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Toshiba readies SED panel rollout

The computer maker picks a site in western Japan to mass-produce flat-panel screens offering CRT image quality.

Toshiba is gearing up to mass produce its surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) panels now that it has picked a manufacturing site in western Japan. The company said it will invest $1.7 billion in a new facility in Himeji, in the southwestern part of Hyogo Prefecture. Construction is expected to take about a year to complete, the company said.

A new type of flat-panel display, the SED is a joint venture of Toshiba and Canon that promises to offer the same image quality as a cathode-ray tube (CRT) with all of the benefits of flat-panel displays. The first model is expected to feature a 50-inch screen with full 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution. Toshiba said it expects its first batch of SED products in late 2006, with volume production slated for January 2007. If the technology catches on, it could well challenge LCD and plasma screens, which currently don't quite approach CRT-level image quality.