MicroLED: Brighter & More Efficient?

When Planar launched our first MicroLED Planar® DirectLight® Ultra™ Series video wall models, many people’s eyebrows were raised. Not only did it offer our finest pixel pitch to date—0.6mm between the center of adjacent pixels—but it was the first truly mass-produced MicroLED video wall with immediate availability. The new premier product line featured some other technical advancements of interest, like proprietary self-adjusting alignment technology to keep video walls seamless, but the most fascinating elements for many people were certain specifications that stood out as peculiar. In particular, Planar DirectLight Ultra Series’ MicroLEDs deliver significantly higher maximum brightness and do so with greater energy efficiency.

Here’s an example. The 0.9mm pixel pitch model of the Planar® DirectLight® X Series, our previous-generation flagship LED line, used standard-size LEDs. These video walls deliver 800-nit maximum brightness and use 140 watts (max) for each 27” display cabinet to deliver that brightness. Contrast that with the 0.9mm pixel pitch model of the Planar DirectLight Ultra Series, which uses MicroLEDs. The Planar DirectLight Ultra Series also uses 140 watts (max) per 27” cabinet, but delivers 1,600-nit brightness. Double the brightness: same power output! Plus, if an organization doesn’t need to use all that 1,600-nit max brightness for its application and instead sets the video wall at 800 nits, they use much less energy.

How it Compares
Planar LED experts looked at a lot of internal and competitive data and found that across the Planar LED portfolio and the product lineups of other manufacturers, the MicroLED Planar DirectLight Ultra Series delivers the most nits of brightness per watt used, per meter squared. This can get a bit in the weeds, but the per square meter matters because not all LED video wall cabinets have the same physical dimensions, which means directly comparing brightness and power consumption specifications can be misleading.

Going back to our 0.9mm model example, the Planar DLX-0.9 delivers 1.16 nits/watt/m2 while the Planar DLU-0.9 delivers a whopping 2.31 nits/watt/m2. From a competitive perspective recent data from the 0.9mm-class model of another prominent LED video manufacturer shows only 0.96 nits/watt/m2 and it only offers 500-nit continuous max brightness. So, while it’s decently efficient, it’s not nearly as bright (see figure 1). In fact, you have to go all the way up to 1.68mm pixel pitch for a competitive product model that reaches similar nits/watts/m2 and it’s still darker at 1,000 nits continuous max brightness. These models aren’t anomalies either; nearly all the non-MicroLED video walls we looked at offered between 500 and 1,000 nits and still had lower efficiency.

Planar is committed to the advancement and education around MicroLED, and as we continue to discover exciting benefits and advantages for this leading-edge technology, such as its proclivity for lower power usage and more vibrant content, we’ll share them so we will agree, MicroLED is the future.