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Sony Delays OLED TVs

Photonics.com
Aug 2009
TOKYO, Aug. 18, 2009 -- Poor performance at Sony's TV division has led the company to delay the sale of its new organic LED (OLED) display television until at least 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the Journal said Sony had planned to introduce a model with a screen bigger than its 11-in. OLED, which was released in early 2008, but pulled back because of losses in its electronics business. Sony's TV division lost 127 billion yen ($1.34 billion) in fiscal 2008, the Journal said, accounting for more than half of the company's operating losses for the year. The division looks likely to lose money again for the sixth straight year, the Journal said.

oledXEL1.jpg
Sony's 11-in. OLED TV, the XEL-1, is only 3-mm thick, about the thickness of three credit cards. (Photo: Sony)

OLEDs are solid-state lighting sources that use layers of organic material to generate light when current is applied. OLED TVs require no backlight, so they are more energy efficient. They use only a single glass substrate and no backlight unit assembly or polarizer films, enabling extremely thin displays. They have a fast response time -- eliminating motion blur -- and deliver a richer range of colors than existing technologies.

Sony said its 11-in. OLED XEL-1 TV, under development for 10 years and first show at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2007, can be up to 40 percent more efficient per panel inch compared with a conventional 20-inch LCD panel. The product debuted on the US market in early 2008 for $2500, a price that hasn't budged noticeably in 20 months. In comparison, a 52-in LCD or plasma panel can be had for the same amount, and improvements to LCD technology means new units are thinner, brighter, more colorful and energy efficient.

While tiny OLED screens are slowly finding their way into the marketplace in handheld mobile devices, it has been challenging and expensive to manufacture large displays. The Journal noted that research firm DisplaySearch estimates four of every 10 panels that Sony makes for its 11-inch OLED don't pass inspection and can't be sold.

Despite production challenges, some Sony rivals are continuing to promote OLEDs. According to published reports, LG will release this year the 15-in. OLED TV it demonstrated as a prototype at CES in January. In July, LG Display CEO Quan Yung Soo told the Korea Times that he expects they will market a 32-in. OLED panel within three years.

Samsung also showed its 31-in. OLED prototype at CES 2009, although it did not say when it might hit store shelves.

For more information, visit: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125053074821237541.html (subscription required)





GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
plasma
A gas made up of electrons and ions.
polarizer
An optical device capable of transforming unpolarized or natural light into polarized light, usually by selective transmission of polarized rays.
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