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Sony Promotes UHDTV Over OLED TV After Reporting Weak Financials

Due to significant losses at Sony, the company has decided to suspend development of OLED TVs and instead is pushing forward with UHDTV production.

Sony is currently the leading seller of 4K TVs globally.TOKYO — There was a time when Sony, in a joint venture with Panasonic, touted OLED television as the next generation of super sharp viewing experiences. The companies stated goal in 2012 was to establish mass-production technology for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels by 2013. Eighteen months later, Panasonic dropped out, stating its intention to focus on UHDTV (4K) television production.

Now, according to the Nikkei Asian Review website, due to significant losses at Sony (in its latest earnings report, the company reported a net loss of $1.246 billion during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014), Sony too has decided to suspend development of OLED TVs and instead is pushing forward with UHDTV production—as it represents the best potential for sales (The CEA predicts more than one million UHDTV sets sold by the end of next year).

OLED televisions can be as thin as 4 millimeters (0.16 inches) and produce sharper images than current liquid-crystal-display (LCD) models. Shipments of OLED TVs were predicted to grow to 2.1 million sets in 2015 from 34,000 in 2012, according to Englewood, Colorado-based market research firm iSuppli.

The Nikkei Asian Review said Sony has not seen significant sales for its OLED TVs, while it is the leading seller of 4K TVs globally; accounting for more than 20 percent of all shipments in 2013. Sony will introduce eight new UHDTV TVs this year, more than double the number of last year, and hopes to quadruple sales this fiscal year. This means that 4K will make up 40-50 percent of Sony's total lineup of large flat-panel TVs, compared with the 10-20 percent ratio of its last business year.

Sony will reportedly now reassign employees working on OLED technology at its Atsugi Technology Center to work on development of 4K-related products. At the same time, Nikkei Asian Review said, the company, responding to its dire financial state, will begin to cut costs in order to turn its TV business around. That includes plans to slash labor expenses for consumer electronics products by more than 20 percent.