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In a recent press release, Sony and Panasonic announced that they would be teaming up to jointly develop a printing method-based OLED technology, which would be suitable for low cost, mass production of large, high resolution OLED panels. Mass production is not expected to commence until 2013.
Hopes for low-cost OLED seem to have been dashed by Kazuhiro Tsuga, the newly appointed president of Panasonic, who said that he does not expect prices of its next generation OLED TV’s to fall to that of LCD models for a considerable time.
LG and Samsung have a significant jump start on the Japanese; however, each is pushing a different OLED technology. Samsung is backing AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode), while LG is betting the farm on WOLED (white OLED).
Panasonic and Sony seem to have gotten over their Betamax vs. VHS war and we’re probably smart to team up, especially on a “printable” OLED due to the lower manufacturing costs, but it does seem that Sony may have made another about-turn after announcing that they were abandoning OLED a few years ago, and then showing CrystalLED at CES. Recently, Sony reported the worst loss in its 66-year corporate history for the business year ended March with red ink of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion), so sharing R&D costs will help preserve cash and hopefully result in a lower cost product.
Whatever the outcome, the Korea vs. Japan battle will be good for competition, which is pretty crucial given the projected price of $10,000 for a 55-inch OLED later this year.
3D television has still to make major in-roads into the home for television, but the 2012 London Olympics could be the boost that in-home 3D needs. According to NBC, they will provide 242 hours of 3D coverage. Given that 5,535 hours will be recorded that’s only about 5%. I’m not a big 3D fan, but thought it might be interesting to watch the opening ceremony and an event or two in 3D (having never watched 3D sports). I don’t have (nor do I want) 3D at home, so off to Google I went to try and find somewhere in Chicago to watch the Olympics in 3D. Nothing: no movie theaters, no bars. Given movie theaters are resorting to concerts and opera to fill their seats, one might of thought that the Olympics would be a good opportunity to get more revenue. Apparently not. Obviously, the time difference does make it a bit awkward, but I thought I would have found something in one of the biggest cities in the US.
In related news, DirecTV has announced that they are cutting their 3-D channel from 24-hour to part-time due to lack of content. In a similar move AT&T dropped ESPN 3D from their channel offering, stating that it wasn’t cost justified considering the lack of demand.
Manufacturers are always keen to stress that 3D TV’s account for over 10% of all LCD TV sales. To be quite honest, that’s almost as pointless as saying that all TV’s purchases are now color. I’d we willing to wager that the vast majority of those buyers only have 3D because it was a feature on the higher end model they purchased.
Let’s see if 3D takes the Gold or straggles along in last place at the Olympics.
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