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Why Every Pro AV Manufacturer Needs to Know about the $50 Billion MicroLED Opportunity

MicroLED is tipped to become the dominant display technology for professional AV solutions, outperforming competing technologies such as LCD, OLED, LED and Mini LED in the mid-to-long term. That’s according to market research and consulting firm Futuresource Consulting, who have delivered over 25 years of strategic advice to clients on all aspects of the Professional Displays sector. Futuresource’s brand new MicroLED market report predicts that more than 60 companies will invest around $10 billion between them over the next few years, creating a $50 billion + cumulative marketing opportunity over the next decade.

The report explores in detail the disruptive potential of MicroLED, which is primarily due to its small chiplet size - the individual red, green and blue sub-pixels which are between just 0.02mm and 0.1mm wide. That allows for a pixel pitch of sub < 1mm, making it the perfect solution for a wide range of professional AV requirements. Delivering flawless blacks, an excellent colour gamut and near-perfect off-angle viewing, MicroLED is a superior alternative to OLED. Its position is strengthened by a higher brightness potential, ultra-thin profile, greater stability and immunity from screen burn.

A Wide Range of Pro AV Opportunities

“Control rooms, presentation displays, brand enablement, broadcast, and architectural applications are all ideal environments for MicroLED,” explains Chris McIntyre-Brown, Director at Futuresource Consulting. “The narrow pixel pitches enabled by MicroLED make close-up viewing increasingly viable. This opens up collaboration usage models that just aren’t possible today with SMD LED.”

“The presentation market is also beginning to experience the advent of all-in-one displays, which are generally considered the future of the industry,” continues McIntyre-Brown. “All-in-ones simplify the design process and can be sold through distribution channels. They are fast, easy to install, and integrate several components into a single form factor.”

Futuresource’s latest research demonstrates how MicroLED manufacturers can harness the available space between pixels, offering a range of added functions and monopolising the all-in-one beachhead. Cameras and microphones can be integrated directly into the MicroLED screen to facilitate advanced video conferencing capabilities, as well as interactivity through motion or touch. A porous display could enable highly integrated speaker arrays and new audio usages. Furthermore, from an aesthetic perspective, all this value-add technology can be incorporated into an ultra-thin, ultra-lightweight advance form factor.

A Complex Road Ahead for MicroLED

However, there are a number of critical steps that need to be perfected before MicroLED can be integrated into professional AV at a price that’s acceptable to the market. From highly complex epitaxial growth – the process of growing a thin crystalline layer on a substrate – to chiplet cutting, epiwafer and module board production, as well as TFT backplane manufacturing innovation, the challenges are many.

What’s more, the system design needs to consider modularisation, serviceability, inspection and repair, as well as the mechanical design to obtain the coveted seamless pixel-perfect quality standard.

Ecosystem Clusters are the Key to MicroLED

Due to the high barriers to entry, Futuresource believes there will only be a maximum of seven companies that will have control over this disruptive technology. They will develop their own supply chains for system level components, creating ecosystem clusters that bring together the nine specialist manufacturing and process requirements of MicroLED.

The latest research reveals that Samsung, Leyard and Foxconn stand out as the MicroLED leaders to date. They have the most comprehensive ecosystem clusters and Futuresource expects them to be early entrants into the market. Other global professional AV and CE market leaders, including Apple, BOE, LG and Sony are also pursuing the opportunity.

A Changing Global Landscape, Moving Away from Chinese Dominance

“Although there is much to be done to make MicroLED a mainstream pro AV reality, the industry is already moving in the right direction and gaining some momentum,” says McIntyre-Brown. “The technology also presents an open door for new players with semiconductor technology and manufacturing expertise, carving out enviable positions within the ecosystem clusters.”

In addition, while display tech has previously been a Chinese-dominated industry, only around 10% of the key MicroLED players are based in China. As the game plays out, Futuresource predict that this could unseat Chinese LED display market leadership, leaving other brands free to carve out lucrative market advantages.

To find out more about Futuresource Consulting’s brand new global MicroLED display market report, alongside its companion report focusing on the global LED display market, please contact matthew.ledgerwood@futuresource-hq.com

 About Futuresource

Futuresource Consulting is a market research and consulting company, providing its clients with expertise in Professional AV, Consumer Electronics, Education Technology, Content & Entertainment, Professional Broadcast and Automotive. Combining strong methodologies and unsurpassed data refinement with in-depth market knowledge and forecasting, Futuresource deliver the latest insights and technological developments to drive business decision-making. 

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Ted Romanowitz

About the author

Ted Romanowitz

Ted Romanowitz is a visionary product leader spearheading industry transitions in the Semiconductor, Consumer Electronics, Networking and Professional Audio Visual industries.  He held increasingly responsible marketing roles at Intel Corporation over his twelve year tenure, helping drive the highly successful Centrino Mobile Technology launch and Gigabit Ethernet market transition as well as owning the global consumer processor and chipset roadmap.  

Romanowitz begin in the Pro AV industry in the 1990s expanding the Vivatek brand for Delta Products and has spent the past decade focused on LED product management with Industry leaders Leyard/Planar and Christie Digital Systems. Currently an independent Consultant and Contributing Assistant Professor at Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Ted lectures, writes and consults in the areas of new product planning, go-to-market strategy, product and sales management.  

In August 2021, he co-authored a comprehensive industry report on MicroLED display technology focused on the Pro AV and Consumer Electronics industries.  

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