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Canon 55-inch SED TV Prototype
Now the lawsuit for Canon can end, but will production on the SED begin?

Canon, Inc. announced today that it is buying out Toshiba in their surface-conduction electron-emitter (SED) television contract.  Canon will buy all of Toshiba's outstanding shares and once the deal has reached completion, SED, Inc. will become an official subsidiary of Canon, Inc. 

The decision was made in order to suppress the lawsuit by Nano-Proprietary, Inc. for the patent infringement on the technology.  Nano-Proprietary filed a suit against Toshiba-Canon in 2005 claiming that the company had only licensed its technology to Canon and not to Toshiba-Canon.  In November 2006 a judge denied a motion for summary judgment, so in March of 2007 Nano-Proprietary and Toshiba-Canon would start trial proceedings.

Canon issued a press release stating that current SED, Inc. president Kazunori Fukuma, will resign his position under the Toshiba hired post and will resume his career hired under a Canon, Inc. contract.  The SED panel project will fall under Canon contract and Toshiba will loan engineers and resources under the terms of a new agreement. 

The new subsidiary, SED, Inc., will have about 550 employees by January 2007 under Kazunori Fukuma, the continuing president.  Toshiba-Canon was established in October of 2004, and effective January 29, will be wholly owned by Canon, Inc.  The price of the transaction was not disclosed.

This buyout could lead to bigger risks for Canon, however.  The technology will have high production costs to compete with that of of LCD and plasma screen -- it will be difficult for SED to catch up.  Very few analysts believe that SEDs will be cost competitive with existing technologies like LCD and plasma, or even upcoming technologies like OLED. 

Canon already pushed back production of its SED television to the fourth quarter of 2007 to improve cost competitiveness and combat steep price erosion. However, with these recent events, launching mass production has become more complicated.

Canon is currently reviewing a decision to build a 180 billion yen ($1.49 billion USD) plant in Japan for the mass production of the panels.  Analysts are skeptical of Canon's decision to build a new factory due to the lack of cost-effectiveness.  With this in mind, Canon representatives stated late last year that it may stick to small scale production for a launch in Japan.

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remind me
By semo on 1/14/2007 6:59:03 AM , Rating: 2
is sed thicker than lcd and plasma but with more of the advantages of crts or am i thinking of something else?

RE: remind me
By heffeque on 1/14/2007 11:34:10 AM , Rating: 2
It's kind of an evolution of CRT's but there's no tube: electrons get thrown in parallel making it a thin TV but with CRT's contrast ratio. The thing is that OLED is kicking in with some insane contrasts and are A LOT thiner and probably consume a lot less electricity, though the price to pay may not be low enough to compete with LCD and plasma for a long while.

RE: remind me
By squeezee on 1/14/2007 5:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
SED will be the same thickness as current lcd/plasma displays.

It has the benefits of a CRT (color, contrast, viewing angle, response time) but without any of the geometry or focus problems.

RE: remind me
By masher2 on 1/14/2007 7:56:22 PM , Rating: 3
SED also allows for some incredibly tiny pixel structures. Canon has has no trouble generating prototypes at 300dpi...imagine a 21" monitor with ~5000x4000 resolution. Pixel densities far higher than possible with LCD or plasma screens.

The first SED units for sale will be 55" TVs with standard 1080p resolution; ultra high-res monitors will be several years down the line. Still, its an exciting prospect.

RE: remind me
By Viditor on 1/15/2007 7:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
The first SED units for sale will be 55" TVs with standard 1080p resolution

The problem is that without a large infrastructure (and that's what all of the legal wrangling is preventing), that 55" screen will cost over $30k...
Screens like the Pioneer PRO-FHD1 (50" native 1080p plasma) are in the $8000 range.

Weary, leary or wary?
By Spacecomber on 1/13/2007 7:02:05 PM , Rating: 3
Analysts are weary of the decision to build a new factory due to the lack of cost-effectiveness.

RE: Weary, leary or wary?
By Whedonic on 1/14/2007 2:13:43 AM , Rating: 3
Ah, apparently it was hesitant. DailyTech readers are like free proofreaders...or a pain in the ass, depending on how you look at it :D

RE: Weary, leary or wary?
By borowki on 1/14/2007 1:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
Now it makes little sense. How can the analysts be hesitant of what someone else is doing? Skeptical is a more appropriate word here.

RE: Weary, leary or wary?
By oTAL on 1/17/2007 9:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
"Hesitant" as in "they are not sure it's the right decision".
Come on guys... give it a rest...

(As for you suggestion, skeptical transmits a mostly negative impression, while hesitant translates an even division of opinions... a neutral general opinion)

Bad news re lawsuit
By Ajax9000 on 1/14/2007 10:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
According to Nano aint going to be nice.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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