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Sony, Panasonic team up on OLED displays

Sony, Panasonic team up on OLED displays

Sony and Panasonic have teamed up on OLED technology, starting with HDTV sets and hopefully bringing the ultra-fast high-contrast tech to computer monitors in the near future.

Sony and Panasonic have announced a partnership to bring organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology to large-format displays, paving the way for high-contrast ultra-slim televisions and computer monitors.

OLED technology is a common sight in the smartphone world, but the translation to large-format displays has been slow. Back in 2007 Sony announced the world's first commercially available OLED TV, but it cost a whopping $2,000 (around £1,283 excluding taxes) and measured just 11 inches diagonally. Despite its disappointing size, the set demonstrated just what was possible using OLED technology: Sony's TV was a mere 3mm thick and offered black levels still unreachable by even the best IPS LCD displays on the market today.

Unlike liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), OLED displays provide their own light. Without a backlight, displays are slimmer - hence Sony's 3mm-thick set from 2007 - and draw less power. More importantly, the lack of a backlight means that black portions of the display are significantly darker than with LCD technology, bringing a contrast ratio back to TVs that hasn't been seen since the departure of cathode-ray tubes (CRTs.)

OLED displays also boast improved viewing angles, sub-millisecond response times - a critical feature for gaming, reducing ghosting and smearing effects caused by fast motion - and a wide colour gamut. The technology also lends itself to transparent and flexible displays, although this is more important in the field of mobile devices than on the desk.

Sadly, OLED technology stalled shortly after Sony's 2007 announcement. Issues with complex manufacturing and component decay rates - with the blue OLED components degrading significantly more rapidly than the green and red versions - mean that the technology has been largely confined to small-format displays like smartphones and electronic viewfinders.

This year, however, manufacturers have been stepping forward to say the problems are solved and OLED is heading to the living room and the desk. Both Samsung and LG have shown off large-scale 55in HDTVs based on OLED technology, but Sony has been surprising in its absence.

Today's partnership announcement looks to change that. With Sony's experience in OLED technology and Panasonic's manufacturing base - Sony, incidentally, not making the LCD panels for its own displays but buying in panels from external manufacturers like Samsung and Sharp - the pair reckon they can offer competition to the Korean giants and bring the cost of OLED technology down to an affordable level.

So far, however, neither company has announced a date for commercial availability of large-format OLED panels - meaning the initial flood into the home theatre market will belong entirely to Samsung and LG, who have indicated that their 55in OLED HDTVs will cost around five times that of an equivalent LCD TV.

14 Comments

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SpAceman 25th June 2012, 13:38 Quote
I would be throwing my money at the screen but I don't think I have enough
Blademrk 25th June 2012, 14:26 Quote
Quote:
Sadly, OLED technology stalled shortly after Sony's 2007 announcement. Issues with complex manufacturing and component decay rates - with the blue OLED components degrading significantly more rapidly than the green and red versions

I had a Sony/Fossil watch that had a blue OLED display, the display only lasted just over a year. I think I'd have to wait a while just to make sure the displays will last longer than the warrenty.
greigaitken 25th June 2012, 14:47 Quote
but i'm happy with my dell's contrast as it is - it's more pixels i'm after, get me more pixels! Cant believe you apple guys have more pixels than me.
Aracos 25th June 2012, 16:27 Quote
Bring it on! I want my incredible contrast ratio! My phone is so sexy for it.
sotu1 25th June 2012, 16:38 Quote
I thought Sony ditched their TV division?
faugusztin 25th June 2012, 16:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by greigaitken
but i'm happy with my dell's contrast as it is - it's more pixels i'm after, get me more pixels! Cant believe you apple guys have more pixels than me.

So you don't mind that black is dark grey ?
Star*Dagger 25th June 2012, 17:07 Quote
Id like to see the maximum monitor size go higher than 30 inches. I have three 30 inchers and would like to have them at least around 36 inches each, with 4k resolution each.

Yours in Absurd Awesome Gaming Plasma,
Star*Dagger
faugusztin 25th June 2012, 17:09 Quote
@Dagger: high resolution, maybe sometime in 2015. Bigger monitors than 30" ? Not likely.
Beasteh 25th June 2012, 21:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
Id like to see the maximum monitor size go higher than 30 inches. I have three 30 inchers and would like to have them at least around 36 inches each, with 4k resolution each.

Would one 55" 4K TV do the job? Yours for a mere £7000 :o

http://www.whathifi.com/review/toshiba-55zl2
Elton 25th June 2012, 21:41 Quote
Monitors beyond 30" are more than impractical. However a higher resolution isn't.

That said, I've seen 60" monitors, but they had terrible pixel pitch. What should be fascinating is how the yields translate on large format displays. Because on a small scale AMOLEDs aren't bad. It's just that yields for displays are lower the larger the panel.
Pricester 26th June 2012, 08:08 Quote
Bring back the 1200px high monitors. I sit about 12 to 18 inches away from my monitor when working or gaming, so I don't want a 30" beast on my desk - I'd actually have to move my head to look from one side of it to the other! However, it drives me mad that it's so hard (well, expensive) now to get any monitors that are more than 1080px high - that extra 120px may not be much, but for me that's basically a toolbar at the top of the screen, and the Windows taskbar at the bottom, which effectively I've lost because of the modern 16:9 ratios.

Also, I'm boycotting PC world and the like until they start including resolutions of monitors on their shelf-edge labels, instead of just the physical size.
Gareth Halfacree 26th June 2012, 09:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricester
Bring back the 1200px high monitors. I sit about 12 to 18 inches away from my monitor when working or gaming, so I don't want a 30" beast on my desk - I'd actually have to move my head to look from one side of it to the other! However, it drives me mad that it's so hard (well, expensive) now to get any monitors that are more than 1080px high - that extra 120px may not be much, but for me that's basically a toolbar at the top of the screen, and the Windows taskbar at the bottom, which effectively I've lost because of the modern 16:9 ratios.
This. I only moved from a 5:4 because it blew up, and I made sure my replacement was a 1920x1200 rather than the cheaper 1920x1080. (I would have preferred an even higher resolution, but the budget disagreed.)
nmunky 26th June 2012, 10:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricester
Bring back the 1200px high monitors. I sit about 12 to 18 inches away from my monitor when working or gaming, so I don't want a 30" beast on my desk - I'd actually have to move my head to look from one side of it to the other! However, it drives me mad that it's so hard (well, expensive) now to get any monitors that are more than 1080px high - that extra 120px may not be much, but for me that's basically a toolbar at the top of the screen, and the Windows taskbar at the bottom, which effectively I've lost because of the modern 16:9 ratios.

Also, I'm boycotting PC world and the like until they start including resolutions of monitors on their shelf-edge labels, instead of just the physical size.

Ugh, you're absolutely right. PC World irritates the cr@p out of me with how they try to dumb things down. Rather than making a computer store for the everyman, they're keeping people in the dark and promoting consumer ignorance.

This is particularly bad instore where you hear the staff blagging customers as if they were new car salesmen. Nobody needs a core i7 over i3 just for email and web surfing.

Mind you, I'm probably biased since I never got over my irritation with them for being informed in a patronising tone some years back that PCI IDE expansion cards didn't exist because "computers can't have more than 2 disk drives, you don't know what you're talking about mate".

Yes, I am an angry old man.
Phil Rhodes 26th June 2012, 12:02 Quote
The stupidity and incompetence of PC World staff is the stuff of legend.

OLED displays, though, are awesome and fantabutastic - they're already quite commonly used in film and TV work, where the contrast ratio is worth paying for. Strictly speaking, anyone with a lot of money could already go and buy a Sony BVM-E250, which is a 24.5" OLED and has HDMI inputs. They do cost about £20k, though. They're also about six or eight inches deep and weigh a ton.

I currently use two Dell 2405s and like them enough that I'm looking for another. The difference between these really rather high contrast TFTs and an OLED is in the off axis viewing, but from square on, it isn't exactly night and day.
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