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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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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.




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