It’s been a while since we heard anything about Panasonic OLED TV. According to Bloomberg Panasonic is in talks with Sony regarding  a partnership to cut the development time of OLED televisions, the Nikkei newspaper reported recently.

The last OLED news from Panasonic was in April 2009 when they announced their OLED TVs were to be built at the IPS Alpha factory and may be produced in a partnership with Toshiba. That plan vanished as did the Toshiba OLED TV partnership.

As seen in the past, a partnership is no guarantee of success in the OLED display market. Sony had an early lead in OLED technology and Panasonic is a leader in plasma TV technology. However, as Bloomberg reports, “The pace of commoditization of TVs is very high,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager of Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co., in Tokyo. “I’m not sure whether Sony and Panasonic can make a profit even if they have an alliance.”

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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.”

 

Note: This site was recently hacked and if you’re looking for brom***ine you’re in the wrong place.

Today I have an interview with Erich Strasser from OLED Web-Company. His company owns and operates the leading OLED technology websites. He just got back from CES 2010 and I thought I’d ask him about his trip.

Admin: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us about your websites?
Erich: Our websites http://www.oled.at (german) and http://www.oled-display.net are the leading OLED information websites. Our goal is to inform our visitors about the newest products, findings, forecasts about and with OLED Display technology.

Admin:  How long have you been involved in OLED TV technology?

Erich: We started www.oled.at and www.oled-display.net about 7 years ago.

Admin:  Do you think OLED TV will eventually take over from plasma and LCD technology?

Erich: Yes I am sure about this. OLED is the future in the HDTV technology. OLED TV promises Superior picture Quality, High Efficiency, very thin and in future also cost effective. The first OLED TV XEL-1 and the LG 15 inch hitting the market today are very expensive, but those prices will fall dramatically as the technology matures and volume ramps up. OLEDs will prove more cost effective because they require fewer materials and fewer processing steps than LCD and Plasma Tvs.

Admin:  What are your thoughts on the emergence of LED backlit TV? Can OLED compete against it anytime soon?

Erich: Not soon because the companies must build more OLED fabrication labs.

Admin:  Can you please tell us what impressed you most at CES 2010?

Erich: Sonys 24.5 inch 3D OLED, and the 14 inch transparent AMOLED Notebook from Samsung mobile Display.

Admin: Who, in your opinion, will first produce a consumer ready OLED TV with a decent screen size?

Erich: Sony is in some financial troubles, LG Display introduced the 15 inch AMOLED TV and have big plans. Samsung wants to bring out larger Displays only if they compete with LCD and Plasma at the price segment. So my opinion is LG Display will be the first with larger sizes.

Thanks to Erich for this interview on the latest OLED TV news. You can see more at his site, just click on this link: OLED Television

 

There’s a fascinating interview with Tetsuo Urabe of Sony’s Display Device Development Group on Sony.net

He and three others recently received the  55th Okochi Memorial Award for major contributions to the field of production engineering, including the development of production technology, and the implementation of advanced production methods. This was of course for their work on the development of the Sony XEL-1 OLED TV.

Some of the topics covered are:

  • Creating an OLED Suitable for Television Use
  • Successful Development of 13-inch OLED Display in 2001
  • Challenges in Establishing Mass-production Technology
  • Enhancing Japan’s Competitiveness with OLED

This interview is a must read for all OLED TV enthusiasts. Check it out at the link above.

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