Sony hoping for large screen OLEDs in time for 2010 World Cup

Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Sony Australia is hoping to have large screen OLED panels on sale in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The biggest obstacle to this will be cost, with the infant screen technology currently being priced at too premium a point to make 40-inch plus sizes marketable.

At the Sony Sessions media conference this morning, Current.com.au asked Sony Australia product manager, CTV, Jan Ergen straight out: will Sony have loungeroom-size OLED panels in time for the World Cup? His answer wasn’t exactly ‘yes’, but it was encouraging.

“I hope so,” he said. “I haven’t got an exact answer, it’d be great to. I think OLED will be an important part of the mix in the future in terms of television technology for Sony. When and what screen sizes will be available in the future, I just don’t know.”

Sony currently only has one OLED TV on sale, the XEL-1. This panel is 11-inches and retails for just under $7,000. Although economies of scale dictate that producing a TV four times this size does not equate to a four-fold price point increase, it does indicate just how expensive this technology currently is.

“It’s technically feasible [making large screen OLEDs], the problem is the cost of production. There’s no point making a large screen OLED that nobody can afford.

“So that’s where development needs to be put into the technology, which is happening behind the scenes, to reduce the cost of production to bring it down to an achievable level for consumers.”

Ergen was clear to point out, however, that his desire for large screen OLEDs in time for the World Cup will not be enough to make it happen. What he does know is that OLED is set to be big for Sony.

“The picture quality is stunning…It’s a big part of the future, whether or not we can see new models in the next 12 months. I just don’t know.”

Sony Australia is a global partner of the 2010 World Cup, and is a personal sponsor of former World Footballer of the Year, Kaka. This event represents the next big opportunity for television manufacturers to capture the attention of potential consumers and transfer this interest to sales.

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