According to a report in the Daily Yomiuri Online, Sony is halting development of organic electroluminescence display panels for consumers. While Sony will continue selling OLED panels to corporate clients, the television manufacturer will only create LED and LCD panels for the mass market. Sony first rolled out a model of an OLED for the consumer market in 2007, but the expensive price tag of the Sony Drive XEL-1 OLED TV was difficult to fathom compared to LED models at the time. Over the last few years, Sony’s lack of marketing around consumer versions of OLED panels was limited and OLED presence at CES was typically tucked away in a small portion of Sony’s booth.
OLED televisions are created by using electroluminescent organic materials and are typically much thinner than LCD televisions. When activated, the materials emit light and eliminate the need for a backlight in the television. OLED panels can also achieve deeper contrast levels than a typical LCD. According to the article, Sony’s lack of investment in OLED technology has limited advances in development for consumer models. Competitors in South Korea, such as Samsung and LG, have mentioned plans to release OLED panels at home and in the United States during 2012 and will be showing off new models at CES next week. Sony had previously discontinued OLED television production for its own home country during 2010, but continued to export the panels to customers in Europe and North America.
The slow growth of consumer interest in OLED panels due to high costs has constantly positioned the technology on the brink of failure over the years, especially with television manufacturers focusing on 3D over the last two years. It appears there will be a content and hardware issue with the new LG 55″ OLED television shown at CES this year. According to Forbes, the OLED panel uses four colors instead of three and only AVCHD camcorders and the PlayStation 3 would be able to replicate accurate color.