Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sony sells first OLED TV's

Consumers in Japan have snapped up the first batch of 200 OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV's from the electronics giant Sony for around ¥200,000 (£850).

The 11in XEL-1 is a mere 3mm thick and sports a claimed contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, a figure LCD and Plasma manufacturers can only dream about.

Although planned monthly production of 2,000 units won't put a dent in Sony's estimated sales of 10 million LCD TV's a year, the retail availability of such a revolutionary technology is an important benchmark in TV hardware development.

The great advantage OLED displays have over LCD is that they do not require a backlight to function, and require far less energy as a result. OLED-based display devices also can be more effectively manufactured than LCDs and plasmas. A major problem however is the degradation of materials used to manufacture OLED TV's which limits their life span to about 40% of equivalent LCD or Plasma screens.

The XEL-1 is based on Sony's 'Super Top Emission' (STE) technology which uses a pitted organic film (the pits are called micro-cavities) to reflect out from the display light that has bounced back off the display's semi-transparent cathode, the negatively charged material used to send electrons through the OLED's organic film, generating light. Colours are produced through STE's colour filters above the cathode.

No word yet on whether Sony plan to introduce their OLED technology in Europe or the US.

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