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The flat screen battle is hotting up with vendors now committing dollars to OLED TV production. Many believe that it is technology that will replace current plasma and LCD TVs due to its improved quality output.

In what looks set to become the technology that will eventually replace LCD and Plasma, Samsung has announced that it will produce a 40in OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV by 2010.

Samsung is part of a growing band of manufacturers supporting the new technology, which offers the promise of screens that not only look around 10 times sharper than LCD or Plasma but also uses far less energy. A contrast ratio of 1,000,000 to 1 far exceeds anything existing technologies can offer and video relay 1,000 times faster than LCD promises blur free fast action pictures.

OLED technology is based on organic materials which emit light naturally after an electrical charge is passed through them. The result is a device which uses around 40% less power than a traditional LCD TV.

Samsung’s executive vice president, Ho Kyoon Chung recently gave the clearest insight yet into how the technology might develop, stating “Following small panels used in 2007, 3.5 to 7-inch panels will be applied to ultra mobile PCs, for example, in 2008. Then we will realise 14, 15 and 21-inch panels in 2009 and large 40 to 42-inch full HD OLED TVs in 2010.”

Samsung joins big industry players like Sony who are developing OLED displays and Toshiba who plan to sell a 30in OLED TV by 2009.OLED technology has been teasing the market for years, looking both tantalizingly close and remotely distant all at once. Given the technology’s achingly slow ramp, there have been questions about whether OLED displays could ever be produced cheaply enough to compete with LCDs on price without compromising the display advancements that give OLED an edge over LCD.

 

According to Samsung SDI CTO Ho Kyoon Chung, OLED is poised to be the third major revolution in mobile display technology (the jump from monochrome to color and the introduction of high-resolution TFT screens were the first two). The ramp will still take several years, so don’t expect to see 40″ OLED screens on the market in time for Christmas next year, but the technology is coming.

Samsung began volume production of OLED screens in September of this year and is currently building 1.5 million two inch screens per month, with plans to increase that number to three million screens in 2008. Samsung also plans to increase screen size in 2008, and will offer 3.5-7 inch panels over the same time period. By 2009, the electronics manufacturer believes it will be building 14-21 inch panels, with 40-42 inch HDTV OLED panels online by 2010. Samsung also plans to have a flexible OLED screen available by 2012 “at the latest” and has set a goal of one euro cent per lumen as a price target.

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