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Year of the mini-LED TV: Samsung, LG and TCL getting this huge upgrade

One of the biggest advancements in TV design to come to the forefront during CES 2021 is mini-LED, the extra-tiny light-emitting diodes used in the backlights of some of the latest and greatest smart TVs. 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the mini-LED TV, as Samsung and LG join TCL in using mini-LED backlight technology to make TVs better than ever.

Here’s our quick overview of which TVs will feature mini-LED in 2021, why mini-LED is such an improvement over traditional LCD sets, and why this mundane sounding technology is one of the most exciting developments for TV shoppers in years.

Basics of Mini-LED

Mini-LED may seem like a relatively small change, but the technology offers real improvements to LCD-based TVs. Illumination and brightness is a key factor in making a great TV picture. Along with color and contrast, brightness makes a huge difference in how well a TV can display an image. You can get a more detailed explanation of mini-LED technology in our guide Micro-LED vs. Mini-LED: What’s the difference?, but these are the broad strokes.

(Image credit: TCL)

As TVs have evolved over the decades, the technology used to put moving pictures in our homes has changed dramatically. Though older cathode ray tube and plasma technologies and current OLED TVs are self-immissive (producing their own light), since the move to LCD panels, the majority of TVs on the market have required a separate backlight as part of the TV display. That once meant fluorescent lighting, but modern TVs use smaller, more efficient LED backlights.

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