I remember the excitement that surrounded Sony's XEL-1 OLED TV a few years back. Since then, OLED applications in television have been relatively quiet. Today though, Sony has announced a couple of new OLED monitors aimed not at the consumer couch potato market, but TV and movie production companies. Available in 25-inch (BVM-E250) and 17-inch (BVM-E170) display sizes, the TRIMASTER EL OLED master monitors features 1080p resolution, HDMI, Ethernet, DisplayPort, SD-SDI, 3G-SDI and HD-SDI ports, and an aluminum body. Both models will be available July 1 in Japan with converted prices of $16, 000 for the 17-inch model and $29, 000 for the 25-inch model. Ouch!
Despite OLEDs head start on the 3D TV revolution, the latter is taking up much of the world's mind share in 2010. However, LG is still bullishly pushing ahead on OLED, investing $226 million in its Korean production lines. Unfortunately the new lines won't be active until at least the third quarter of 2010 meaning we won't see any end user effects until sometime in the second half of 2011. Also of note, we don't necessarily know whether the majority of the new LG OLED displays will end up in cellphones or in HDTVs like the 15EL9500.
LG's 15-inch OLED TV, the EL9500, is the world's largest commercially available OLED display--at least in South Korea as of the end of 2009. But no one knows when it will ship globally...make that no one knew. According to the Oled-display.net blog, LG staff at the ISE-2010 conference revealed that the EL9500 will be shipping stateside by the summer of 2010. Just months away. The 15-inch display is the second OLED TV to hit shelves after the Sony XEL-1 arrived way back in 2007. The price for the LG model is said to sit between $2500 and $3000--but at least this model is large enough to push out 720p resolution.
Mitsubishi has found a way around the expensive production costs of OLED TV displays that result in small screens and almost no home theater market penetration. It's actually pretty intuitive: just split the display into smaller modules. At CEATEC, a consumer electronics conference currently ongoing in Japan, Mitsubishi is showing off a 155-inch OLED TV that is actually a giant puzzle consisting of 720 1.5 square inch OLED panels. The modular design means that the set can actually be resized as needed, making it a good fit for commercial applications such as outdoor advertising displays. The display can also be curved to fit into existing infrastructure. Mitsubishi hasn't announced a release date or price for the prototype OLED TV, but if it ever does end up on store shelves, expect the price to be located up somewhere near the moon.
LG's 15-inch OLED TV, which will launch in South Korea this November, will cost in the vicinity of $2500 to $3000. That's according to OLED-info.com and the publication claims the number came from an LG senior manager. Also remember that the number quoted isn't set in stone, and it's an equivalent price. Hopefully that means what will be the world's largest on-the-shelf OLED TV will be a little cheaper if, and when, it ships globally.
LG Electronics is shipping a 15-inch OLED TV in South Korea this November, according to a Reuters article; one month earlier than the December release date we heard about in June. We'll first see the OLED TV at the IFA conference in Berlin next month, nearly 2 years after Sony released the first OLED TV, the XEL-1, back in 2007. LG said it is also planning to commercialize a whopping 40-inch OLED model "in a not too distant future." Wow, that's quite a bit bigger and sooner than a 32-inch model in 2012?
I was looking forward to Sony's 'larger-than-11-inch' OLED TV originally slated for a Christmas release. Unfortunately, due in large part to tough economic conditions, it looks like Sony will be putting its XEL-2 plans on hold until 2010. In the meantime, the company plans to focus on lower-end models to appeal to the massive number of consumers looking for value at the moment. The good news? LG is still on track to release its 15-inch OLED TV this winter.
Last month we heard that LG could be releasing a 15-inch OLED TV as early as December 2009. But it appears the HDTV manufacturer isn't going to settle with that.
"The commercial success of OLEDs hinges on how it shows its superiority compared to existing liquid crystal display (LCD) technologies. We will focus on TV panels rather than cell phone panels because the larger the display, the more efficient the OLED technology", according to Kwon Young-soo, CEO of LG Display.
That said, he goes on to say that LG plans to release a 32-inch OLED TV by 2012. Don't get your hopes up though; we've heard these kind of OLED-related commitments before that never panned out.
If a recent OLED TV report by Displaysearch report predicting the future of the OLED market pans out, there is a pile of money to be made by HDTV manufacturers on the cutting edge of display technology.
Despite an OLED panel market of only $143 million in Q1 of this year, the research firm believes the market size will increase to $7.1 billion by 2016. Granted, that's a long way from now and in the meantime billions will be spent to develop manufacturing technologies that can pump out OLED displays efficiently.
Regardless though, the first quarter of 2009 will be the first time ever that active matrix OLED displays earn more revenue that passive displays. This has nothing to do with televisions though. AMOLED's have become popular among cellphone makers like Nokia and there are now 10 phones on the market using active matrix displays.
It seems like an eternity since Sony's 11-inch XEL-1 OLED TV was released and despite a plethora of prototypes, no other model has hit the consumer market. Until December 2009 according to an interview with Won Kim, LG's vice president of OLED sales and marketing. That's when LG will begin shipping its 15-inch OLED TV which has 1, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, 1366 x 768 resolution and a 30, 000 shelf life. The OLED set will first launch in Korea and hopefully other markets will follow.
Seiko Epson has claimed to have made an advance in ink-jet technology that enabled the company to mass produce OLED TVs by the middle of next decade. That's a few years off, but Seiko plans to show off a 14-inch OLED display at the Society for Information Display conference in San Antonio next week. The display is said to reproduce the resolution density found in a typical 37-inch plasma or LCD display.
So how does this supposed technical advance work? Seiko says it has found a way to use ink-jets to evenly deposit the organic material that provides the lighting for OLEDs. Previously that wasn't possible, leading to ink-jet-produced OLEDs that produced uneven pictures. The company says that it plans to begin producing ink-jet OLEDs in sample scale beginning in 2012 followed by large-screen mass production around 2015.
We heard last May that Japan's Sumitomo was looking for possible partners to create a 40-inch OLED panel using technology it had created. Finally, one year later, the chemical company has reportedly teamed up with Panasonic to do just that. By combining resources the two companies believe that a 40-inch OLED panel--not necessarily a TV--could be a reality by Panasonic's fiscal 2010. Let's not hold our breath though. Since Sony released the 11-inch XEL-1 to global fanfare at the end of 2007 we've heard promise after promise of bigger and better OLED TVs. So far nothing has come to fruition. The latest claims? Wasn't it Panasonic that said just days ago that it would have a 37-inch OLED TV on the market within 18 months? Confusing, confusing...
Despite early promises of an OLED TV from Panasonic, a commercially available set never materialized. According to Panasonic that's because the company wasn't happy with the current lifespan of OLED technology. However, the company is confident that new technology in development will allow it to extend the current 30, 000 lifespan of Sony's XEL-1 to at least 50, 000 hours. Using a newly developed metal membrane that can move light more efficiently, Panasonic has reached lifespans of more than 60, 000 hours with some of its plasma TVs. If things keep going at this rate, Panasonic, in collaboration with Toshiba, could release a 37-inch OLED TV in the next 18 to 24 months. We'll believe it when we see it.
Who knows if this is actually true, but apparently this 23-inch OLED TV from Sony will be available--yes, to actually buy--sometime in 2010. At 1.6 centimeters thin, it seems like Sony opted to build the tuner into the set rather than supply it as an external component like the XEL-1. Other known specs include 2, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, HDMI and DVI inputs, and 40% less energy consumption that a similar-sized LCD monitor. No actually availability dates have been mentioned, nor has there been any mention of price, but we'll keep our eyes open.