Sony finds a home for Crystal LED screens: virtual set backgrounds

Crystal LED displays are built up from modular panels, and can be used for virtual sets like those seen in 'The Mandalorian.'


The first time we saw Sony’s Crystal LED display in 2012, it looked amazing but still wasn’t on track to compete with OLED. Since then Sony has returned to CES with Crystal LED panels similar to Samsung’s MicroLEDs, advertising it as a way to build up wall-sized screens piece by piece, and execs have said they were committed to developing the displays for additional uses.

Now, for 2021 Sony seems to have found a perfect niche for the modular bezel-free tiles of Crystal LED — background screens of virtual sets like the ones used in production of The Mandalorian.

Its professional display arm unveiled two versions of the screens, a C- and B- series, that are turned for either 1,000,000:1 high contrast or high brightness, respectively. The 1,800 cd/m2-capable B-series was developed with Sony Pictures specifically for use as a studio backdrop without showing reflections, while the C-Series is more for installation in lobbies or showrooms. They use the same processing as Sony’s TVs, with the ability to handle HDR, 120 fps and 3D video sources.

There’s no word on pricing, but a massive 4K display Sony brought to CES to play PS4 games on in 2019 would’ve cost about $800k. Still, finding more uses for the technology, which uses ultrafine LED elements mounted to each color for practically unmatched contrast, could make it slightly more realistic for installation in a home theater setup.