This isn’t the first time we’ve been able to experience Sony’s Crystal LED display, but each year the technology gets a bit more polished, leaving us wowed every time. Dubbed the CLEDIS (not to be confused with this Cletus), the display uses microLED technology, a refined version of the LEDs that power the vast majority of television and computer displays today. Aside from being way smaller, the main advantage that MicroLED has over LED is that it is a self-emissive.
Quick primer on current display technology. Your LED TV actually has two major components: the LCD, a translucent color matrix (think of it as a massive checkerboard with millions of tiny boxes that can change color and opacity), and a backlight that shines through that matrix to create the visible picture. The “LED” part of your LED TV is the backlight panel made up of a collection Light Emitting Diodes, which are small, but very bright, light sources. A high end TV might have 400 individual light zones in the backlight, which light up or go dark depending on the scene. An OLED TV, however, uses a matrix of Organic Light Emitting Diodes, which are self-emissive. That is, each individual OLED pixel can provide both color and light, so no backlight panel is needed. This is where most of a TV’s bulk comes from, so OLED TVs can be made much thinner. And because each individual pixel on an OLED TV can go completely dark or light—as opposed to the zone-lighting system in an LED TV, the contrast ratio is significantly higher. Dark parts of a scene look truly black, while light scenes are perfectly bright. OLED’s biggest drawbacks are a shorter lifespan (because the organic material decays) and potential for screen burn-in. MicroLED combines the best of both technologies, shrinking down traditional LEDs and making them self-emissive.
If that not-so-simple simple explanation didn’t make sense, the bottom line is that Sony’s CLEDIS displays will lead to ultrathin displays with a picture more brilliant than any Sony LED TV available today. And some other tricks, like modular construction, will allow users to seamlessly connect CLEDIS panels to each other to create the biggest, boldest displays of tomorrow.