I know you're fond of your nice, new LCD HDTV, I know--it's much better than the big CRT brute you had before. But, and trust me on this, you're going to want to buy a whole new TV next year. It's going to be OLED you see, and it may come from Panasonic.
That's because Panasonic just announced a partnership with Sumitomo Chemical company to develop advanced display panels using OLED technology. The partnership will turn into a joint venture to develop and manufacture screens that are 40 inches and over by 2010.
Why all the excitement about this? It's pretty simple, OLED is about as much of a technological leap in display technology over current LCDs as the LCD was over your old cathode-ray-tube telly. In an LCD, each pixel consists of bunches of tiny packets of liquid crystal that change their structure when a voltage is applied--they don't actually radiate any light themselves, and that's why LCD screens need a cold-cathode or LED backlight. The technology works, and it's been steadily improving for sure, but viewing the displays from different angles results in non-ideal pictures, and it's difficult for true black to be displayed.
But in an OLED screen each pixel is an array of tiny, colored light-emitting diodes--each one actually glows with the corresponding color from the TV signal. As a result, the brightness, contrast and sharpness of an OLED screen is whole streets ahead of LCD. You can view them from any angle, they can show a wider range of colors than LCD and black areas show up as truly black. Oh, and because they don't need a backlight they consume far less electricity, and can be much, much thinner. Down to millimeters deep, in fact. Do you want a new TV yet?
Panasonic's clearly hoping to steal the march on this new tech--the only OLED TV on the market thus far is Sony's XEL1 which is 3mm deep, but just 11-inches across and comes at a whopping $2000+ price point.
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