Sony launches new OLED flat panel TV – just 3mm thick

By Matthew Henry

JAPAN: Sony has unveiled the world’s first OLED television for mass production at the Ceatec exhibition currently on in Japan, which at just three millimeters thick makes the current crop of LCDs and plasmas look unworthy of the title ‘flat panel’.

The tiny 11-inch Sony XEL-1 will go on sale in Japan this December for around $US1,750, with no plans announced for a rollout beyond the company’s home market.

OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology is a frontrunner to replace current flat panel display technologies due to its outstanding picture quality. OLED also promises to deliver TVs significantly thinner and lighter than plasma or LCD.

Sony first announced its move into OLED at CES in Las Vegas early this year, demonstrating an OLED TV which it claimed delivered up to 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio, fast response time and excellent colour reproduction.

Sony Australia also secured a prototype OLED for its "Experience More" trade show in August.

"OLED is an extremely exciting and promising next-generation display technology, which we were proud to preview earlier in the year at Sony Experience More,” Sony Australia senior product manager – visual displays, Graham Keogh, told Current.com.au.

“The XEL-1, the world’s first OLED TV, has been announced for the Japanese market, however there is no local information on pricing or timing at this stage,” Keogh said.

Sony appears determined to not be left behind as the market moves towards OLED, as it was with the initial shift from tube TV technology to plasma and LCD.

Despite various manufacturers producing working OLED TV prototypes – some as large as 40 inches – the technology has been held back from mass market rollout, partly due to concerns about panel lifespan.

Sony claims the XEL-1 has a viewing life of 30,000 hours – half that of many current-generation flat panels, yet higher than the first generation of plasma TVs, which had as little as 20,000 hours viewing. At a viewing rate of eight hours a day, the Sony XEL-1 would last about 10 years.

Features of the XEL-1 include 960 by 540 pixel resolution, 1080p input via HDMI, USB input and Ethernet connection.

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