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Sony XEL-1 OLED TV Display  (Source: Engadget)
Fans of the XEL-1 from Sony outside of Japan are virtually guaranteed of not getting a XEL-1 this year

With the holiday shopping season firmly upon us one of the most wanted gifts for Christmas is a HDTV set. While we have many brands and makes to choose from here in America, the only commercially available OLED television is a Japan-only item this year.

Sony first announced its XEL-1 3mm thin waif of an HDTV in October with the caveat that the set would only be available in Japan. With the impact the thin OLED set had on gadget and home theater buffs, the Sony XEL-1 led other HDTV makers to promise OLED sets as well. Toshiba was the first to make the announcement of bringing OLED TVs to market after Sony was Toshiba. Toshiba claims it will have a 30-inch OLED TV on the global market by 2009.

Not to be outdone, Samsung announced its OLED roadmap in late October, stating the company would have OLED HDTVs in large 40-inch and 42-inch screen sizes on the market by 2010. DailyTech reported in early November that Sony Electronics President Stan Glasgow said the XEL-1 could make it to America this year, providing the demand for the XEL-1 in Japan didn’t move all the thin-screened beauties Sony had produced.

Today Engadget reports that there are only a total of 2,000 Sony XEL-1 TVs available in the entire world. That means that the 2000 XEL-1 TVs will be spread across 700 stores in Japan working out to a bit more than two XEL-1 HDTVs per store.

American fans of the XEL-1, your chances of getting a set this year just got much smaller.

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Let them work out the bugs
By Screwballl on 11/21/2007 2:25:10 PM , Rating: 2
So what if it is only available in Japan for the first year or so, HDTVs are still out of reach price-wise for the average consumer so let the Japanese work out the bugs with it and once the prices drop quite a bit, then bring it stateside.

RE: Let them work out the bugs
By KentState on 11/21/2007 5:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
What average consumers are you talking about? I know so many average consumers with one if not two in their homes.

RE: Let them work out the bugs
By ATC on 11/21/2007 7:20:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think the poster meant OLED TVs' bugs to be worked out not HDTVs. Unless of course you know of average consumers with 1-2 OLED TVs...then your response stands.

RE: Let them work out the bugs
By Xietsu on 11/22/2007 10:29:43 AM , Rating: 3
"By KentState on 11/21/2007 5:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
What average consumers are you talking about? I know so many average consumers with one if not two in their homes."

Your conception of the average consumer is made with horrid idealization. General consumer revenue is less than $48K, with (approx.) 90% of the US' population makes less than $96K -- your apparent knowledge of average consumers is just quite not so transparent. Typical people -- mainstream customers -- are without HDTVs. They are a thing for the upper socio-economic classes.

"By ATC on 11/21/2007 7:20:14 PM
I think the poster meant OLED TVs' bugs to be worked out not HDTVs. Unless of course you know of average consumers with 1-2 OLED TVs...then your response stands."

KentState was referring to ownership of HDTVs and not OLED HDTVs.

RE: Let them work out the bugs
By Combatcolin on 11/22/2007 2:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
HDTV Plasma and LCD are as cheap as chips. And if three that cheap in the UK then they must be cheaper in the US.

RE: Let them work out the bugs
By onereddog on 11/23/2007 12:13:05 AM , Rating: 2
Whether they are "cheap-as-chips" or not it still doesn't mean that the average consumer has purchased one.
Just like the average consumer probably didn't buy an a new CPU when it was "cheap-as-chips".

By tallcool1 on 11/21/2007 3:10:50 PM , Rating: 2
I guess kudos goes to Sony for actually getting this new tech finally out the door, albeit in very limited quantities. Hopefully the other manufactures will be right behind them to help push this to mass market, eventually with cheaper and larger displays. I have read about some of the benefits of OLED and it will be interesting to see one in person someday.

By mmntech on 11/21/2007 4:08:21 PM , Rating: 3
Right now, I'm hearing the disadvantages are outweighing the benefits. They supposedly have a very short service life, less than half of LCD and Plasma TVs.

Some MP3 players such as Creative's Zens use OLED displays.

By Alexstarfire on 11/21/2007 5:19:51 PM , Rating: 2
I thought they had the product life stuff worked out. I know that initially they had extremely short lives, like a couple months or something (honestly can't remember anything other than it being very short). I thought that they improved that to several years though and made it comparable to LCDs and such. Either I read that wrong or LCDs have a much longer life than I realize.

By Oregonian2 on 11/21/2007 8:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know about lcd's but Plasmas are up to about 100K hours or so (and still working, just dimmer). OLEDs had trouble with the blue's. Lifetimes were something like 1K hours or less that I recall. Not sure how much it's been improved.

By defter on 11/22/2007 5:40:15 AM , Rating: 2
Well, now it's limited to an extremely small screen size (for TV) with an extremely low volume. It remains to be seen wherever these problems will be solved in time.

Wake me up when they manage to produce millions of >=40" OLED panels.

With this talk of panel lifetime...
By Valtiel on 11/21/2007 10:38:52 PM , Rating: 2
What about our own lifetime?

Last I heard the figure for OLED blues was 20k hours or so. Even if that's off base, it seems like a rather unsettling thought to know I might spend that much time in front of a television screen before I die. Chances are I probably will spend more than that.

The 100k hours quoted for LCD's, and even a much lesser 20k, when you lump it all together is a LOT of time you could be doing other things, even spread between many people in a household.

Don't get me wrong, I want the most solid piece of screen I can get for my money too and I want OLED to succeed. Not preaching for everyone to get off their couches, like I said, it feels a bit unsettling to think of how much of a chunk of our own time one of these panel's life would take. Thought I'd share it.

By onereddog on 11/23/2007 12:17:15 AM , Rating: 2
As a quick calculation,
100,000 hours is over 11 years of none stop tv.
Even 20k is like 2.3 years.
It seems like a fairly adequate life span.

I mean, that a full days viewing. I for one will at most have the TV on half of that in one day, that just doubles it.

Its a start
By Mitch101 on 11/21/2007 2:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
While its only 2,000 its a start as opposed to hearing about the technology for years and how great it is or going to be and never materializes.

WooHoo lets hope someday I can buy a 108" one for $50.00. That is after mail in rebate.

RE: Its a start
By jconan on 11/21/2007 7:55:19 PM , Rating: 1
Yep... Well at least Kodak is better at licensing OLED technology than hogging it like some other SED technology. SED could have been a competitive technology but now it's more like vaporware because of exclusivity disagreements. Hopefully Applied Nanotech sees a lucrative future.

If a technology causes cancer or harm who is liable the discoverer/IP owner of the technology or the manufacturer?

This is not surprising
By glitchc on 11/24/2007 5:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
The yields for such screens are really low at the moment as technology hasn't caught up yet. Getting the purity and uniformity of the polymer chains used in the plastic's construction high enough is really hard with current technology. It will require a few serious breakthroughs in nanotechnology for these screens to become commercially viable for mass-market consumption.

It was only 10 years ago that LCD was suffering from the same fate. It wasn't until photolithography in the ultraviolet region and deep reactive ionic etching (DRIE) techniques were stable enough and the output pure enough that we saw the market explode with them. Polymer response times are another real issue, just like traditional LCDs because of the high capacitance inherent in the polymers (they're by default insulators, after all). I've been waiting for this technology to take off ever since I heard about it in Microsystems, which was 4 years ago. Electroluminescence. It's fascinating stuff. The best part is that the screen is malleable and can be wrapped around. Think of plastic overhead slides we used in high school and you have the right idea of what these screens look/feel like. My cellphone has one on the external display. Granted it's only four colours, but the sharpness and clarity are astounding. Samsung even hooked up the camera to it, so if you close the lid in camera mode, you can see the live feed on the OLED display.

It won't be long before we're wearing displays on our forearms which simply extend out on pistons, when we need them. :) You heard it here first. It is a very distinct possibility in the near future.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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