Sony, the first manufacturer to release a consumer OLED TV, is apparently in talks with 3 different manufacturers about manufacturing OLED television panels. LG was the first reported to be in discussions with Sony, but since then, AU Optronics and recently Samsung have been mentioned as possible partners in OLED TV panel production.

While this seems confusing, especially since all three companies have been discussed as possible partners in the last few months, it’s possible that Sony is looking for the best deal on pricing and deleivery from all three companies.

Thanks to Ron at oled-info.com

And according to smarthouse.com.au LG will be launching their 55″ OLED TV in Europe later this month. The rumored $8,000 Samsung OLED TV price tag has climbed recently to $10,000. At these levels the newest OLED televisions from both LG and Samsung will be for early adopters only, or those with deep pockets. The Samsung OLED TV release date was originally scheduled for later this year may be moved up to the summer.

 

 

Very interesting move from Sony. They were the first to market with a consumer OLED TV and the first to leave the consumer market. However, with competition heating up from LG and Samsung to produce OLED televisions, Sony must have felt that it might miss out on the post-LCD TV market altogether.

Here’s what Reuters had to say:

“Japan’s Sony Corp is in talks with Taiwan’s AU Optronics Corp to jointly produce next-generation OLED televisions, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, positioning itself for the post-liquid crystal display (LCD) TV market.”

AU Optronics also purchased all of the FED TV assests from Field Emission Technologies a few years ago. Since FED TV seems to be taking a back seat to OLED TV, it looks like AU has placed its bets on OLED technology.

“Both Sony and AU Optronics declined to comment on the report, which comes after Sony’s new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, last week suggested he was open to cooperation in new TV technologies as he outlined a turnaround strategy for his loss-making company.

An industry source told Reuters earlier this month that there was talk Sony was considering a tie-up with AU Optronics.

“We know that Sony will have to form some kind of alliance with a third party since it would be difficult for it to capture more share in the OLED TV area alone. It’s not a surprise if it is considering a tie-up (with AU),” Nobuo Kurahashi, an analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities, said on Wednesday.

“For Taiwan and Japan, their interests coincide. If they don’t do anything, there will always be a gap in market share,” he added, pointing to competition from South Korea.

Both Samsung and LG in January displayed prototype 55-inch OLED (organic light emitting diode) screens – which boast sharper images and do not need backlighting – at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas.

Sony, which pioneered the technology with the world’s first OLED TV in 2007 halted production of the $2,000 screens for consumers in 2010 amid a global downturn, focusing instead on 3D. Sony still makes OLED screens costing as much as $26,000 for high-end business customers.”

Sony will still be playing catch-up to LG and Samsung so we shouldn’t expect any Sony OLED TVs this year.

 

 

OLED TV fans can see a new Sony OLED TV at CES 2011. It’s a 24.5″ model, glasses free 3D. While there are different opinions on 3D TV, we can probably all agree that it’s still a great picture and that no-one will be getting one anytime soon.

Here’s a video clip of the new Sony OLED TV prototype from my friend Erik.

 

Despite claims last month that Sony would still continue production of the XEL-1 OLED TV for markets outside Japan, supplies appear to be running thin.

I was inspired to do a quick check after speaking to a salesperson a Sony Style location in Toronto. I asked if the XEL-1 was still available and he replied that it was not.

Online, it seems that those of us in North America looking for the first OLED TV may be out of luck.

Sony USA – Add to Wishlist (for the last few months)

Sony Canada – The product you are looking for could not be located, please check the name and try again.

However, outside North America , your chances are better.

Sony Australia – Still in stock, for $7,000

Sony U.K. – May be available at your local Sony Center

If anyone else has anything to add to this quick survey, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

 

Saying that demand for the XEL-1 OLED TV is slowing in Japan, Sony is stopping OLED TV sales there.

They say that overseas sales will continue, but having tried to order one of these, there doesn’t seem to be too much inventory available. Full story exerpts below from Reuters.

“Sony said it had stopped production of ultra-thin TVs using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology for Japan, just a little over 2 years since it launched its first set. It plans to keep selling the TVs in overseas markets, a spokesman said.

OLED displays use organic, or carbon-containing compounds that emit light when electricity is applied. They produce crisp images and do not need backlighting, making them slimmer and more energy-efficient than LCDs, the most popular type of flat TV.

Sony has aimed to become a leader in the technology and positioned the product as crucial in its drive to regain its reputation as an innovator after losing out to Apple Inc in portable music and Nintendo in video games.

“I want this world’s first OLED TV to be the symbol of the revival of Sony’s technological prowess. I want this to be the flag under which we charge forwards to turn the fortunes around,” then president Ryoji Chubachi told a briefing in October 2007.

It is still technologically difficult to make large OLED panels and to produce them cheaply, limiting their potential as a mass-market product. Sony’s only model is an 11-inch set sold for 200,000 yen ($2,222) in Japan, considerably smaller and more expensive than other flat TVs.

“As flat panel TVs are getting bigger and cheaper, hurdles for OLED models have become higher, at least in the short term,” said Hisakazu Torii, vice president of Japanese TV market research at DisplaySearch.

Torii said the next big trend in the market will be 3D TVs and LCD TVs using light emitting diode backlights, and that mass adoption of TVs with OLED panels is some time off.

Sony said it would end sales of OLED TV in Japan when inventory runs out. It plans to continue putting money into research and development and production for North America, Europe and other overseas markets.

“We will continue to consider new products and applications including OLED TVs,” Sony spokesman Shigenori Yoshida said.”

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