Lee Biing-jye, chairman of Taiwan LED epitaxial wafer and chip maker Epistar reported that the company has produced a mini LED-backlit TV using 24 million mini LED chips to test the market response for fine pixel pitch indoor displays, according to a Digitimes article.
Lee pointed out that Epistar has become a contract manufacturer of laser epitaxial wafers for optical communication laser diodes. He also noted that Epistar has reconfigured its 5 x 6-inch MOCVD systems for producing VCSELs (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers), which the company will begin producing in second-quarter 2018. In addition to communications, VCSELs can be used in proximity and 3D sensors of smartphones as well as floodlights for smartphone cameras.
A 5-inch LED smartphone panel requires about 5000 mini LEDs for backlighting for a cost of about $10. So, along with other components a mini LED backlight module has a total cost of about $38-$45, according to LEE. However, an OLED smartphone panel costs about $75 total, making mini LED backlighting 40 to 50 percent cheaper, LEE indicated. LEE asserts that as long as mini LED-backlit smartphone panels are competitive compared to OLED in terms of display quality, contrast, and thickness, mini LED backlighting demand will quickly grow.