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Sony to introduce first OLED TV in U.S.

Sony announced the first OLED-based HDTV at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show.

Sony's XEL-1 is the first OLED TV to be available in the U.S. Sony

Although Sony introduced its 11-inch OLED HDTV in Japan already, the company's big splash announcement at the 2008 CES is that the model, dubbed XEL-1, is now available stateside, for the cool price of $2,500. While the relatively tiny, exorbitantly expensive HDTV itself won't attract many buyers, it represents an important milestone by shepherding in the latest flat-panel TV technology, which may eventually replace plasma and traditional LCD.

The XEL-1 measures 3mm thick. Sony

OLED, short for Organic Light Emitting Diode, promises better picture quality, smaller size (the XEL-1 measures just 3mm thick) and more efficient operation. Sony claims a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, indicating deep black levels. Since OLED can turn the light emitted from the diodes on and off quickly, Sony also claims rapid response times for "smooth, natural reproduction of fast-moving content."

The XEL-1 is supposedly 40 percent more efficient than traditional LCD panels in terms of power consumption, and unlike other LCDs, its manufacturing process doesn't require the use of harmful mercury.