Canon to debut ultra-thin SED TV display technology in 2008

Mass production of ultra-thin SED TV displays will begin in early 2008, Canon announced last week.

Canon and Toshiba created a joint venture in 2004 to produce surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) panels. SEDs are thinner and consume less energy than LCD and plasma display panels — the technologies most commonly used for the current generation of flat-panel televisions.

Because of the steeply falling prices of flat panel TV sets, there had been some doubt whether SED technology would be commercially viable in the turbulent global TV marketplace; however, Kazunori Fukuma, president of the joint venture SED, said last week that SED production would start by the end of next year, with full-scale output beginning in 2008.

Last March, Canon and Toshiba delayed the launch of SED technology by more than a year to improve the cost competitiveness of the technology. Since then, analysts have expressed doubts that SED could survive in an environment of constant price erosion and exploding production capacity of competitive technologies.