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Sony bets $200 million on large screen OLED TVs

LCD TV sales are booming thanks to the digital transition in the United States. With incredible adoption rates, prices are plumetting and LCD manufacturers are ramping up production to meet consumer demands.

Sony is looking to the future of the thin TV segment and announced today it will spend $200 million on technology needed to develop medium to large size OLED panels. In October of 2007, Sony was first to market with an OLED TV.

Typical LCD substrate factories run billions of dollars; Samsung and Sony poured more than $2 billion into their 7th generation LCD facility capable of producing 50,000 panels per month.  OLED carries a considerably lower production cost, though only a few companies worldwide possess the intellectual property and design patents to build OLED monitors and televisions.

The Sony XEL-1 was a small TV with a screen size of 11-inches and it sported a super thin profile of only 3mm thick. The other promises OLED panels give to TV fans are brighter colors and less power consumption thanks to no need for a backlight.

The catch with the Sony XEL-1 was the price; the tiny TV set retailed for around $1,700. In addition to the high cost Sony was only able to produce about 2,000 of the TVs each month because of the difficult and initial costly manufacturing process.

However, Sony's initial OLED TVs will not remain ultra-expensive forever. With a lower cost of production than LCD and cheaper transportation costs, OLED displays will eventually replace LCD the way LCD replaced CRT. 

Other large LCD TV makers are also looking to get into production of larger OLED TVs. Samsung unveiled a 31-inch OLED TV at CES 2008. Toshiba had promised to bring large screen OLED TVs to market, then had a change of heart and announced it would not be bringing OLED TVs of larger screen sizes to market after all.

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RE: New computer monitors?
By lexluthermiester on 2/19/2008 2:47:12 PM , Rating: 2
PC screens are in the works, I can't wait to get my hands on a nice 28" 1920x1200 OLED...

RE: New computer monitors?
By BruceLeet on 2/19/2008 3:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
OLED's offer higher resolutions dont they?

Sorry I don't read up on anything, dont take the time, would rather get rated down and corrected than waste my time lol.

Contrast ratios (I always type rations for some reason) are insane with OLEDS I know that, but wasn't there an 11" OLED with a $2K+ price tag a couple months back?

RE: New computer monitors?
By mooncancook on 2/19/2008 5:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, just saw it at a Sony Style store. It's $1200. It's too small though, maybe only good for in-car entertainment.

RE: New computer monitors?
By someguy123 on 2/19/2008 7:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
I think they do (at least currently). I think the max resolution will probably still follow the current standard defined by monitor size, though. As you said I think the real reason to get excited about OLED is the ridiculous contrast ratio and response time(?).

RE: New computer monitors?
By StevoLincolnite on 2/19/2008 9:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I'm excited about the possible applications for laptops, we may finally get a decent screen that's nice and bright, yet consume less power! Win/Win!

RE: New computer monitors?
By Omega215D on 2/19/2008 4:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
I still cannot stop staring at my iRiver Clix 2 AMOLED screen. It may be only 262,000 colors but it sure is vibrant and makes navigating a joy. Yes I have many mp3 players but I have family members that keep borrowing them.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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