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Sony Television Hardware

Sony Launches 3mm Thin XEL-1 OLED TV 160

Posted by kdawson
from the techno-lust dept.
i4u writes "Sony introduces their first commercial OLED TV, the XEL-1. The stunning XEL-1 is what Sony teased on Friday on their site in Japan. The XEL-1 is an 11-inch display that is only 3 mm thin. It features a dramatic 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and the power consumption is a low 45 W. Sony plans to start shipping the XEL-1 OLED TV on December 1 for 200,000 Yen (~$1,740). Here is Sony's OLED TV product page (in Japanese)."
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Sony Launches 3mm Thin XEL-1 OLED TV

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  • by fyngyrz (762201) *

    1. get defects per sq/in down
    2. drop prices, increase screen sizes
    3. Profit!
  • Lifespan? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgd (2822) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:11AM (#20808611)
    I didn't see any mention of the lifespan of the OLED screen?

    Has something changed recently, or is the TV likely to start looking funny in a year when the blue fades?
    • Re:Lifespan? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MLCT (1148749) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:35AM (#20808771)
      Lifespans are at acceptable consumer grade (25,000-50,000 hours+ - equivalent to a modern CRT). The big manufacturers don't put these into production lines without the consumer lifespans being hit - part of the reason that it has taken until 2007 for oleds to move beyond mp3 display screens Polymer OLED's (a different technology from what Sony are using) are a bit behind, CDT were reporting blue lifetimes of 6,000-10,000 hours (red and green are fine). That is a bit understandable though, as polymer oled technology is newer and less well developed than small molecule vacuum deposition oleds (what sony and almost everyone else are using).
      • by tgd (2822)
        I wish I could moderate a discussion I posted in -- thats the answer I was looking for.

        Thanks.
      • by jgoemat (565882)
        If they only last 1/2 as long as the reds and greens, why not put two blues by each red and green? During normal use, the backup blues wouldn't be used. When the original blues start to go bad, switch to using the backup blues. You could double the effective lifespan of the display and I don't think it would add that much cost...
        • by Sparr0 (451780)
          There are geometrical issues with having twice as many blue sub-pixels as red and green. Where do you PUT the extra blue, that won't leave 1/4-pixel-wide black lines across a white screen?
          • by cnettel (836611)
            Even though I thought along the same lines, where do you put the existing blue, that won't leave 1/3-pixel-wide black lines across a yellow screen? I can see the black grid around all pixels if I look closely on my TFTs (even the white ones), but I can't make out the black stripes. I can notice that red and blue vertical lines nominally in the same column doesn't line up right in the transition, though. Likewise, there is a slight black patch in between when I bring a large red rectangle next to a green one
    • This actually makes sense for their target market:

      Males who are old enough to have that much money to spend on todays. Sony is relying on the blue drop-out to compensate for the effects of Viagra [newscientist.com].

    • by adisakp (705706)
      Lifespan is approx 30,000 hours. Or 8 hours a day for ten years. If you leave it on 24/7 you'll get a bit more than three years.
  • RJ45? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:14AM (#20808643)
    Did anyone else notice the RJ45 jack on the back? What's that for? Built-in Tivo perhaps?
  • by Timo_UK (762705) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:16AM (#20808659) Homepage
    into such a slim screen ;-)
  • Very nice, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aphrika (756248) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:17AM (#20808669)
    ...what about that honking great ugly box at the bottom of it that's way bigger than 3mm deep and obviously has to sit under the TV?

    Granted, it's cool that Sony have developed an OLED TV, but sorry I don't see the point of having a wafer thin screen when the base unit looks like a brick. If you could remotely stick the box somewhere else and wallmount the TV that'd be nice, but from what I can tell, you can't.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      This is obviously meant to showcase the technology, not to sell that TV. The publicity they'll get off this is more than worth the time they spent making it, AND they'll probably make the R&D back on the few who buy the 11" version.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I lived in Japan for a while and Sony actually does this with some frequency, they'll release very high end, extremely expensive kit that isn't designed optimally yet because it's cutting edge, first generation to market. I don't think I ever saw any of these items ever make it to US shores, because they had refined the design by the time it was low enough cost to be marketable in the US.

      The image on these things is simply amazing, and makes it hard to return to your LCD. People buying this are buying it fo
    • by djbckr (673156)
      Well good grief... it's the first of its kind. The first of everything is usually not the way things will be in a few years. I remember the first CD players - they were all vertical load (I guess cause it was cool looking) but not long afterward they were all flat-tray load.
  • Size does matter (Score:2, Interesting)

    by henrylee (1164721)
    The thin part is great, but they need to find a way to produce OLEDs TVs that are bigger. Even for hard core geeks like me, I don't want an 11 inch TV. And it's hard to produce a 42" OLED.
    • by imsabbel (611519)
      But 11" is already a HUGE step from the cell-phone display-size stuff that was available up to now.
    • by SolusSD (680489)
      can't they just make a ~42" TV by putting 16 of these 11" one's together. :)
    • by MrShaggy (683273)
      People in the movie industry will love this.

      They use video-support, so they can all see what the camera sees.

      Being this low-power, and compact, I think they will start buying them. 11 inches might be a little too big. However, I would think that isn't a biggie.

      Not to mention to contrast ratio will be a hit with the still-photographers. They shoot digital as well. They will be getting a better idea of how this will work.
      • by afidel (530433)
        There are a couple of problem with using this for production. It's SD, not HD or digital cinema resolution. It's oled which has horrible color accuracy problems, even if they have the life up to 10K+ hours I really doubt they have allowed it to stay color accurate over more than a tiny fraction of that time. Finally the drive electronics look significantly bigger than the equivalent for LCD so its use in portable applications is questionable.
  • my 2$ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:30AM (#20808739)
    stuff it in a laptop, the thinness, lightness and power consumption is a sure winner there.
    ditto mobile multimedia.

    for domestic consumer electronics the thinness is irrelevant except for high end concept ware where people are willing to pay through the nose.

    the thinness is also irrelevant if it has to be stuck on an ungly base unit (see TFA) for real jawdropping effect it should be displayed by itself with a well hidden cable in the support going to a much better hidden base unit in the wall, furniture or somewhere else.

    still on the plus side the contrast and brightness sure looks good. hope it still stays that could and does not get destroyed by direct sunlight a few months after purchase.
    • stuff it in a laptop, the thinness, lightness and power consumption is a sure winner there.

      I'm not sure about that; 45 W seems rather much. My current laptop normally draws a total of ~20 W, and that includes any power used by the rest of the system as well (not just the display).

      In my mind, it's great that Sony has finally managed to get an OLED TV to the market at all. Because of that, efficiency in production and display specifications will hopefully increase faster than before, when it was mostly a product under research. Well, you can't blame me for hoping, at least. :)

    • by wes33 (698200)
      my current notebook (old fujitsu p7010) has a 10.6" display and with display on medium brightness the whole computer draws about 11 watts (so says powertop anyway). This is not a battery friendly display.
  • Power consumption? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hatchet (528688) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:33AM (#20808757) Homepage
    "and the power consumption is a low 45 W"
    Current laptop 17" LCDs have power consumption around 15W or so.
    • "Current laptop 17" LCDs have power consumption around 15W or so."

      Yeah, but not at that brightness level. I'd be more curious to compare it to a desktop LCD or a modern LCD TV.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afidel (530433)
        My 42" LCD TV(which is 16x larger) uses 170W max, so about 4.25x more efficient per area. Now some of that power draw is constant since things like a tv tuner take a relatively fixed amount of power.
  • low power ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:36AM (#20808783) Homepage
    45W from an 11inch display is not, by a long shot, low-power. If that scales linearily with screen real-estate, then that is equivalent to 600W for a 40 inch (the current top-seller size), which is aproximately 3 times the power used by an average flat-screen TV of that size sold currently.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't know much about electronics, but not everything scales linearly. Perhaps out of that 11W there is a baseline, like a processors + red LED light (showing it's on) + infrared sensor + etc. So maybe only portion would have to increase x-times as the size increases?
  • Quote from the linked article: "This is a very high price for an 11 inch TV, but it is the first OLED TV to buy. Early adoption always had its price."

    I guess that sentence is trying to sell people on the idea that early adoption is acceptable, even if the price is 20 times higher than earlier equipment with the same functionality.

    I will wait to buy it until it has DTT [washingtonpost.com]. (Digital Turnip Twaddling)
  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:45AM (#20808849) Journal
    (note: subject is actually a question ... ?)

    I'd like to damn well think the blacks are good anyhow.
    I'm a die hard CRT lover, I've detested the quality of the picture on LCD's for a long long time, I guess you could say I'm a videophile.

    All that being said, I only just recently caved, yes I've caved, even CRT lover dan at dansdata has caved.
    I picked up a Dell 2407 WFP HC screen, which apparently does colours quite well.

    I purchased this because for 3 years people have been proclaiming how good LCD's are now and how widescreen is the future, how ghosting is a thing of the past, viewing angles aren't a worry, scaling with fixed pixel width is fine and blacks levels are fine on modern LCD's

    Well, I'm one person who has purchased a product who has the balls to speak the truth rather than defend my money spent.
    Firstly, I love widescreen, it's bloody awesome, period - great stuff.
    I LOVE the extra desk space!
    Fixed pixel width is certainly not bugging me in games anywhere near as much as I thought it would and I don't change resolution often in Windows anyhow (I guess I used to with my CRT)
    Refresh rates and ghosting is right on the limit, it's not ideal but it's certianly nothing to fret about either.

    However....

    Black levels and viewing angles are ok now? - I think not people, I think not.
    In bright games, the picture quality, coupled with the widescreen awesomeness of above, lovely stuff, just lovely.
    I tried Oblivion though and in the caves, oh those caves, I felt the 'silverfish' effect - the blacks shimmer and refract light or something die to viewing angle nastyness.
    The picture, quite literally reminded me of waking up in the morning with sleep in the corners of my eyes, I found myself rubbing my left eye constantly to try and remove said sleep.
    Clearly I couldn't, it wasn't actually there, infact within about 30 minutes of playing, I simply couldn't play anymore.
    I was shocked, I am not the headache type or the motion sickness type but this was quite literally making me irritated, not sick but I couldn't play due to the distraction in the corner of the display (both left and right)
    The viewing angles are simply too tight for this monitor, the solution of course is to sit futher away, however why would I want to? This is why I purchased a huge 24" monitor, so that the picture is immersive and great, not something I push to the far edge of my desk, otherwise it's just too small again.

    I've also tried Half Life 2 - the black scenes in that do the same thing, I honestly do not know how people play any dark games on an LCD at all, it's simply not a pleasant experience.
    In some regards I miss my 22" CRT, it was a high end tube, did over 100hz at 1600x1200, some ridiculous figures at 1024 (140+ etc)

    So ultimately, my question is or rather my demand is, does OLED solve these issues?
    I've heard it does, but does it REALLY? LCD is (according to THOUSANDS of people on the web) apparently "as good or better" than CRT now (I beg to differ)

    If I could just solve that issue with the shimmery blacks, I'd be fine but until then, for true videophiles, I just can't recommend an LCD still, hence me having a near 200lb CRT beast in the loungeroom as a television.

    Help me OLED, you're my only hope.
    • by wrmrxxx (696969) on Monday October 01, 2007 @09:18AM (#20809149)
      An LCD shows a black pixel by trying (not quite successfully as it turns out) to block out the light from a bright white back-light behind it. An OLED shows a black pixel by just not turning on the pixel - there's no back-light to try to hide because the pixels themselves are the light emitters. You can reasonably expect an 'off' pixel to be as black as the whole display is when it is switched off.
    • by radish (98371)
      (Note, not flaming, honest questions)

      Is this a perception thing, like DLP artifacts? I ask because I'm also pretty picky when it comes to displays (I'm a photographer) and I honestly don't see any of the problems you mention, and haven't on any decent LCD for a long time. I'm currently looking at a 3 or 4 year old 20" Eizo and just for kicks I flipped it around so I was looking at it almost 90 degrees on. Apart from some glare it looked fine - black is black, white is white and everything else is just peach
      • I, also, have a Dell 20" with 1600x1200 resolution, and haven't really noticed many color issues. While the blacks certainly aren't perfect, they don't have any weird silvery issues. My guess is that the wide-screens have more polarization issues due to the extended viewing angles.
      • by radish (98371)
        Clarification:

        When I said I was looking at it 90 degrees on, I meant 90 degress from normal, which would be 180 degrees I guess. Basically, I was looking at the thing sideways :)
    • Contrast ratio is the brightness of white vs. the brightness of black. Given equal white brightness, it should mean that the black is blacker. Unfortunately, it is a number companies plays tricks with, such as using the brightest the screen gets when all-white at its brightest setting, and the dimmest when it's all black, maybe with backlight dimmed and so on.

      Frankly, I'm not missing my CRT much. I even had high end consumer displays, 21" flats. I hated how the geometry gradually shirts over time, I hat
    • by Cowclops (630818) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:12PM (#20813439)
      There are in fact two relevant contrast ratios to consider. One is the ratio between the brightest white it can display in a full screen and the darkest black it can display full screen. The other is the ratio between the white and black when both are displayed simultaneously.

      What people don't realize (because CRTs typically don't include contrast specs) is that while a CRT can achieve ~15,000:1 dynamic contrast (i.e. the ratio between an all white and an all black screen), the reality is when you put both black and white together, one washes the other one out. CRTs, in actuality, can't do much more than about 500:1 contrast.

      The key point is that dynamic contrast is not a bullshit marketing term. The reason CRTs have apparently great black levels is because their dynamic contrast is much higher than that of LCD screens. An LCD with a panel contrast of 1000:1 and no other backlight tricks will have a dynamic contrast of 1000:1. Thats why in bright-overall scenes, it looks GREAT, but in dark scenes it washes out. In bright scenes on an LCD vs a CRT, you're basically comparing ansi contrast to ansi contrast, and LCD can get ~1000:1 with no washout. A CRT can't. In dark screens, an LCD can't make quite as dark blacks, so you're now comparing dynamic vs dynamic contrast. The CRT could pull in 15,000:1, but the LCD is still stuck at 1,000:1.

      Current displays improve this by varying the intensity of the light source, then stretching the brightness of an average-dark image to maintain the full panel contrast. That way, you can get the full ansi contrast over a wider range of actual brightness values. It looks like current LCD monitors vary the black light to increase dynamic contrast from 1000:1 to 3000:1, and LCD projectors can open and close an aperture in the lens to jack dynamic contrast up to 10,000:1.

      The point is, there are two types of contrast. LCD beats the crap out of CRT in one type, but CRT beats the crap out of LCD in the other type. Neither specs are marketing BS, and you need to know both to understand how contrasty a screen will look in practice.
  • Analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:48AM (#20808869)
    1. They will produce only 2000 of those per year.
    2. The product for OLED was selected not to be practical but newsworthy. Everyday Joe cares about TV-s, although he won't buy this one, he'll read about it, so newspapers will write about it. Consider: OLED has shorter pixel life and wastes less power than LCD+light. Where is this useful? Laptops (limited energy and no constant use). Where is it harmful? TV-s (constant use and unlimited AC power).
    3. The design is made to impress, not be practical. Notice they put the tuner down in an ugly box to show off the very thin OLED display (no backlight). Notice the off-center hinge, designed to stress how light the screen is (puts unneeded stress, however small, on the materials).

    Bottom line is, of course, great that someone is pushing OLED for something bigger than a camera preview screen. But it's NOT mass produced product. They make just few units, to make the news.

    It's a product straight from the PR department. I suspect Sony Rolly will have similar fate.

    Those aren't products made to sell, they're made to rebuild the image of Sony as the cool tech company. However, years ago they were the cool tech company which mass produced goods that are at the same practical, high tech, and luxury.

    Those new gadgets don't send the same message. Wish them good luck with this, maybe if they keep producing gadgets like those at this pace, at some point they'll hit a homerun again...
    • by imstanny (722685)
      Why aren't they made to sell? Since it's actually available to consumers, this is more than just proof of concept. After all, a product's existence is eventually determined by market's demand, and its price will be determined by the increase in scale of production and improved manufacturing techniques. Take a look at LCD/Plasma TV prices and sales levels Pre Y2K; OLED may follow the same path. Whether or not that technology will do so, however, willd depend on market conditions (demand, costs, competitors,
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        They're available to sell, but they are not designed and destined to sell well. They are designed and destined to do well in the news outlets.

        It's called halo product [slashdot.org]. It's supposed to improve the sales of other Sony products and improve the perception of Sony as a whole.

        Another example of halo product are the most most top of the line graphics cards made by NVidia and ATI, not many of those get bought, but they affect purchase decision for the lower end products, and make the news.
    • by tknd (979052)

      Consider: OLED has shorter pixel life and wastes less power than LCD+light. Where is this useful? Laptops (limited energy and no constant use). Where is it harmful? TV-s (constant use and unlimited AC power).

      I'd say laptops get more use than TVs. Most laptops are used in a business environment where people use them at least 8 hours of the day. Home TVs on the other hand are only on when the family/person is there to watch it. So in order to match the 40 hour work week for a business laptop, a TV would

  • why are they marketing it as a tv? who the hell cares about about have 1M:1 contrast when watching a 80s rerun? they should be marketing it as an awesome desktop publishing and imaging monitor for PCs and Macs, or perhaps studio monitor. i'm just happy they are finally coming out with something that actually may have better image quality than my 22" CRT, looks like i could be upgrading in 2 years or so :)
    • they should be marketing it as an awesome desktop publishing and imaging monitor for PCs and Macs
      Except that at a resolution of 960x540 (or so I read), it isn't so awesome...
  • Where's my 2-way wrist radio [answers.com], which we'd now call a "wristphone"? Starring another Modern innovation, the videophone?

    I might not whine about no flying cars as much, if we could just get some of the cheaper items that don't crash into neighbors' roofs.
    • "Where's my 2-way wrist radio, which we'd now call a "wristphone"?" "

      Have you SEEN the size of high end watches these days? Like a Panarai? Most modern cel phones are smaller.

      Just put a friggin cel phone on a Panarai watch strap. Voila. Done.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Yeah, and if I wanted one that I could wear around the house, I could just strap a princess phone to my wrist with a really long cord.

        Mobile phone design really is a cinch!
  • Was whoever wrote this paid for each time he/she/it wrote "XEL-1 OLED TV?" I count five instances of "XEL-1" in the summary alone.
  • by kevin.fowler (915964) on Monday October 01, 2007 @10:03AM (#20809631) Homepage
    Oh sir... it's only wafer thin!
  • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday October 01, 2007 @10:52AM (#20810279)
    That's too bad. I was hoping for 2mm thin, but this one is only 3mm thin.

    Those marketeers are too smart for their own good.
    • by rs79 (71822)
      "That's too bad. I was hoping for 2mm thin, but this one is only 3mm thin. "

      I'd be surprised if when OLED tv's reach ubiquity they're still 3mm thick.

      The problem with real thin stuff is... well, it aint strong.

      There's been a race for the thinnest watch for just about as long as there've been watches.

      Concord [orolus.com] won, but at 1mm thick the watch had a problem - you can't actuall wear it - it bends. In practical terms they need to be a bit thicker [kioooe.com] than that.

      So I sorta wonder about 3mm. Especially once you get into
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        I think my sarcasm missed you a bit...

        3mm is plenty thin for me, as it's thinner than, oh, a piece of sheetrock, for example. I was just making fun of the marketeers. They failed to realize that by combining "only" with the reversal of thick to "thin", they actually inverted the meaning.

        As for your watch example, 1.15mm is impressive, but using a quartz movement to achieve it is cheating.
        • by rs79 (71822)
          No I got it. I just like watches.

          It's kinda tough to make a mevhanical watch with dozens of parts very thin. It's hard enough to make it thin with quarts; in the case of the Concord Delerium IV there are no plates, the caseback is part of the movement. Swatch ended up doing this too.
      • These guys [quinting-watches.com] went for thick, but that's because they had to stuff all the mechanics in the edges to leave the centre totally transparent. When I saw this watch for the first time in Zurich it took my brain a couple of secs to order a double take and work out how on earth the hands moved.

        It's IMHO totally pointless, but quite a fun idea..
  • The least the editors could do when editing a summary is fix marketing bullshit like "3mm thin". It's "3mm thick".

    While I'm here let me tell the eds about this other thing a lot of news sites like to have called "balance". In this case, it might have helped to mention the high cost in order to give the reader a full and balanced overview. Relying on tags is not the way to run a reputable news site.

    Oh, wait...
  • It looks like 30 mm to me and not 3 mm.
  • 960 x 540? why are they even bothering with that?

    It sounds like OLED should be much cheaper to mass produce than LCD so these prices are artificially high and should come down fast once they get the kinks worked out.

    Call me when there's a 50" full HD spec(1920x1080) one for sale around the same price as LCD and plasma are now.
  • My 17" uses a wee bit less power than that... so why would it be a good thing that an 11" uses more power than my 17"?
  • almost two grand for eleven inches. Now if Sony had managed to come up with a workable penis enlargement scheme, that $158.18 per inch would be very reasonable, not to mention more popular than any video display ever made.

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