By James Wells

Tokyo, JAPAN: Canon and Toshiba, the two companies supporting the next generation flat screen technology – SED, have announced plans to commence mass production of the panels in July 2007.

SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display) will compete directly with LCD and plasma televisions once they are released globally by the end of next year.

According to Canon Australia national PR specialist, Andrew Giles, there is no firm commitment for the Australian launch of SED at this stage.

“We don’t have any idea at this stage when it will be coming to Australia. We will initially look to achieve mass production and gain efficiencies by starting off with a roll out in Japan,” he said.

Canon and Toshiba claim the benefits of the SED panel include one third less power than plasma as well as faster video response times and improved black imaging than LCD televisions.

Giles confirmed the first SED television that will be launched globally will be 55-inches in size and will offer full high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

“We are aiming for the pricing to be comparable with plasma of the same size,” Glies said.

Fujitsu General released a plasma television in Australia last week with a recommended retail price of $12,999.

Harvey Norman general manager, David Ackery, told analysts at the company’s half year profit presentation last Friday that SED was “the best picture I have ever seen”, after viewing a demonstration of the product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

“We will start with the 55-inch screen size and then cover the entire gamut from 36-inches upwards. In the beginning, we will be feeling out the market and refining the plans as we go,” Giles said.