Sony OLED TV Sales Stopped In Japan

Saying that demand for the XEL-1 OLED TV is slowing in Japan, Sony is stopping OLED TV sales there.

They say that overseas sales will continue, but having tried to order one of these, there doesn’t seem to be too much inventory available. Full story exerpts below from Reuters.

“Sony said it had stopped production of ultra-thin TVs using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology for Japan, just a little over 2 years since it launched its first set. It plans to keep selling the TVs in overseas markets, a spokesman said.

OLED displays use organic, or carbon-containing compounds that emit light when electricity is applied. They produce crisp images and do not need backlighting, making them slimmer and more energy-efficient than LCDs, the most popular type of flat TV.

Sony has aimed to become a leader in the technology and positioned the product as crucial in its drive to regain its reputation as an innovator after losing out to Apple Inc in portable music and Nintendo in video games.

“I want this world’s first OLED TV to be the symbol of the revival of Sony’s technological prowess. I want this to be the flag under which we charge forwards to turn the fortunes around,” then president Ryoji Chubachi told a briefing in October 2007.

It is still technologically difficult to make large OLED panels and to produce them cheaply, limiting their potential as a mass-market product. Sony’s only model is an 11-inch set sold for 200,000 yen ($2,222) in Japan, considerably smaller and more expensive than other flat TVs.

“As flat panel TVs are getting bigger and cheaper, hurdles for OLED models have become higher, at least in the short term,” said Hisakazu Torii, vice president of Japanese TV market research at DisplaySearch.

Torii said the next big trend in the market will be 3D TVs and LCD TVs using light emitting diode backlights, and that mass adoption of TVs with OLED panels is some time off.

Sony said it would end sales of OLED TV in Japan when inventory runs out. It plans to continue putting money into research and development and production for North America, Europe and other overseas markets.

“We will continue to consider new products and applications including OLED TVs,” Sony spokesman Shigenori Yoshida said.”

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