Yasunori Kijima, a researcher and senior manager in Sony's display device development group who has worked on the technology since 1994, says his group can produce OLED television screens at low enough costs to make such TVs commercially viable. Sony has been making 3.8-inch OLED displays since 2004. The new display is only 11 millimeters thick and viewing angle, colour and avoidance of pixilation with moving images are all an improvement on LCDs.
Because the organic materials used can be ruined by water and oxygen, Kijima's team had to develop a special sealing technology for the displays. They remain on glass and they are not yet printed. The sets last more than a year or two, though Kijima would not give any specific longevity figures. "(They) would have no problem outlasting PDP screens, which actually wear out very quickly," he says.
Others remain skeptical, citing typical life of 14 years with present technology. An official at Toshiba Matsushita Display Technologies, which uses OLEDs for portable devices, says the shorter life expectancy makes them still acceptable for cell phones and similar, that gets replaced after two years.
Sony currently relies on different production techniques for the 11-inch and the 27-inch sets. So while the company will mass-produce the 11-inch sets at its LCD factory in Aichi prefecture, central Japan, by late 2007, the larger screens demanded by the market remain elusive.