samsung’s current crop of non-transparent MicroLED TVs costing a hefty sum, it might be a while until these new displays become affordable

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The Race for the perfect display

The “billion-dollar race for the perfect display” refers to the intense competition among tech companies to develop and market the most advanced display technologies.
In recent years, several new display technologies have emerged, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, OLED displays can produce deep blacks and a high contrast ratio because each pixel is individually lit and can be completely turned off. However, they are expensive to produce and can suffer from burn-in over time.
On the other hand, MicroLED displays promise high brightness, excellent color accuracy, and longevity without the risk of burn-in. But they are currently very expensive and challenging to manufacture at small scales.

Perfect actually?

However, it’s important to note that the “perfect display” may mean different things to different people, as preferences can vary based on individual needs and use cases. For example, a graphic designer may prioritize color accuracy, while a movie enthusiast may care more about contrast ratio.

In essence, the billion-dollar race for the perfect display is all about pushing the boundaries of technology to deliver the best possible viewing experience and has a vast market potential.


The display technology landscape is experiencing a transformative journey, reminiscent of the evolutionary process observed in nature. LCDs, OLEDs, and Micro LEDs, initially distinct in their approaches, are converging towards a common goal of achieving the ultimate display form.

As innovations continue to unfold, the future promises displays that are bright, colorful, robust, and capable of pixel-level light control.

The race for true crab hood is far from over, and the semiconductor industry remains at the forefront of shaping the displays of tomorrow.

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