UPDATED: Sony Australia has resorted to massive discounting weeks out from the end of their financial year. Among the products to have been slashed in price is Sony’s 11-inch OLED TV, which has been cut in price from $6999 to $2999 at Sony Central stores in Sydney.
18 months ago, Sony Australia was bragging about its OLED technology. This week the company stopped selling its 11-inch XEL-1 OLED TV in Japan with Sony Australia now moving to shift the 65 models it bought into Australia through massive discounting.
Sony Australia insiders have told ChannelNews that once the current OLED TV stock is cleared no new product will be shipped. A sales executive at a Sony Central store in Sydney said “The Sony OLED TV has not sold well we are selling out the stock that Sony currently has and we are told that no new OLED product will be available in Australia. The 11-inch XEL-1 OLED screen was initally on sale for $6,999 we are trying to shift the stock at the moment but even with a big discount it is difficult”.
The 11-inch XEL-1 was the first OLED television to market in late 2007 and Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s chairman and chief executive, heralded it as evidence of Sony’s innovative capabilities.
The Financial Times in the UK said that topping sales of the XEL-1 without launching a long-promised 27-inch successor suggests that OLED will not be the device to rescue Sony’s struggling television business.
Sony Australia, which is tipped to announce a downturn in profits and revenue this year, is set to launch its 3D TV range next week. The company is also attempting to claw back TV market share by discounting out old Sony flat-panel TV models, with the company offering retailers higher incentives to sell a Sony-branded Bravia TV over other models.
Around the world, consumers have deserted the Sony Bravia brand after the company moved to third-party manufacturers, with some Bravia TVs now incorporating 100 per cent non-Sony components.
Observers claim that Sony has hit problems with mass production of OLED TVs, which it makes by depositing a layer of chemicals on to a glass panel. However, the company is struggling to control the thickness of this layer, resulting in a high defect rate, a low yield from the production line and higher costs.
There is also an industry-wide problem with making the screens bigger. Companies are working on a solution that involves spraying OLED chemicals onto the glass like an inkjet printer.
At the recent CES, Sony showed several OLED TVs, claiming that in the future it will manufacture TVs using OLED as an alternative display technology to Plasma and LCD TVs.
“Not only are we continuing development of mid- and large-sized OLED panels for TVs, but we also see potential for application of OLED in other devices,” the company said.
Almost every large television maker is working on OLEDs and Sony’s rivals in Korea and Taiwan are catching up. Last year, LG of Korea launched a 15-inch version of the television.