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Sony to Unveil First OLED TV Dec. 1

After years of research and months of speculation in the industry, Sony will begin shipping its first OLED (organic light emitting diode) TV units starting with its 11-inch XEL-1 model Dec. 1, the company said—just in time for the holiday season. Until now, Sony’s rollout of HD products has focused on its Bravia brand of large-screen LCD monitors, but smaller-screen OLED products will begin to enter the picture from Sony (soon to be followed by Toshiba and Samsung).

OLED technology is centered on electro-luminescent organic material that permits screens to be extremely thin (only about one-eighth inch), especially compared to typical LED and plasma displays. The emerging organic technology also permits enhanced brightness and color ranges, as well as a relatively rapid response time.

Sony also is experimenting on a 27-inch OLED prototype display (1024 x 600) with a contrast ratio it says is 1,000,000: 1. Sony’s work in early organic technology began more than 13 years ago.

Toshiba and Samsung also are planning to introduce OLED displays (perhaps in time for the holiday season) which may be larger than Sony’s 11-inch model. Market analyst DisplaySearch recently predicted that 3 million OLED TV sets will be shipped by 2011.

(For more details on OLED and other nanotechnology, see the Oct. 3 edition of TV Technology.)