One of the biggest TV stories since 2021 has been the arrival of mini-LED technology on TVs. It's a type of LCD backlight that uses, you guessed it, smaller LEDs so more lights can fit in less space, creating ultra-slim TVs with stunning HDR. Although TCL introduced the technology before 2021, it really took off with Samsung offering the technology around the world in some of the best TVs of the year, and right now you can also find it in TVs from Sony, LG, Philips and Hisense.

The only problem ? It is not cheap. It requires more advanced manufacturing than regular LED TVs, which means high prices. There's been a lot of progress in the last year alone, with the price of Samsung's 2021 models (such as the Samsung QN90A) dropping massively since their launch, and it's been good to see Samsung's 2022 TV lineup launch at slightly lower prices. lower than those of 2021. equivalent in many cases. This is in stark contrast to the price of 2022 LG OLED TVs, including the LG C2, which is rising from last year's models.

But what we really hope is that mini-LEDs will become more common in mid-range TVs, and while that won't happen overnight, there are good signs that prices will come down further from manufacturers.

In addition to the general price cuts taking place in LCD manufacturing, a Digitimes report (opens in a new tab) indicates that there is fierce competition between different display manufacturers, and fierce competition generally means a drop in prices as different manufacturers try to undercut each other.

There are two factors in particular why Digitimes' ratings are causing big price drops in the Chinese market in particular, but both apply globally: Fewer people are buying TVs, which means companies are lowering prices to deal to attract people to buy; and falling TV sales mean more panels are being made than are actually in demand, so the selling price per panel falls.

Here's a handy rendering from TCL of just how small their mini LED lights are. (Photo credit: Samsung)

Analysis: Expect cheaper mini-LED TVs, but keep in mind there are two types of mini-LEDs

One thing that is important to note is that there are two types of mini-LEDs, one of which tends to provide superior image quality than the other and is also (unsurprisingly) more expensive. We're going to see a lot of cheaper mini-LED sets this year, and we're expecting mini-LED models like TCL to undercut Samsung's prices massively, even though they've both dropped a bit in price.

As Digitimes noted, cheaper TVs will generally use Package-on-Board (PoB) mini-LED technology, while more expensive models will use Chip-on-Board (CoB) mini-LEDs. The technical difference is not that essential to know (CoB has multiple LED units connected directly to a circuit board per lighting unit; PoB has individual LED units, each in its own small device housing, which are then connected to the circuit board), but the end result is quite different.

Mini-LED CoB displays can shape the angle of their light more efficiently than PoB displays, which means you'll get less light leakage from bright areas (where you want it) to dark areas (where you don't want it). . it's). That's why the likes of the Samsung QN900B take real OLED for impressive contrast and black levels. You're more likely to see "blooming" when the dark areas are next to the light areas on cheaper models.

Ultimately, people will buy any TV they can afford, and while the CoB technology used by Samsung and Sony is sure to produce superior results, PoB technology should still give us better picture quality than mid-priced LED TVs in the past, So we can't wait to see if mini-LED TVs can take over our list of the best TVs under $1000 and the best TVs under $1000 in 2022.

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