Is Sony stuck in neutral with OLED?

Sony has a 27-inch OLED TV prototype. Didn't we see this last year?

LAS VEGAS--Sony will bring its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs to the U.S., but the company may be having a size problem.

The version of the TV coming to the states measures 11-inches across, the same size as the one the company currently sells in Japan. That's smaller than the average TV currently sold in the U.S. The TV, however, is only 3 millimeters thick, about the same thickness at three credit cards, Sony CEO Howard Stringer said at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place here this week. It also has a 1 million-to-one contrast ratio. It is quite impressive and elegant. (It also costs $2,500.)

Does this TV look familiar? Michael Kanellos

Sony is showing off a 27-inch prototype OLED TV at CES (see picture) too. Sony, however, showed off a 27-inch prototype at the show last year.

OLED is not an easy technology. It degrades over time. Building large panels has also bedeviled many manufacturers. That's why OLEDs have mostly been used as screens for cell phones.

Still, the fact that the prototype is the same size as last year's should raise some eyebrows. Maybe they aren't getting the manufacturing yields they would like.

In the meantime, other TV manufacturers have worked to thin their LCD and plasma TVs. Hitachi is showing off plasmas and LCDs that measure 35 millimeters thick at the show. That's 10 times as thick, but it's still less than 2 inches. JVC and Sharp also have thin LCDs.

We speak to Sony on Monday and will try to learn more.

 

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