Unexpected Sony and Panasonic partnership could see the price of OLED TVs quickly fall

OLED TV WallDesperate times call for desperate measures, as rivals Sony and Panasonic are said to be discussing a possible partnership, to help lower the production costs of OLED televisions.

While this would have been unthinkable 10 years ago, both companies have reported heavy financial losses recently, and share prices for the pair have dropped to levels last seen in the late 70s and early 80s.

Samsung and LG’s success in the television market hasn’t helped, and for the Japanese firms not to lose even more ground in the burgeoning OLED market — considered by many to be the “next big thing” in TV technology — they’ll need to keep a tight leash on the cost of both development and production.

According to reports, the discussions are in the “preliminary stages,” with no decisions made as yet, and there’s even a chance “other potential partners” may be invited to join in. It also shows that talk of Sony leaving the consumer OLED TV market back in January may have been premature.

Faster OLED price drop

Both Samsung and LG demonstrated huge 55-inch OLED screens during CES, and Samsung has recently followed up by introducing the ES9500, its first production OLED television. LG is likely to be hot on its heels too, with talk of its 55-inch model coming out before summer.

Sony was first out of the gate with a small 11-inch OLED screen back in 2007, and is working on larger screened models now. Panasonic told Bloomberg it wants to launch an OLED TV soon after Samsung and LG.

Televisions using OLED screens will be thinner than LED TVs and produce an improved image with more realistic colors, better contrast and almost no motion blur. At the moment, Samsung has quoted a price of more than $9000 for the ES9500, making it four or five times more expensive than an equivalent LED set.

However, if Sony and Panasonic do get together to minimize the cost of producing a range of OLED televisions, the resulting competition should see the current astronomical price drop to a more reasonable level, far quicker than if the Korean companies had nobody but each other to worry about.