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Sony’s future is Crystal clear

12 January 2012
Sony's future is Crystal clear

CES report: The first large screen OLED consumer display panels will ship later this year, but Sony has demonstrated what it believes is its successor – Crystal LED, writes Adrian Pennington.

There is no doubt about the flagship products from Samsung and LG: both presented 55-inch 3D 1080p OLED TVs to ship during 2012, with prices to be determined (though they won’t be cheap – the nearest ballpark I got was from LG’s Dave Harmon, who said it would be significantly less than $23,000).

LG’s model weighed in at 7.5kg and is just 4mm thin making it the thinnest, largest and lightest such panel around.

Sony however seems to be manoeuvring toward Crystal LED, a technology of its own devising in which a thin layer of six million LEDs is mounted on the display itself. This technique, says Sony, results in greater light efficiency and higher contrast images in both light and dark viewing conditions.

The C-LED screen also produces a wider colour gamut because of the way the system uses the red, green and blue lights to create colour. The new screen also has wider viewing angles compared to LCD and plasma displays.

The company was showing two prototype 55-inch C-LEDs and comparing the picture quality, favourably it has to be said, against its top of the range LCD panel.

According to Harold Neal, regional sales manager, North America, “C-LED will have a longer life span than [phosphor based] OLED. We can also manufacture screens large than 55-inches, which just now is the limit for OLED. And it will have faster response times.”

When asked why Sony turned to Crystal LED vs OLED in flat screens, at a QA session following the press conference at CES, Monday, Sony Corp Chairman Sir Howard Stringer said: “It is the best TV out there and it is our technology. We are proud of it – it is the high end where we will lead the [category’s] recovery.”

Sony executive deputy president Kazuo Hirai added that Sony has OLED on the pro side and that “as much as we are proud of the Crystal screen, we are not out of OLED. We will continue to look at it, but there is nothing to talk about now.”

Sony said it would work conscientiously to bring the Crystal LED Display to market.


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