It’s superior to LCD and plasma and is the width of a 20 cent coin. It also delivers picture quality up to 10 times better than current LCD TVs. Welcome to a new Sony TV revolution that could well do for Sony what the iPod did for Apple.
The simple beauty of its slim appearance has wowed the world’s techno-geeks given the evidence of the early reaction to images on gadget websites.
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But it also boasts technological advances which mean the image is far superior to LCD and plasma screens.
The world first Organic Light-Emitting Diode(OLED) TV has a contrast rating of 1,000,000 to 1, which produces amazingly sharp images.
This is about ten times sharper than most LCD screens. The first OLEDs to reach consumers has an 11-inch screen, which is attached via a hinged arm to a stylish black TV tuner.
However, this is just the beginning for a new generation of ultra-thin TVs that Sony believes will set the standard for the next generation of home entertainment.
The OLED TV – called XEL-1 – will go on sale in Japan for 200,000 yen A$2,000 before Christmas. A roll-out to other nations will come over the next five years.
The XEL-1 uses new display technology based on organic materials which emit light naturally, once an electric charge is passed through them, rather than being back-lit as in LCD and Plasma screens.
The reduced need to back-light the screen means the sets use up to 40 per cent less energy. It can also relay video 1,000 times faster than liquid crystal displays, eliminating the blur which is common when watching sport, such as football.
Sony, which has movie and music as well as video-game businesses, fell behind rivals when there was an explosion in demand for flat screen TVs, rather than the old-style cathode ray.
As a result, it was forced to rely on a manufacturing partnership with rival rival Samsung, of South Korea, to provide Sony branded LCDs.
The company no longer makes plasma display TVs at all, having found it difficult to compete with Japanese rival Matsushita, which makes the Panasonic brand.
Sony President Ryoji Chubachi, in a rare appearance for a product launch, said the new TV answers criticism that Sony had failed to translate its technological prowess into attractive consumer products.
Speaking at the firm’s Tokyo headquarters, he said: “The world’s first OLED TV is a symbol of the rebirth of Sony with its superb technology.”
The new TV was unveiled showing video of skyscraper lights at night, the shimmery fish skin of sushi and sparkling drink being poured into a glass to highlight its vivid imagery. While the screens are a great advance, OLED TVs won’t replace LCD TVs until they become available in bigger sizes and cheaper. One other drawback is that the screens have a limited lifespan.
The new OLED TV will last 30,000 hours, about 10 years for someone using the TV eight hours a day. By contrast, an equivalent Sony LCD TV lasts twice that long.
The set is also relatively expensive when set against similar LCD screens. However, the $2000 price tag is not so large that it will not be able to capture a large number of buyers.
The set has received a positive reaction. However, a number of technology experts questioned the fact that the screen is attached to the tuner.
This means it has to be placed on a table, rather than being hung on the wall like a work of art. However, future versions of the screen will not have this drawback.