Super-thin TV goes on view in Japan

Electronics giant Sony today unveiled a wafer-thin TV, the first on market to use an organic light-emitting diode display.

Electronics giant Sony today unveiled a wafer-thin TV, the first on market to use an organic light-emitting diode display.

The 11-inch screen TV is just 3 millimetres thick, about the same as a coin.

Called XEL-1, it is set to go on sale in Japan in December for around £850. Plans for overseas sales are still undecided the company said.

The XEL-1 uses new light-emitting display technology called OLED based on electroluminescent organic materials to deliver clear image quality, even for the colour black and a metallic sheen.

Sony officials said the technology is superior to liquid crystal (LCD) and plasma displays, now widely used in thin TVs, because OLED technology uses materials that emit light on their own and do not require a back light.

It can also relay video 1,000 times faster than LCDs, eliminating their blur, and reduces energy consumption by 40%, according to Sony.

Sony, which has movie and music as well as video-game businesses, fell behind rivals in display TVs and now makes LCD TVs in a partnership with rival Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea.

Sony Executive Deputy President Katsumi Ihara said the new TV’s importance may be more about corporate image than real sales. OLED TV’s won’t replace LCD TVs until they become available in bigger sizes and cheaper pricing, he said.

Prices have plunged in thin TVs, and a small LCD TV sells for about the tenth of the price of the XEL-1, although prices vary.

Other companies, including Samsung, are working on OLED technology. Besides pricing, another obstacle to putting OLED in a commercial product has been its life span.

The new OLED TV will last 30,000 hours, about 10 years for someone using the TV eight hours a day. An equivalent Sony LCD TV lasts twice that long.

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