Report questions Sony's next-gen TV claims

Research firm finds that quality of ultra-thin OLED sets degrades much faster than earlier reported.

Mike Yamamoto Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.
Mike Yamamoto

Sony appeared to be on the verge of starting the next revolution in TV technology last year when it introduced its first OLED television, most notable for its paper-thin screen. The display, which uses bright and low-power organic light-emitting diodes, appeared so promising that the prospects for LCD and plasma TVs were soon called into question.


A new study, however, may cast that future in a different light. A research firm called DisplaySearch tested Sony's XEL-1 TV and found that its brightness began to degrade significantly after 1,000 hours--translating to a loss of half its original quality in 17,000 hours, according to the Associated Press. That projection stands in marked contrast to Sony's claim that the display would last 30,000 hours or 10 years of typical use before reaching that degradation level, which is a standard industry measure.

The company reportedly stands by its claims, and DisplaySearch did acknowledge that longstanding longevity problems with OLED displays have been addressed in the latest versions of the technology. Still, the research follows other reports of production issues that have slowed Sony's development of the OLED TV as a mass-market phenom. And given the high cost of making them, which has produced retail prices of $2,500 for an 11-inch screen, they probably won't be a standard living room fixture anytime soon.