When Sony announced its first commercially available OLED TV, the 11-inch Bravia XEL-1, in 2007, our AV juices positively overflowed. It took another two years for the XEL-1 to show up in the UK though, and, when it did, it was twice the price of its US equivalent, costing a whopping £3,500. Exact sales figures for the set are unknown, but it's hard to imagine they're stellar given its price, and now it seems Sony may have decided to quietly smother the TV with its kimono once and for all.
According to Reuters, Sony has said it will cease sales and production of the TV in Japan, but continue to offer and produce the set for the European, US and other overseas markets. As Sony isn't thought to have sold many XEL-1s but is known to have had the capacity to build 2,000 per month, we reckon this probably means the TV will continue to be sold in markets outside Japan until the existing stock is depleted, and then it will no longer be available.
Sony stressed, however, that it will continue to research and develop OLED TVs, and that we should expect larger models in the future. Indeed, at CES 2010, Sony showed off a 24-inch 3D OLED screen that we were rather taken with.
Time will tell if OLED technology has a future in televisions. As far as we can tell, manufacturers seem to be losing interest and concentrating on 3D technologies instead.