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The XEL-1 OLED TV sports vivid color and contrast.  (Source: Sony Japan)

The XEL-1 OLED TV's razor thin profile.  (Source: Sony Japan)
Sony introduced the world's first OLED TV, which is quite a looker, carries a high price tag, and is only available in Japan

At 3 millimeters thin, Sony’s XEL-1 OLED TV seems to float on the air.  The almost paper-thin display hovers ethereally mounted on a beam, which is juxtaposed onto a thick pedestal base, which sharply contrasts the screens thickness.  The design of the device is very similar to the "Anglepoise" Mac and very modern in design.

The 11-inch XEL-1 brings a lot of innovation to the table at a relatively high price.  The unit, set to go on sale December 1 in Japan only, was unveiled on Sony Japan's website over the weekend. 

The device will cost ¥200,000, or around $1,744 USD -- about twice the price of a 40" LCD TV in Japan.

Overall (base included) the device has measurements of 287×253×140mm and weighs in at 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds).  It sports a 1080p input resolution, though the screen resolution only measures 960 x 540, so it downscales the image to fit the screen.

One of its more impressive features is a sharp
1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and the 45W power consumption.  According to Sony, this represents a 40 percent power reduction over conventional LCD monitors.

Sony touts the device as a display revolution.  They claim that the device has very fast response times -- up to 1,000 times faster than LCD displays -- though no test information was presented to support these claims.

The XEL-1 also boasts superior color and brightness.  The brightness is due to the OLEDs' natural electroluminescence as well as reflected light, which reflects off of "micro-cavities" within the OLED.  The end result, according to Sony, is a much brighter TV without the need for backlights.  The color is also superior and more natural according to Sony.  They explain that with flexible brightness, it is easier to reproduce the full spectrum of colors than in a device which can only be backlit or dark.

In the past, OLED displays have been crippled due to a relatively short lifespan compared to LCDs.  The XEL-1 seems to have this covered, with a declared 30,000 hour lifespan (roughly the equivalent of watching TV eight hours a day for ten years).  An average LCD lifespan is 50,000 hours, so while slightly lower, the XEL-1 isn't that far behind.

The device features some nice extras in terms of ports as well.  It has an integrated digital TV tuner for Japan, USB, LAN interface, one HDMI port, headphones plug and S-Force sound.

Despite its attractive features, Sony plans to limit its initial production to 2,000 units a month.  In contrast, its LCD TV business sells over 10 million TVs a year.

There is no word from Sony, however, on if and when the display will cross the ocean and reach the U.S. Given that Sony is heralding the XEL-1 as the start of a new sector of its TV business, it is safe to say its OLED displays will soon be coming to the U.S.

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Value for money
By Fire404 on 10/2/2007 9:55:03 AM , Rating: 2
from the link
"Sony recently announced that it will begin sale of its upcoming 11-inch OLED based TV this December"

For $1735?!?!?!? $158 per inch. One for the truly hardcore early adopters then...

It is beautiful tho (ignoring the stand which I presume must hold all the connections as the ports would be thicker than the display)

RE: Value for money
By elpresidente2075 on 10/2/2007 10:09:09 AM , Rating: 1
Of course! It's Sony! They never release a new technology at a real, good price level for normal consumers to buy. Cases in point: Betamax, Minidisk, UMD, PS3.

The fact that they're coming to market at all is a good thing though. Earlier this year they promised these within this time frame, and obviously they've done it. Fortunately, since there is a much lower cost involved in producing these panels(once the ramp starts), they should quickly become quite cheap. My next laptop/tablet I get (haven't decided which) will have a screen based on this technology, so I hope they get to it soon!

Sony :( , Technology :)

RE: Value for money
By BansheeX on 10/2/2007 11:14:46 AM , Rating: 1
Ah, the viral anti-Sony hate continues. Any idea how many millions Sony has pumped into researching and developing OLED to even get to this level? I'm guessing they're in the black right now and banking on the future profitability for justification of this initial debt. And unlike some proprietary format, you will be licking Sony's boots when this tech becomes mainstream. This is not a Sony-specific pricing strategy. Every time a brand new tech comes to market, they are marketing to enthusiasts for stratospheric prices to recoup R&D costs.

RE: Value for money
By Martin Blank on 10/2/2007 11:30:47 AM , Rating: 5
If they're in the black on OLEDs, they're already making profit.

In the red = loss
In the black = profit

It comes from the accounting world, where those colors represent negative and non-negative numbers, respectively.

RE: Value for money
By BansheeX on 10/2/2007 11:53:09 AM , Rating: 3
My bad. You can tell I meant to say red because I refer to debt in the same sentence.

RE: Value for money
By IcY18 on 10/2/07, Rating: -1
RE: Value for money
By idconstruct on 10/3/2007 2:02:46 AM , Rating: 1
No. He was, in fact, right.

In the red = loss
In the black = profit

His explanation is also correct.

You are either making money or losing money... in the unlikely situation that you break exactly even, you would represent that with a (black) "$0"

RE: Value for money
By elpresidente2075 on 10/16/2007 2:34:59 AM , Rating: 2
If only it were only Sony making these technologies. Sure, they are first to market, but let me list some of the other companies that will surely be competing (and possibly winning) in the same market space:

Chi Mei EL Corporation (the big dogs)

Don't forget the dozens of patents Kodak has for this tech.

But I digress. Black/Red, whatever, the comment about pricing strategies was made more as a joke than anything.

Ah, the internet. Lots o' fun isn't it? Er'buddy's got something to say, and everyone else is wrong and also stupid.

Yarr, it's drivin' me nuts!

RE: Value for money
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/2/2007 11:16:53 AM , Rating: 3
You can't expect any company to come out with cutting edge technology that's still pine-tree-high expensive to produce.

And I have strong reasons to think that OLED displays are yet very difficult to get right, as if it weren't that the case, they would have come out with a 50" set for $50k to really appeal to hardcore early adopters with lots of money to spend.

But no, they are releasing a 11" screen at a price that, while really expensive for the size, could be payed by most of the people out there.

I guess they can't get bigger OLEDs out of the oven as of yet... And based on that, I would guess that this kind of display technology could end up in notebooks, UMPCs and portable movie players first

RE: Value for money
By idconstruct on 10/3/2007 2:11:56 AM , Rating: 2
First off, one of the notorious benefits of OLEDs are the fact that they're very cheap to manufacture.

Also, there have been mobile OLED products available for quite a while now, such as Creative's 'Zen V Plus' and the 'Zen MicroPhoto'

RE: Value for money
By Zoomer on 10/3/2007 10:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
Defects. The likelihood of a 1" screen havings defects are orders of magnitudes lower than a 11".

RE: Value for money
By Fire404 on 10/2/2007 11:28:26 AM , Rating: 2
Woah I wasnt Sony hating (i'm almost a fanboy tbh...), merely pointing out the cost per inch is really high atm and therefore purely for the rich/extreame early adopters. I was just "commenting" on the article.

So please dont try to turn my comment into an anti-Sony thread. Leave me out of that pointless debate please! :)

RE: Value for money
By BansheeX on 10/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: Value for money
By Fire404 on 10/3/2007 2:22:55 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are, look who I replied to ;) He sounded like he thought he was on the same page as me. Just wanted to make clear we didn't share the same views.

RE: Value for money
By mars777 on 10/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: Value for money
By elpresidente2075 on 10/16/2007 2:23:50 AM , Rating: 2
Seems people have taken offense at my first three sentences and forgot to understand the whole post.

Perhaps people should learn to read and understand an entire post before hating it. My point was that Sony's made some great stuff in the past (refer to parent) but it's always been incredibly expensive at launch. That's all.

However, seems you've guessed that I hate Sony, and in that you'd be correct, but for an entirely different reason than you assume (ass-u-me):

Two words: Business practices
Context: Music/Movies
Relevance: None

RE: Value for money
By Kuroyama on 10/2/2007 1:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
For $1735?!?!?!? $158 per inch.

That's probably why it's only selling in Japan. Nowhere else are people willing to pay such large amounts of money for tiny electronics.

When I left Japan in 1998 most desktops were sold with an LCD screen, but when I returned to the US I don't recall anyone I know having an LCD other than on a laptop. Of course, you paid a lot more there, but no one wanted an ugly CRT even if they'd save a lot of money.

RE: Value for money
By Oregonian2 on 10/2/2007 3:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Are they really selling in Japan, or is it only being offered there? I can't imagine why anybody would buy one at that price (especially when it's so small).

At least the DailyTech version of article didn't claim (as a general news article did yesterday about it that I saw somewhere in Google News) that it was the only technology that didn't use backlighting, and that's why it's so good. :-)

RE: Value for money
By Nighteye2 on 10/3/2007 3:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
All products are expensive when they first get launched. Displays with this technology will get cheaper as production processes are improved upon and volume gets ramped up.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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