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Is OLED TV Technology In Jeopardy?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-i-think-trebek-still-uses-lcds dept.

Displays 99

MojoKid writes "Sony recently announced it would halt sales of its 11" OLED TV in Japan, where the panel first debuted. For now, the XEL-1 will remain on sale in the US and other markets, but Sony's decision to kill the unit in its home market and reduce the rate at which it's investing in future OLED TV development has been perceived in some corners as a judgment on the long-term feasibility of OLED technology. In the wake of Sony's announcement, far too many pundits have rushed to declare OLED panels dead, dying, moribund, or otherwise abandoned. However, it seems more likely at this juncture that we'll see development focus shift from large panel sizes to smaller ones, particularly since the smartphone/handheld OLED market is growing briskly and larger screens are inherently more prone to defects. Sadly, this means that your chance of traipsing home with a truly cutting-edge display before 2014 or so could be pretty minimal."

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It's a Sony product huh? (1, Insightful)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218296)

Who wants to bet it is overpriced, has lots of restrictions, and Sony wants too much to liscense the technology.

Alas Sony, you have great ideas. Why do you always sabotage yourself?

Re:It's a Sony product huh? (1, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218516)

Another case of the best engineers crippled by the worst management.

Re:It's a Sony product huh? (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218904)

How so? The technology just wasn't there for a mass-marked product when this TV was being designed. It's had its run, and not it's time for it to retire. The only difference from the regular product lifecycle is that they don't have a follow up yet, but as far as I know Sony isn't abandoning OLED.

Re:It's a Sony product huh? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224480)

What makes you so sure their engineers aren't crap too?

Re:It's a Sony product huh? (2, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#31222830)

For fucks sake they invested and first developed and sold the technology. Credit where credit is due.
Just because you have a personal grudge against the company doesn't mean you have to bash everything they do. New technology is expensive.

If so what instead? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218304)

I'm sick of backlit LCDs.
CNT and Diamond tech seems to have vanished from the news completely.

OLED is/was nice but a thin display without native rez, and CRT colour quality is still my dream, and they were promised what, 7 years ago now?

I don't mind if they want to drop OLED as long as they're going to be ramping up production on something better hard and fast instead of squeezing the life out of LED. LED is ok as it got cheap, but it is not great technology for a lot of uses.

Re:If so what instead? (0, Flamebait)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218388)

I don't think flatpanel technology is going anywhere anytime soon. Why would anybody want to give up a technology where they've basically convinced the consumer to voluntarily spend more money on an inferior product AND pay a premium for inherently smaller screens?

Re:If so what instead? (4, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218404)

a thin display without native rez, and CRT colour quality is still my dream, and they were promised what, 7 years ago now?

Don't worry, your flying car will have one on the instrument panel.

Re:If so what instead? (4, Interesting)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218586)

I would rather have dial gauges in my flying car, because any display capable of showing advertising eventually will.

Re:If so what instead? (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219450)

You make it sound like advertising is a bad thing.

Re:If so what instead? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219876)

I've done some calculations... and your UID was created approximately when those X10 ads were everywhere. Coincidence?

Re:If so what instead? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220032)

I bet he means it. I certainly would.

Re:If so what instead? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220050)

In my opinion, it is. Keep that shit away from me.

There will be no more variable resolution displays (3, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218562)

but a thin display without native rez, and CRT colour quality is still my dream

The variable resolution of CRT was a technological artifact, resulting from the NEED to scan across the display. We no longer have that need.

Going forward all consumer displays(in foreseeable future) will have a set, native resolution.

You get a sharper display, and you get perfect geometry. I will take that over blurry/variable geometry CRT any day.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219020)

CRTs also had a native rez too, it just wasn't as hard a mark. Any pro CRT, and most consumer ones, would have a recommended resolution. That wasn't for nothing. That was the rez at which is functioned best. You'd get the over all clearest image. Go too much above it, and pixels would get blurry and indistinct. Go too much below it and you'd see scanlines and such.

This is also much less of an issue with today's video cards. They can easily drive high rez displays, usually even cheap ones can handle it. The ability to knock down your resolution was something more useful when graphics memory was at a premium. That is no longer the case.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31223434)

No, the problem was that people had a display capable upwards of 1600x1200, but it was only 17" across diagonally, with a 15" viewable area. That's beyond the limits of daily usage for most people > 30 years old. Nowadays 21" ( viewable ) and up is readily common on the desktop. With 1680x1050 you've actually got about 4% fewer pixels on a screen that's arguably 80% larger. That's why people aren't shrinking their resolution down from the "native" resolution of the CRT. You can actually see the damn pixels now.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224736)

You can actually see the damn pixels now.

I prefer displays where I can't see the damn pixels, it makes it seem like the manufacturer has tried to make viewing a more pleasant experience. I would prefer a 125+dpi display with the same number of pixels over a larger display with fewer pixels.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224810)

1995 Called. You can have your CRT back.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238984)

1995 Called. You can have your CRT back.

I still have it, used for adjusting colours in photos at the moment. It's from 1999, but you're close enough.

I prefer my current laptop for resolution though. It's 105dpi, but with sub-pixel rendering in the horizontal direction (effectively tripling the resolution), that's plenty fine for most of the things I do.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219294)

Both CNT and the kind of similar Diamond tech promised CRT-like no native rez however, and the ease-on-the-eye of LCD, but with CRT colour.
Though yes I am well aware of recommended resolutions of CRT's they still other resolutions far better than scaling on LCD's.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220132)

The sad thing isn't the hard native resolution of LCDs; but the fact that software hasn't caught up to that yet.

It is a real issue, particularly for older users or the visually impaired, that a 21inch CRT driven at 800x600, or some similarly low resolution will look pretty much fine, while a 20inch LCD panel will look like a blocky, badly scaled, mess. This is only because resolution independence isn't really Quite There Yet for most software. Sure, you can change the DPI settings; but that will break a host of legacy crap, and have no effect whatsoever on things like certain games that draw their own entirely custom interfaces.

Once the resolution independent vector-goodness finally filters down to the point of being actually usable in real world software setups, "native resolution" will no longer matter in the slightest, except as defining the upper bound for a given monitor.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224158)

If PC vendors would just stop using crappy Intel embedded graphics, we could finally move on to fully vectorized and virtual textured interfaces.

It completely floors me that vector graphics is still not fully standard throughout the computer industry.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224558)

Hi.

While you were out, NeXT called from 20 years ago. They say their Display Postscript might be just the trick.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1, Offtopic)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31221022)

The thing that bugs the shit out of me right now is stuff like Clear Type and whatever the default font Microsoft uses for Word 2007 now. It seriously looks like it would work better on a CRT moniter - on LCD's it looks like a blurry mess! It's SUPER anti-aliased, when LCD's provide you nothing if not crisp, perfectly aligned geometry - which looks TERRIBAD with this fuzzy font.

Anymore, the first thing I do when I open a new word doc for editing is switch the font to Arial or something other than the Calibri default.

If anyone knows how to fix that, be my guest and enlighten me, but I've tried all the built in calibration tools - you go through them and they look great at the end, but then back to word and just ugh, a fuzzy mess.

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31223988)

I'd say something is wrong with your display...... ClearType *can't* work on a CRT.. apples and oranges.

What make/model of monitor do you have?

Re:There will be no more variable resolution displ (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224906)

Excuse me? ClearType is a rip-off of Apple's (and many other vendors of the day) technique for anti-aliasing fonts on a CRT screen - otherwise known as Displaced Filtering. MS white papers have some of the same pixel diagrams and even reference SIGGRAPH 80 papers (from when LCD screens didn't even exist). ClearType is a (marginally) incremental improvement, it's definitely not a new technique.

Re:If so what instead? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31225034)

I think you will find that OLED has come under attack from LCD LED, a two layer screen, LCD layer for colour, white LED for light, one led for each LCD set (three colours plus white). So a series of additional steps in the manufacture of LCD panels to incorporate LEDs within the panel versus a complete new production plant for OLED panels.

Of course the dream of flexible roll up monitors is now further away. Of course when you think about incorporating LEDs in the LCD panels, it looks so sensible it is a wonder it hasn't been done yet, but then it is the old patent stretch, keeping out technology whilst you maximise profits, a good example of this is of course near dead texas instruments DLP.

Jeopardy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218328)

At first I thought this article meant that OLEDs were actually the curved display panels in the Jeopardy TV show.

Stop confusing me, Slashdot.

Re:Jeopardy (1, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218542)

Sean Connery: I'll take Anal Bum Cover for $200.
Alex Trebek: (sigh) ....No, that's "An Album Cover".

Re:Jeopardy (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218698)

"I have to ask you... about the Penis Mightier."

Re:Jeopardy (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218624)

At first I thought this article meant that OLEDs were actually the curved display panels in the Jeopardy TV show.

What's even more confusing is that it would be so plausible, especially because Sony distributes Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

Re:Jeopardy (3, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218746)

I'll take "Doomed visual display technologies" for $500, Alex.

Re:Jeopardy (1)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 4 years ago | (#31223474)

Yeah, I only came here to post this: "What is, No? Does not Jeopardy still use CRT monitors?"

And Plasma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218370)

Blah Blah, Heard the same for plasma a few year ago.

Re:And Plasma (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218472)

Who is saying OLED is dead anyway? Are "Online Pundits" some random guy on a message board? Because I couldn't find any talk about it on google news. Trolling for hits I guess.

Re:And Plasma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218510)

Oh I see. IGN.com. That explains it.

Or maybe ... (4, Informative)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218372)

LCD LED and Plasma TVs are (so) good enough for everyone, people currently don't want to spend kilobucks on technology that's not even ready from prime time (OLED TVs some nasty problems [wikipedia.org] )? Be patient, gentlemen.

Re:Or maybe ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218602)

While true, if this was the thought we wouldn't have '3D' looming on the horizon.

Re:Or maybe ... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218882)

Agreed, perfectly.

OTOH, I still use a CRT on my desktop that's almost as big as the CRT television in my living room. Both are well over 10 years old, and still ticking along very nicely, with perfect brightness and sharpness (I originally bought the desktop monitor because you couldn't color-calibrate LCD's back in the day).

I might get around to buying a plasma or LCD TV here in the next few months, and likely a new iMac before the end of the year, but I figure there's not much need to toss out perfectly working gear that has plenty of viewable real-estate (plus the ROI on the things have been fantastic - the monitor has out-lasted about ten different computers, and the KVM it's latched on to has out-lasted about four of them).

Question is, will the new televisions/monitors last as long as a typical CRT? I've seen working television sets that have been around for 20-30 years, and yet they still chug along as if they were new - in spite of being generally neglected and probably packed full of dust bunnies.

Re:Or maybe ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31221416)

well

In 2007, experimental OLEDs were created which can sustain 400 cd/m of luminance for over 198,000 hours for green OLEDs and 62,000 hours for blue OLEDs.

So if I leave the TV on 24/7 it will only last 7 years....... My last 2 TV's did not last that long. So I can live with that (and they did not run 24/7, so 62.000 hours is plenty of time for me)

Re:Or maybe ... (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31221698)

OLED got some very nice properties over LCD and plasma screens, but I think the LED backlight was the killer. For the prices we're talking here, you can have a bunch of them selectively backlighting or not backlighting the screen. There's some trickery to this true, but if you look at some of the new LCDs out like this [expertreviews.co.uk] it says "a 240-block local dimming LED backlight". At that point you're starting to fake it rather well, with a dynamic contrast in the millions rather than in the thousands.

size, not technology (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218378)

Sony's decision to kill the unit in its home market and reduce the rate at which it's investing in future OLED TV development has been perceived in some corners as a judgment on the long-term feasibility of OLED technology

No, it was a judgment in how stupid they were to come out with an ultra-premium-price 11" TV.

I understand that the Japanese are space-conscious, but 11" is a ridiculous size, especially in the day of 1080i broadcasts.

Sony came out with the 11" because that was the largest they could reasonably manufacture, but they forgot that it doesn't matter how cool the TV is if you can't see the damn thing. This one was so small, it'd practically have to be on your nightstand to watch it in bed. Maybe on your desk? Who wants to have an 11" TV on their desk when they have a 20" LCD display, or a 15" laptop display?

If they come out with an OLED set at a price that AV enthusiasts can afford at a size at least some people can use, they'll sell.

Re:size, not technology (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218482)

You're point stands, but the resolution and size dictate how far away you sit. 11" is probably just about right for watching HD TV on like a bus or a train, just not for in home viewing. More of a mismarketing than anything else.

Re:size, not technology (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219572)

A small display close to your face is more uncomfortable than a large one far away, because your eyes need to focus close (eyes are relaxed when focused at infinity). Reading glasses only partially solve the problem - while the iris will be relaxed, your eyes still need to point inwards (i.e. cross-eyed) because the object is close (with the object far away, eyes point forwards).

The best type of display would be one which lets your eyes relax.

Re:size, not technology (4, Interesting)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218492)

Don't forget the main problem, that the 11" TV cost like $2000. It was the first commercially available OLED TV, a limited production tech demo basically. As you say, 11" is really small, that's about the size of my laptops's screen and I can't imagine many scenarios where watching it from further than say a meter away is a good idea.

OLED seems to be making good progress for in smaller devices, it was only recently that only a few Kodak cameras and and tiny MP3 players had OLED screens, but now they're many of the new phones as well. It seems that we're moving up in size, so hopefully we'll see further increases in screen dimensions. The article even mentions the upcoming 15" LG TV, and although at around two grand it's still too expensive, at least we're getting there size wise. In any case, screw TVs - I want OLED computer monitors, which are luckily very usable even once you get to around 20".

Re:size, not technology (3, Interesting)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218528)

In any case, screw TVs - I want OLED computer monitors, which are luckily very usable even once you get to around 20".

You won't get those.

Unless something drastically changes, which I highly doubt, OLED monitors just won't happen. OLED is extremely susceptible to burn-in, thus unsuitable for computer displays.

Re:size, not technology (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218612)

So were plasma panels, and LCD though..

Technologies change and get better. Since OLED is a technology that once printable like newspaper will be cheaper than manufacturing LCD panels, even with worse reliability they will find their way first as a cheap solution (yup, even for TV's possibly), and than will improve and make their way into more expensive and reliable devices..

Re:size, not technology (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224978)

Since OLED is a technology that once printable like newspaper will be cheaper than manufacturing LCD panels, even with worse reliability they will find their way first as a cheap solution

That's not strictly correct. The OLED polymer layers responsible for emitting the red/green/blue light are in fact printable, but they still have to be printed on top of a TFT semiconductor backplane (virtually the same as in an LCD panel). Because of the TFT backplane they'll never get (much) cheaper than equivalent sized LCD panel.

Re:size, not technology (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218834)

Damn, somehow I never thought about this. I'm well aware of the fact that different colors get dimmer at different rates, but of course this is also relevant for the more traditional burn-in problems. If most of the screen is taken up by a dark wallpaper and a bunch of terminal windows, the bright taskbar and other windows will burn out their pixes much faster. Maybe there has been some advance on this though, Samsung apparently plans to release and OLED-equipped laptop by the end of the year, so I guess we'll see how this works out.

In the meantime, it should be possible to just connect one of the TVs through HDMI or whatever digital input they support and see how that works. Anybody has an extra twenty benjamins to try this and report the experience?

Re:size, not technology (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218982)

Depends, that may be something that can be mitigated. After all CRTs were extremely susceptible to burn in, but they seem to have dealt with it. The final generation of high end monitors seemed to be nearly totally immune. As far as I can tell they did it in part by having the display never be totally black. The guns would hit all the phosphors and perhaps that kept them decaying at a more constant rate.

However at present, Blue Phase Mode LCDs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Phase_Mode_LCD) look more promising to me.

Re:size, not technology (2, Interesting)

jtcampbell (199660) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220096)

Indeed. One thing people are doing now is building optical feedback into every pixel, so as the OLED material ages more current is pushed through it to keep the brightness the same.

Re:size, not technology (1)

yk4ever (1110821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219650)

> OLED is extremely susceptible to burn-in, thus unsuitable for computer displays.

If they will be affordable enough, they can be replaced every 3-5 years.

Re:size, not technology (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 4 years ago | (#31222444)

In any case, screw TVs - I want OLED computer monitors, which are luckily very usable even once you get to around 20".

You won't get those.

Unless something drastically changes, which I highly doubt, OLED monitors just won't happen. OLED is extremely susceptible to burn-in, thus unsuitable for computer displays.

Exactly. The biggest problem facing OLED displays is the poor lifetime. With a phone, if it's junk after a few years, that's cool cause you usually end up replacing the damn thing anyways. Do you want to replace the display on your computer once every 4 years or so? I think not.

Re:size, not technology (2, Interesting)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31223572)

I doubt OLED will make it to monitors any time soon. It'd have to compete with S-IPS, which is far far cheaper.

A Little Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31222154)

Don't you guys remember when LCD flat panel TVs first came out, they were $10,000. I first saw one in a Popular Mechanics article about 12 years ago. Then like anything else, it gets mass produced, the technology evolves, and prices come down.

If anyone has seen the Sony 11" OLED in person, you know how gorgeous it is. I dream of owning a full size version for the prices we pay for LCD tech today, but like everything else, it just takes time.

Not to mention the exciting possibilities of FOLED and TOLED (flexibility, transparency)...

Re:size, not technology (2, Interesting)

theskipper (461997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220534)

One of the problems is that Sony's unit was based on lower IQE fluorescent OLED . Which required lots of heatsinking and precludes larger sizes than, say, 15". Phosphorescent OLED is where the true future of OLED lies and both LG and Samsung are using Universal Display's PHOLED red right now as a hybrid with fluorescent blue (green is imminent, deep blue is still a ways off). It's a matter of getting production going on gen 3.5+ lines and reducing distortion in the masking process.

One other thing, even if larger displays don't pan out, OLED lighting still has huge potential. Maybe even more than the smaller phone and pmp displays that are currently in the Zune and Samsung phones now.

Re:size, not technology (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31227554)

Gee, I can't think of any other use for an OLED display 11 inches across. It's already being used in smaller sizes in phones - what if someone was to come up with a form factor that was slightly larger LIKE A FREAKING TABLET or something

Hmmm (3, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218432)

The XEL-1 is a sub-HD, 11 inch television that cost thousands of dollars. It looks pretty ugly too being the unholy marriage of a super thin display with a hulking base unit containing the technical gubbins.

I'm not surprised if its been withdrawn. It's yesterday's news as far as early adopters might be concerned and they would be the people most inclined to buy it. Besides, the state of the art has moved on and we already know LG are delivering larger, HD capable sets this year and its likely other manufacturers would have similar plans.

Re:Hmmm (4, Informative)

ArwynH (883499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218572)

It was state of the art when it was announced, but the state of the art is always on the move. The reason XEV got pulled is that Sony has decided to spend it's money on RnD instead of fighting over razor thin margins in OLED production. Smart move considering the market conditions.

Make no mistake however, SONY is not surrendering the market, just making a tactical withdrawal. They will be back in a few years time with some new state of the art technology.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219310)

It was state of the art when it was announced, but the state of the art is always on the move.

Well that's a massive overstatement. This thing was state of the art in one very specific dimension: OLED display size. However, when looking at other dimensions, like size, resolution, and appearance (chassis, not display), it was worse than mediocre.

No, the reality is that the advantages of OLED (incredible contrast ratio, excellent colour reproduction, low power draw) weren't enough to justify the cost in the face of all the ways this display fell behind the curve the minute it hit the street.

Re:Hmmm (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220206)

"Retreat, Hell! We're just advancing in another direction."

11 inches?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218444)

Exactly who the hell would want a 11" TV to begin with? The only people that'd need something like this probably couldn't give less of a shit whether it's OLED or not. I don't see any practical applications for such a TV that'd make it sell like hotcakes.

So (4, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218520)

Let me get this straight : I hear that OLED is the "perfect" display tech.

+ Low energy consumption since all the light from the phosphers shines through
+ ultra high refresh rates possible
+ flicker free
+ full 180 degree viewing angle
+ perfect black levels with absolutely no light emmitting from pixels that are off
+ no ghosting at all
+ cheaper to manufacture than LCDs
+ flexible
+ ultra thin

Basically, a perfect display with no drawbacks other than the fact it isn't 3d like the holodeck.

Oh, and the blue pigments fade fast, so the display dims over time and the color balance gets messed up.

Oh, and it isn't being made in large enough quantities to be affordable.

So what's the deal? Why is Sony throwing in the towel now?

Re:So (3, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218628)

um OLED's aren't cheaper to manufacture than LCD's. They will be when full production runs can get going however, the blue problem, and actually mass manufacturing them have proven to be far harder than press release like to say.

It took a good 5 years in LCD's mass manufacturing before dead pixels weren't common.

Re:So (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218744)

They have the potential to be cheaper to manufacture than LCD TVs (because there are less pieces working together), but they aren't yet.

Re:So (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218908)

+ no ghosting at all

There's burn in, due to the short lives of the pixels, especially blue. Technically not ghosting, but there can be a residual image.

For example, if you have a bright blue box in a corner of the display for two hours, and then fill the screen with bright white, you'll see a faint yellowish spot where that box was.

Re:So (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219006)

they're only lower power consuming than LCDs when the image being displayed is mostly black, otherwise they actually use MORE power. they also have burn-in issues that rival old CRTs.

Re:So (5, Informative)

jtcampbell (199660) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220194)

Active matrix OLED displays are actually really hard to manufacture compared to TFT LCDs.

A major issue comes from the fact that the TFT backplane has to supply an appreciable current to each pixel, rather than just a voltage as in LCDs. This means you can't get away with using amorphous silicon, you have to make the backplane out of Polycrystalline silicon which makes the whole production process a lot more complicated and also limits the size of panel that you can make.

Also, you generally you want to run the OLED elements in constant current mode, so you end up needing a current source circuit in each pixel. This increases the number of transistors you need per pixel from 1 or 2 in TFT to between 2 and 6 with OLED. And if any of them has a fault then you've got a dead pixel.

Re:So (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220240)

Why is Sony throwing in the towel now?

They're probably not. This is just speculation.

Sony's decision to kill the unit in its home market and reduce the rate at which it's investing in future OLED TV development has been perceived in some corners as a judgment on the long-term feasibility of OLED technology.

We have the

  • Critique of the Critics
  • Punditry of the Pundits
  • Muck of the Muckrakers
  • Quibbles of the Quibblers

And now introducing: Perception from some corners!

Re:So (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31222036)

Except for flexible/ultra-thin, all those traits apply as well, if not more-so, to DLP tech.

Re:So (3, Informative)

grahamlord86 (1603545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31223624)

The Low power consumption isn't all that... When displaying black, they do use a lot less power than LCDs, but when displaying bright, or white colours, they can be using substantially more.
On practical displays like TVs and computers screens, this is a problem, since you've got a lot of bright colour.
On a PC, you've got mostly white for documents and websites- so all of a sudden, you can actually end up using a lot more power.

The other downer, is that OLEDs are rubbish under sunlight, even by LCD standards.

It might be that with proper RnD, these faults can be sorted out, the power consumption can be lowered to what they say it is, reflective brightness improved, etc- but it makes more sense to be on the LCD bandwagon with everyone else right now, than throw money at a technology that's probably going to be obsolete by the time it's matured...

Who said OLED is dying? (2, Insightful)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218544)

Seriously, who said this? I'm genuinely curious. Are there any reliable sources to back this up, or is it just another sensationalist piece?

Re:Who said OLED is dying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218582)

It's Sunday morning in the USA. There is no "real news" to post at this time.

Re:Who said OLED is dying? (1)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218606)

Netcraft confirms it.

Re:Who said OLED is dying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31226726)

It is official; HotHardware now confirms: OLED is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered OLED industry when HotHardware confirmed that average OLED screen sizes have dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of the TV screens promised by 2010. Coming close on the heels of a recent manufacturer survey which plainly states that OLED has lost more industry support, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. OLED research is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by falling dead last in this year's Consumer Electronics Show demonstrations.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict OLED's future. The hand writing is on the wall: OLED faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for OLED because OLED is dying. Things are looking very bad for OLED. As many of us are already aware, OLED sizes have failed to increase while other technologies are thriving. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

Sony's OLED development is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core researchers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time OLED researchers Akio Morita and Tetsujiro Kondoh only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: OLED is dying.

SONY is almost irrelevant (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218548)

I do not take SONY serious these days. They were the leaders but are a shadow of their former self. SAMSUNG matters to me and the world now.

Heck, from 2005, there was a business lesson for SONY at Samsung. [businessweek.com] For SONY, they had their time and that was decades ago.

Re:SONY is almost irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219012)

I wouldn't call them irrelevant. They seem to be on a mission to shoot themselves in the foot, but they still make some high quality equipment. When it comes to pro audio and video, Samsung is not even close to competing yet.

Legal reasons is what I heard (1)

boticho (1750608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218662)

If I recall correctly, it looks like any new TVs in Japan need to have parental controls since not many weeks ago. Sony does not want to recall the XELs for any firmware upgrade (if it is feasible), so it is just saying that is good enough. Time to rest. You know, two years is already a long time for TV manufacturers. This is the story by engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/16/sony-kills-xel-1-oled-tv-production-in-japan-cites-sluggish-de/ [engadget.com]

Good ridance (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218730)

I got pretty excited about OLED TV when I first heard of it. Almost bought into it. Then I learned how short of a life expectancy OLEDs have, enough that one can expect failing pixels in just a few thousand hours of operation, and rapidly declining after that.

When I put the money asked for into a large screen TV, I want it to last, not be expected to fail in a few thousand hours of operation. This is a technology currently suited to phones and other devices that have a known, limited, expected life of service. It is not well suited for home appliances that are costly and one might hope will last for well over a decade, maybe longer.

quantum effects causing rare earth migration (0, Troll)

lkcl (517947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218764)

the problem is that the rare earth metals on which the nice bright colours rely are migrating to the edges of their cells, on panel sizes of greater than 10cm x 10cm (hence why they can be successfully used in small products like cellphones, where the lifetime of the product is expected to be short).

i've heard of this kind of problem before (a 10cm x 10cm limit) on an unrelated product so it is quite likely that there is a quantum phase transition effect which has not been a) understood b) scientifically properly investigated.

the thing is, rare earth metals were picked because they're supposed to be utterly inert! they're not supposed to move! but it looks like somebody was completely wrong on that, and it hints at some extremely interesting scientific quantum mechanics breakthrough, if only someone could actually work out what the hell it all means.

but basically, it means that the core problem which OLED engineers have been trying to work around (and haven't told you about, because they don't understand it themselves, and it's Not Your Problem Anyway) hasn't been solved in several years, and until it is, OLED technology won't be viable, unless you're happy to pay for a product with a lifetime of about 1,000 hours.

Re:quantum effects causing rare earth migration (1)

MLCT (1148749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31222562)

Source for any of this? Papers?

I am in the game and I have never heard of any of this. Improbable to begin with, but made doubly so by the fact that each pixel is individually evaporated on something like the XEL-1 - so the 10x10 cm is meaningless - each pixel is the maximum active area that anything can migrate out to the edges of.

Smells like total BS to me (tipped off by the "they're not telling you" conspiracy theory line). There are loads more holes in what you said, but I am not wasting time on it.

OLED's not dead yet! (1)

tsmoke (455045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218830)

Sony's expectation for the XEL-1 was never anything other than establishing brand recognition as the leaders in OLED. The truth is that while the display cost ~2500, the manufacturing costs probably were around ~5K as a function of the very lossy shadow mask technology they use for deposition of the organic material. The project was never sustainable, nor intended to be.

The technologies for manufacturing remain very immature, but the major display manufacturers, material developers and equipment vendors are investing major resources into solutions. A better bellweather for display technologies may be the Koreans (Samsung, LG) and the Taiwanese (AUO, etc). These folks are chasing the rabbit pretty hard.

There is also a Silicon Valley startup that is developing an interesting solution named Kateeva [kateeva.com] . Spun out of MIT, the company is developing a solution that marries the material advantages of evaporation with the simplified deposition approach of ink-jet. More information (and video!) at this recent article from Technology Review [technologyreview.com] .

Disclosure: I do have an interest in Kateeva...

It's not ready. (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218832)

It's far to expensive, and at present they can get better performance and better size out of liquid crystals. The XEL-1 sells abysmally, it costs more than a substantially larger screen with comparable quality. No amount of early adopters are going to fix that, and it'd likely be crazy for Sony to push it too hard in a much better economy, forget the one we're in today.

The day will come for OLEDs, just like it came for blue lasers in optical drives(I remember hearing about those when CD drives were still around 4x and DVDs were still pretty rare. There will be a tech break through and the cost will drop, or the limits of liquid crystals will finally be reached and companies will be forced to go to new technology, but it hasn't happened yet.

Who wants an 11" screen?! (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218838)

That's way too small, perhaps thats why people don't want it.

Is Home Video in Jeopardy? (1)

gafisher (865473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218992)

Sony stopped development on the Betamax and ... home video took off like a rocket. OLED or something better will be developed with or without Sony.

Pundits: The cancer of the media. (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219132)

1. Someone does something.
2. The pundits exaggerate it to a end-of-the-world scenario.
3. OMGWTFBBQ
4. ...
5. PROFIT (for the media)

News at 11.

Re:Pundits: The cancer of the media. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31222570)

4. Sell time to advertisers.

Rumors of OLED's death are greatly exaggerated (4, Informative)

doctor_no (214917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219178)

This is being blown out of proportion.

The XEL-1 was discontinued in Japan because new TV sets sold this year will require a "V-chip" parental control, and a $2,000 11" TV doesn't justify a redesign to add that feature. The XEL-1 is still going to be sold in the US and Europe.
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&tl=en&u=av.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20100216_349284.html [google.com]

Also, Sony is still going ahead with their 22B yen ($210M) investment in OLED
http://www.trustedreviews.com/tvs/news/2008/05/22/Sony-Boasts-of-22-Billion-OLED-Investment/p1 [trustedreviews.com]

Moreover, at the 2010 CES Sony just finished showing off a 24.5" OLED set that does 3D.
http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/07/sony-oled-3d-tv-eyes-on/ [engadget.com]

As Mark Twain said, can be applied to OLED, "rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated"

Re:Rumors of OLED's death are greatly exaggerated (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220262)

Some one mod this poster up for having the right answer. It is the blocking chip that is killing it not the display so much. That is why it is still for sale in a few other places. Going after smaller display sizes right now makes sense because it can be done with existing tech and they can charge a higher premium per square inch of display sold. That money and what they learn will get funneled back into larger displays. OLED isn't going any where.

Implication (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219362)

The implication seems to be that Sony is the only one working on this technology for TVs and monitors. Isn't Samsung working on this tech as well, and debuting some stuff this year? I seem to remember seeing other companies doing R&D on OLED on larger displays as well (I wish I had the sources handy). It seems silly to declare a technology dead when a single product is being discontinued.

The word 'Jeopardy' being capitalized threw me off (1)

Draykwing (900431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220322)

My initial reaction was, "So THAT's how they have such narrow borders on the clue displays!"

Reason Sony's OLED TV failed: Bad form factor (1)

marciot (598356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220326)

I think the Sony OLED TV didn't sell was because it was a ridiculous design. Look at the picture:

    http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/techno-techno-techno/css/sony-xel-1-oled.jpg [mirror.co.uk]

What is the point of having an ultra-thin display when the base required to hold it makes the device have the same footprint as a CRT TV? This might have been a good seller if it had been something you could hang on your wall, but even then, most people have enough space in their homes that they don't really *need* an ultra-thin display (and would not pay a premium for it)

I there is a market for ultra-thin displays, but it is for tablet devices and laptops, not TVs. I believe Sony realized this and is simply moving towards that market.

OLED sucks ... it only demos well (2, Interesting)

gig (78408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31222764)

OLED demos well ... you put a brand new screen in a dark room and with the right content you can blow people away. The thin displays you can make since there is no backlight demo well. The energy consumption demos well with a mostly-black screen. But when you get it home it doesn't work in a bright room, the colors aren't great and worse, change over time. The worst part may be that it's not even more energy efficient than LED-backlit displays when playing video.

On mobiles it's even less appropriate because of the varied lighting conditions you encounter. You would see people struggling with their Nexus One or Zune in daylight if they had sold more than a handful of either device.

The nerd infatuation with this expensive buzzword has been incredible. Some were calling for an OLED iPad, that is crazy. It would cost more than the whole device and have so many drawbacks in practical use. All for a buzzword.

Well (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31222778)

Is it in Jeopardy?

I dunno. Lets ask Alex Trebeck.

Big deal. (1)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 4 years ago | (#31223274)

My 13" CRT has had a curved screen for years. And the burn-in surpasses OLED too. Sure its heavy and bulky, but at least it keeps my room warm.

Japanese Law is responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31223742)

The TV is being withdrawn in Japan only because all new TVs sold in Japan must have some kind of parental control built in (starting shortly) and it seems that Sony doesn't want to redesign this model to meet the new law's requirements.

No doubt they'll add that to the next model, and continue to push high end oleds - that's where the money is.

Waiting for SED (1)

Tempsi (1657783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224508)

I'm still waiting for SED. It was supposed to arrive for consumers in 2006 or so...

What happened to SED (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31224752)

There were (or are) a number of technologies that basically work like a CRT but with each pixel having an individual red/green/blue electron gun.
Whatever happened to that?

Why has no-one proceeded with that as a viable technology (I would guess that it has most of the advantages of CRT with very few of the disadvantages like the size)

Any surprise? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31225868)

The XEL-1 stopped being sold in Canada a LONG time ago. About 6 months ago, I saw a blow out on the display model (I seriously considered it - $1000 made it tempting), and the Sony Store online only had it as "In store only" - you couldn't buy it online.

The big problem was its resolution, at quarter full-HD (960x540), all you could do was watch SD video scaled up a little bit. Or high-def video scaled down to just-a-little-better-than-SDTV.

The other problem was the videos they displayed on it had horrible flickering. It was worse than a 60Hz CRT monitor.

From what I've heard, the ones who bought it were CEO types who wanted a little nifty TV display. Though these days you can LCD picture frames with higher resolution, and either USB monitor support, or HDMI inputs so you could use it as a TV.

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