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OLED TVs will still be sold by Sony in America and Europe

Sony is one of the largest electronics makers in the world. The company is big in gaming, TVs, and computers among other categories and is working hard to bring next generation devices to market.

Sony bet big on OLED screens for TVs and was the first to bring an OLED set to market with its 11-inch XEL-1 OLED TV which debuted in late 2007. The XEL-1 was undeniably sexy, but it was small and had a price equating to about $1,744 USD  when it debuted in Japan. Sony announced in November of 2007 that it would be bringing the XEL-1 to America. In early 2008, Sony announced that it was spending $200 billion on OLED manufacturing technology.

Today the OLED screens used in TVs are hard to mass produce and have high defective rates making them expensive to produce. Sony also now has competition in the OLED TV market from rival electronics firms. Sony announced this week that it is pulling the plug on its OLED TV in Japan. Sony cites sluggish demand as the main reason for stopping sales reports Reuters. Sony does plan to continue selling the XEL-1 in America and Europe.

OLED TVs promise significant improvements over LCD sets for users with less power consumption, thinner screens, and better image quality. The problem is that the screens are difficult to make and expensive to produce.

DisplaySearch analyst Hisakazu Torii said, "As flat panel TVs are getting bigger and cheaper, hurdles for OLED models have become higher, at least in the short term."

Sony will continue to sell the XEL-1 in Japan until its current supply runs out. A Sony spokesman said that the company intends to continue to consider new products and applications for OLED screens. Estimates have Sony selling only 2,000 OLED TVs in all of 2009.

The Financial Times reports that the reason Sony is removing the OLED set from the Japanese market is a regulatory change that meant the TV would have to be redesigned and with the low demand it wasn't feasible for Sony.



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this is frustrating
By semo on 2/16/2010 9:57:41 AM , Rating: 3
at this rate we'll end up TN panels for everything. There's already TN monitors that have "Pro" in their name.




RE: this is frustrating
By Omega215D on 2/16/2010 10:19:46 AM , Rating: 2
I'm just happy that there are affordable IPS displays available from HP and Dell should I ever feel the need to get one.

Luckily Samsung is hard at work on AMOLED everything... more of their phones and PMPs will sport AMOLEDs which should be great. Maybe in the near future Samsung will have a moderate sized TV featuring AMOLED.


RE: this is frustrating
By amanojaku on 2/16/2010 10:36:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe in the near future Samsung will have a moderate sized TV featuring AMOLED.
Don't hold your breath. I pointed out in an article last week that we were about 10 years away from consumer-grade (32"-55" @ $500-$2,000) OLED TVs of any size and people laughed.
quote:
You think we'll be buying 46" $1,000 AMOLED TVs in five years? FIVE? Today you can only get ONE OLED TV: an 11" Sony XEL-1 for $2,500. It's been out for two years and hasn't seen a competitor, replacement or price drop larger than $300. In 10 years we should be lucky if we can buy a 46" OLED PERIOD. There's too much wrong with OLED at the moment, and the worst of it is the limited lifespan.
There have been no plans to move forward with OLED because LCD with LED backlighting has become viable and relatively inexpensive. OLED is another challenge entirely, and consumer TVs were originally scheduled for 2010-2015. The economy is in the toilet so no one is going to buy an 11" TV for $2,500 (the original price of the XEL-1 in the US). Profits in general are down across standard TVs. There simply isn't any money for the R&D required to get OLED to market for a TV in the "near future".


RE: this is frustrating
By sigmatau on 2/16/2010 7:24:16 PM , Rating: 1
I don't agree. OLED should have good market penetration within 3 years. LED LCDs are still under plasma in terms of picture quality so they still have a ways to go.

Samsung has been giving away smart phones with touchscreen AMOLEDs for about a year. The price is coming down very quickly.


RE: this is frustrating
By amanojaku on 2/16/2010 8:39:46 PM , Rating: 2
OLED will NOT have significant TV market penetration in three years. You can't even get a panel larger than 30" for a custom built demo unit. Samsung, the world leader in OLEDs, supposedly said in Oct. 2008 that the largest OLED display that could be mass produced is 30". So why haven't we seen anything larger than the 11" Sony? Because:

1) OLED display production has a high defect rate
2) OLED displays aren't cheap at any size
3) OLED displays have a short lifespan
4) OLED colors are slightly off to compensate for the uneven RGB lifetime

A 32" OLED display at $1,500 is feasible in five years. A reasonably priced 32" display to replace your $400 TV is about 10 years away. In the next three years OLED will completely replace LCD in screens smaller than 5", and may become standard on laptops.


RE: this is frustrating
By mcnabney on 2/16/2010 10:22:35 AM , Rating: 3
I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that the electronics market wasn't interested in paying 2-5x the price for a marginal improvement.


RE: this is frustrating
By FaaR on 2/16/2010 10:36:42 AM , Rating: 4
Not really sure what exactly you're implying, but the quality difference between TN and IPS is in no way, shape or form "marginal". It's as clear as night and day, pretty much.

I had to trade down myself from a Dell IPS screen to a BenQ TN unit, and while I didn't see that big a difference at first, the limitations of TN grates more and more on me for each day that passes. The viewing angles are so crap with TN that the picture changes noticeably just by moving my head half a decimeter up or down or side to side, and low-light contrast is a nightmare. I'm playing through Morrowind again, and there's a lot of dank, dark caves in that game and I find myself squinting at shadows, trying to figure out if it's a rock or a badguy...

TN is utter shite, to be quite honest. This BenQ monitor was rather cheap, but it's still one of the worst purchases I've made these last couple years.


RE: this is frustrating
By Mr Perfect on 2/16/2010 10:44:52 AM , Rating: 3
He's talking about OLED, not IPS.


RE: this is frustrating
By Motoman on 2/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: this is frustrating
By sigilscience on 2/16/2010 11:27:58 AM , Rating: 2
In the case of monitors, you're right. TVs are a little different story, because you tend to have much more off-angle viewing in a TV. This is where IPS really shines.


RE: this is frustrating
By someguy123 on 2/16/2010 1:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
You should try it out.

I have a dell TN panel and an HP IPS side by side right now (both received a few months apart), and the dell has awful colors in comparison. Boosting saturation/digital vibrance just makes things worse. The viewing angles are also basically perfect on the IPS, while I notice issues on the dell even when staring straight at the monitor.

The color quality from a good IPS and a "good" TN is just night and day. The only thing TN has going for it is the cheap price and certain monitors with little/no input lag (viewsonics for example).


RE: this is frustrating
By bigboxes on 2/17/2010 12:35:32 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry. It IS night and day. A good IPS panel is nirvana. Of course, Americans want big and cheap and that lends us to craptastic TN panels. I hope that things change and the manufacturers figure out how to make these OLED panels. I really don't want to wait 10 years.


RE: this is frustrating
By Jaybus on 2/16/2010 1:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
It's not marginal. The image quality is substantially better. OLED pixels emit light directly, so they are brighter and can be seen from any viewing angle to nearly 90 degrees from normal. They have a response time 100 times faster. They do not require a backlight, so can be made far thinner and can be made on flexible substrates. When a pixel is off it emits zero light, so the contrast ratio is greater than a million to one and far superior to LCDs.

They are superior in every way, except they don't last nearly as long and are too hard to manufacture in large panels, making them way to expensive to be practical.


RE: this is frustrating
By someguy123 on 2/16/2010 1:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
The difference in OLED side by side with an LCD (with a good source, of course) is night and day. All you need to do is to put a scene with high contrast on screen. The lcd won't be able to alter its backlight while the OLED handles the blacks flawlessly. The response time is also incredibly faster, which makes it leagues above LCDs for gaming.

I don't think the public wasn't willing to pay 2-5x the price. The issue was paying 2-5x the price for something so small.


RE: this is frustrating
By Spivonious on 2/16/2010 11:12:52 AM , Rating: 5
Plasma is where people should be putting their money. The picture quality still destroys even the top-of-the-line LCDs.


RE: this is frustrating
By tastyratz on 2/16/2010 11:34:25 AM , Rating: 2
Amen to that. I still get more impressed with low end plasma compared to high end lcd. LCD certainly has its markets and applications... but side by side it just still has nothing on plasma.


RE: this is frustrating
By TheDoc9 on 2/16/2010 2:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree, except I'm reminded of the tinted window effect on my friends plasma. After years of watching standard def material the screen has become noticeable and distractingly dimmer in the center. Widescreen material just looks silly because of it.


RE: this is frustrating
By jimbojimbo on 2/16/2010 4:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
Compared to LED backlit LCD TVs, I'd only consider a plasma if I was interested in warming up my home. Plasmas use a lot more electricity and pump out a lot more heat.


RE: this is frustrating
By sigmatau on 2/16/2010 7:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
What is a lot more? 50 more watts?


RE: this is frustrating
By tastyratz on 2/16/2010 8:44:32 PM , Rating: 3
depends on what you mean by a lot. Plasmas are rated for a lot more energy draw than you actually see. When calibrated PROPER ntsc and you have a full white display (most energy on a plasma) my 42 inch panasonic only draws maybe 130 watts from the wall. The manual says it can take up to 400 watts though. What you actually see is far less... and a comparable LCD might be 2/3rds that so you are talking a difference of mere dollars a year for a significant picture increase.

Given the investment a TV really is plasma is still the best value. The money saved in electricity will almost never be recouped over its usable lifetime for a spendy lcd tv that even comes close to plasma PQ.


RE: this is frustrating
By inperfectdarkness on 2/17/2010 4:29:38 PM , Rating: 2
99% sure your lcd specs are for ccfl lcd's, not led/lcd's. i've never heard of led/lcd's using 2/3rds the energy of plasmas. more like 1/5th or less.


RE: this is frustrating
By StinkyWhizzleTeeth on 2/22/2010 1:55:44 AM , Rating: 2
LED is not that much more efficient than CCFL.


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