Philips, not particularly known for success in HDTV circles, has decided to scrap entering the OLED TV market and opted to debut an OLED wall instead. The wall, which can only be described by the above video, displays shadows of objects in front of it. Definitely looks like something that would be loads of fun at a bar or drunken wedding reception.
It's interesting that while the OLED TV market is moving pretty slowly--the only commercially available model is the Sony XEL-1 and the rest are prototypes like Sony's recently unveiled 21-inch model--OLED displays are becoming very popular in smaller, mobile devices and now...walls.
Finally, after what seems like an eternity after the first consumer-ready OLED TV, the Sony XEL-1, launched, Australia has finally got it. Well almost. Expected to launch in mid-April, the Sony XEL-1 with its 11-inch OLED display, 1, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, 960 x 540 pixel resolution, and a thinnest point of 3 millimeters, is said to be priced AU$6000 and AU$8000. I think it's fair to say it won't be competing on price, but then again it's the only OLED TV out there, so what the hey.
A 1 millimeter thin OLED panel measuring in at 25 inches? Oh yes, we'd love to see that in TV form. Taiwan's Chi Mei EL has the panel part figured out, showing off the OLED panel with 1366 x 768 native resolution and 16.7 million colors at the FPD International expo in Japan. Okay, so it's not 40-inches, nor 1080p like Samsung's recent prototype but it's nice to see some new names competing in the OLED TV space. A CMEL OLED TV next year maybe?
While there's been talk of Samsung rolling out a commercially available OLED TV in 2009, it'll supposedly be a 14-inch panel. However, that doesn't mean Samsung hasn't continued tweaking the technology for larger displays down the road. Today Samsung SDI pulled a 40-inch prototype out of its corporate hat with 1080p resolution and a claimed 1, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, of course in part due to self-luminating LED's. Way back in 2005, Samsung was showing a 40-inch OLED prototype but at that time all's the company could muster was 1280 x 800 pixels and by today's standards, a horrible 5, 000:1 contrast ratio.
Right now we're left to dream though, as there of course is no shipping date for the new prototype if it ever hits shelves. But we're looking forward to CES 2009, where we're sure Samsung will be showing off next year's OLED TV release should there be one.
Across the pond in Korea, Samsung and LG Display are pulling out all the stops at the International Meeting on Information Display conference that kicked off yesterday. Samsung is busy showing off a 7.9 millimeter thin 42-inch LCD TV as well as a 52-inch LCD display only 9.8 millimeters thin. Meanwhile LG continues on the path toward a 2011 deadline for mass OLED TV production, rolling out a 19-inch OLED panel driven by amorphous Si TFT. Unfortunately Samsung is still carting around the same 31-inch OLED TV they've been talking up since CES back in January, however they also had a 14-inch OLED display on tap. If we recall correctly, wasn't Samsung saying a while back they'd be rolling out a 14-inch OLED TV in 2009?
It's been showcased at a few conferences this year, but it doesn't hurt to once more behold Sony's 0.3 millimeter thin OLED TV (at its thinnest part). This picture, taken at the ongoing CEATEC conference in Japan shows the fantastically thin television, that is identical to the XEL-1 aside from its dimensions.
We're totally not surprised to see another bigscreen OLED TV rumor making its way across the world with the help of Japanese rag Nikkei Daily. Only a month after Panasonic denied rumors that they would begin pumping out 37-inch OLED TV's within three years, Matsushita (parent company of Panasonic, soon to be renamed Panasonic Corporation) is apparently set to test produce 40-inch OLED displays starting early next year, with mass production planned for 2011. The company has invested somewhere around $2.8 billion in the production plant which will mainly produce LCD displays, most likely raising part of the money from the Japanese government whom earlier this month stepped in to hasten the development of OLED technologies. Matsushita has declined to comment on the rumor in any detail so far, only verifying that they are working on OLED technology at the rumored production plant.
Over in Japan there's no messing around with the future of OLED TV. Last week a flurry of Japanese OLED panel manufacturers including Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sumitomo Chemical, Dainippon Screen, Shimadzu, and Hitachi Zosen formed a coalition with the country's government to develop key technologies needed to make large next-gen displays while at the same time cutting manufacturing costs. The company's have teamed up in order to better compete with Korean manufacturers such as LG and Samsung who both look to be big players in the future OLED market. The Japanese government will pitch in slightly less than US$33 million to the massive project which is set to run through 2012.
A couple days back at a dinner with reporters and industry analysts in San Francisco, Sony Electronics president and COO Stan Glasgow spilled all kinds of juicy details regarding the goings-on inside the company's home theater business. Perhaps most interesting was Glasgow's comment that Sony's 27-inch OLED TV is "awfully close" to becoming available commercially. First unveiled at CES back in January, the 27-inch OLED TV will be the successor to the 11-inch XEL-1, the world's first commercially available OLED television. The 27-incher is expected to be followed by a 40-inch model which will be impressive, but first Sony has to find ways to better automate OLED panel production, currently very labor intensive. With their recent $210 million investment into OLED production, we're sure this won't be an issue for too much longer.
OLED TV's weren't the only topics of interest discussed though. Here's a few more tidbits from Glasgow:
90% of Sony's products will be wired or wireless by 2010
Expect more video services for Bravia LCD TV's by 2010
In the standalone Blu-ray player market, Sony has a 46% market share in units and 44% market share in dollars without the PS3. With the PS3 included, the company's Blu-ray market share sits somewhere between 95%-98%
Despite news reports over in Japan earlier this week that said Panasonic was ready to crank out 37-inch OLED displays en masse within the next three years, Panasonic has blatantly denied the rumors. According to Tech-On, Panasonic told them, "We are currently advancing research and development in view of OLED production at IPS Alpha's Himeji Plant for the future, but nothing specific has yet been decided on the commercialization of our OLED TV at the moment." A typical response to a rumor from a publicly traded company whose product announcements are timed in such a way to benefit their investors, but not necessarily meaning much. The company's President Fumio Otsubo said back in January that OLED TV's wouldn't really begin penetrated the TV market until 2015, but no matter what Panasonic says, we don't believe for a second that this rumor isn't true especially when competitors such as Sony and Samsung have big plans for their OLED TV businesses in the next couple of years. Oh, and remember that interview with Panny's Toshihiro Sakamoto back in January? Didn't he put the release year at somewhere around 2012?