Cheaper OLED TVs the goal for Sony-Panasonic effort

The companies expect to have mass-production technology for OLED panels ready to go in 2013, cutting costs to help improve sales.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Sony and Panasonic have announced a partnership designed to mass-produce OLED panels for large displays and televisions.

According to the companies, they will jointly develop OLED panels with help from their respective technologies. That will result in reducing the total costs of production, potentially making OLED panels more affordable to vendors looking to bring the technology to future sets, the companies say. Mass production should begin at some point next year.

Sony and Panasonic have been rumored to be in talks about OLED production for a while now. Both companies have lost the LCD market, and Panasonic's focus on plasma is diminishing its presence in the television space as that technology continues to lose steam. With OLED, the companies hope to play a central, back-end role.

Both Sony and Panasonic have been dealing with some difficult times lately. Sony is in the process of reshaping its brand around a "One Sony" initiative, and has confirmed that it'll lay off 10,000 people. Panasonic earlier this year outlined its own plans for reorganization, and said last month that it would cut staff at its headquarters in half.

Whether their partnership will improve their financial standing remains to be seen. However, many industry experts believe that OLED is the future of television technology. The issue is, OLEDs are expensive -- LG's 55-inch OLED TV, the 55EM9600, is expected to ship later this year for $10,000. Until prices come down to more consumer-friendly levels, OLEDs will garner precious little market share.