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Canon-Toshiba Joint Venture On SED Collapses 93

An anonymous reader writes "SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display) displays were supposed to be the brightest, most energy-efficient TVs to hit the market, so Canon and Toshiba created a joint venture in 2004 to capitalize on the emerging technology. The resulting entity, SED Inc., was sued in 2005 by Nano-Proprietary, the company that licensed SED technology to Canon in 1999. Nano-Proprietary says that the deal it signed with Canon doesn't extend to Toshiba. Rather than continue to fight the lawsuit and delay SED even further, Canon has now decided to buy out Toshiba's stake in SED Inc." Canon says that SED TVs will be delivered on time in Q4 of this year, but volume manufacturing (which Toshiba was supposed to handle) is being rethought.
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Canon-Toshiba Joint Venture On SED Collapses

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  • Jerks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by QueePWNzor ( 1044224 )
    It looks like a good idea (the TVs.) Unfortunately, legal "mumbo jumbo" has, as always, gotten in the way. I don't see why Cannon had to give up, they could have probably dealt with it in court. Now the world can't replace their 2-day old, state-of-the-art 50in. plasma high-def sets. (sniffle) I don't like the idea of this split, and hopefully they'll find some way to make it work out. But Toshiba will probably hate Cannon temporarily, especially with the "Canon had planned to exploit Toshiba for its 'm
    • But Toshiba will probably hate Cannon temporarily, especially with the "Canon had planned to exploit Toshiba for its 'mass-production technologies,'" remark.

      Exploit is a transitive verb with two meanings/usages. "To make productive use of", and "to use unfairly to one's advantage."

    • Good job Nano-Proprietary, All you have done is screw yourself and your technology in becoming the next biggest thing. Because we all know what a powerhouse the TV building company Canon is, you basically killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.
  • Well, guess this just means that we'll need to wait even longer for SED sets that anybody other than Bill Gates can afford.
    • by JFMulder ( 59706 )
      Actually, I think I read somewhere that prices on SED would drop faster than LCDs. They are cheaper to make apparently.
      • I wouldn't count on that. I've heard that LCDs are cheaper to manufacture than CRTs and they're certainly not cheaper for consumers. Of course I have absolutely no source and a bit of googling didn't result in any info on it.
        • i understand the high cost of lcd's partly comes from the high percentage of defects (dead pixels).
          • "i understand the high cost of lcd's partly comes from the high percentage of defects (dead pixels)."

            You bet. I bought a pair of 20" screens for home and a pair for work. Really good brand-name, too. Of the 4 LCDs, two had dead pixels. Of course, I had to prove that the number of dead pixels exceeded the threshold at which they'll accept a return, but the dark spot was pretty big. It would have been a huge distraction.
        • by jguthrie ( 57467 )
          My understanding is that the part of the CRT that's hard (and, therefore, expensive) to manufacture is the shadow mask, and SED's don't have a shadow mask, so a lower manufacturing cost is still something that could be hoped for. We'll have to see what happens. I've been watching the SED technology for a decade, and it's been a couple of years off that whole time.

          On the other hand, you can get some really excellent deals on totally huge CRT's right now (like the 23 inch display I'm looking at right now

  • by master_kaos ( 1027308 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @01:14AM (#17599752)
    This display seems like a very interesting step forward. Huge Contrast ratios (in the tens of thousands), fast response time, and a very nice viewing angle. I just wonder how long after they hit the consumer market that they will be in the common living room. Besides the hardcore enthusiasts, people will not be anxious to give up their brand new LCD flat panel TV and replace it with one of these. Oh, and one thing they should test for in QA is how hard of a throw it can withstand by someone who lets go of their Wii Remote.
    • Last displayed models had contrast in the millions, not tens of thousands... The reason, black is pretty much true black, i.e. no light emitted, only extremely limited bleed from pixels directly next to them due to the way the technology creates the light in the first place. LCD's have a backlight that can never really be gotten rid of until a per pixel backlight is created (or a per pixel block, i.e. every block of 4 or 16 pixels have their own controllable backlight).

      The color space I believe is 24 bit
      • I think the limiting factor will be that they want to use the power savings of the set as a selling point, and having a refresh rate 2x the speed of the competition would mean you need to use almost 2x the power since that would mean sending 2x as many electrons through the nanotube guns of the emitters.

        Why would the power increase that much? Maybe I'm not understanding part of the technology, but I would think that the electron stream would remain constant if there was no change in the color through a pe

      • colour space is not bit depth, and bit depth does not affect gamut.
        referenced bit depth is of 10 bits per channel [RGB]; 24 is silly number.
        power usage is not per frame. other errors too drunk to continue.
        clueless poster posting at length again. cheers.
        • Actually color space and bit depth are intertwined. You can't fully display a certain color space without having the bit depth needed to reproduce all the color shades associated with the color space. I agree that 10 bit is very sufficient for TV use, but in the future, TV's and large monitors may very well converge, just as the convergence for media PC's is already happening now. This display technology is not limited to just TV's. It can and possibly will be used for other things such as graphics work and
          • this also is not quite correct. hopefully i can be helpful:
            a colour space is mathematically defined (continuous, infinitely precise), defined for output-dependent (ie, component) standards by the chromaticity of the primaries. in other words, the ideal. the gamut is the radiometric limit from 0 to 100% intensity within that space. in other words, the real/measurable. the gamut can have concavities and even holes in it.

            you could have a very accurate (to 4-bits) 4-bit display of sRGB or even Wide Gamut c
  • This is a great example of non-news being used in an attempt to stir up some Patents Suck shit here. Nano-Proprietary owns some technology that Toshiba doesn't wish to pay the price for. This get's in the way of the SED venture, so Canon buys 'em out. Earth-shaking. Down with patents, blah, blah, blah...
    • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @01:31AM (#17599844)
      Yeah, well. They don't call it Nano-Proprietary for nothing, I guess. Now, if they'd called themselves Nano-GiveAwayTheCandyStore that would be different.
    • by Pooua ( 265915 )
      Frosty Piss: "This is a great example of non-news being used in an attempt to stir up some Patents Suck shit here."

      You could take that view of the story, but I always perk up my ears when I heard anything on this technology. I have been waiting for it to be commercialized for about 15 years. I saw this particularly story, though, a week or 2 ago, maybe longer.
  • Explains a lot (Score:5, Informative)

    by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @01:38AM (#17599894)
    SED's were supposed to be in mass production and shipping in Japan in early 2006. I can see now why they haven't been actively marketed, and have even been pulled from US trade shows [macnn.com].
    • Re:Explains a lot (Score:4, Informative)

      by donaldm ( 919619 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:31AM (#17600144)
      I was hoping that SED would be the driving force in bringing down the costs of LCD and Plasma and competing competitively with them especially after all the hype.

      There is a new/old (started early 1970's) technology called FED (Field Emission Display) which is being developed by Sony and they already are demoing 26in and 30in versions at 1080p, although they do need to demo much larger ones to be taken seriously.

      However FED like SED may not be acceptable if the overall costs are not significantly cheaper than LCD and Plasma. Still this technology may force further cuts in the flat panel market, which IMHO can only be good for the consumer. If you don't have a HDTV yet and are contemplating buying one, a six months wait may save you a considerable amount of money.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )
        If you don't have a HDTV yet and are contemplating buying one, a six months wait may save you a considerable amount of money.

        I got one. It was considerably cheaper than the products six months earlier. It was considerably more expensive than the products six months later. Sorta reminds me of computers, there's always a better deal on the horizon. This one is still way off from being a mass produced alternative, and I wouldn't think this has any impact before 2008-2009.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by deblau ( 68023 )
        hahahahah, sorry, every time I see SED and FED I think "smoke emitting diode" and "fire emitting diode". old joke from way back, goes with "light emitting resistor".
      • they already are demoing 26in and 30in versions at 1080p, although they do need to demo much larger ones to be taken seriously.

        Depends what they're for. For computer monitors, the number of pixels in a small area is very important. I find a 23" display is big enough, but the difference between a 100dpi and a 200dpi display is staggering in terms of visual quality (particularly when reading text; you can say goodbye to hacks like sub-pixel AA). Unfortunately, the cost of a 200dpi TFT is about two orders of magnitude (base 10) more than the cost of a 100dpi one. Anyone who can sell a reasonably cheap 200dpi (or more) flat screen

    • by mrmeval ( 662166 )
      The idiots holding the patents seem to be the drag on it's release. It's ok the more crap they ladel on using their 'intellectual property' the less the industry will be willing to deal with them.
  • by SIGBUS ( 8236 )
    And here I thought that SED stood for "Smoke Emitting Diode." I don't think those would make very good displays, though.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's better than shit emitting diodes.
      • by Soko ( 17987 )
        It's better than shit emitting diodes.

        I disagree. If you ponder the vast majority of 'content' delivered by the major networks to screens everywhere these days, Shit Emitting Diode is actually rather apropos.

    • by Jonathan ( 5011 )
      And here I thought that SED stood for "Smoke Emitting Diode."
      And I thought it was the old East German Communist Party [wikipedia.org] (Socialist Unity Party of Germany, or Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, or SED) and wondered why Canon and Toshiba would be interested in that...

  • by e144539 ( 556142 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:05AM (#17600030)
    A few months ago, I was wondering what happened to this tech, so I went searching. Turns out it has been in development for about 20 years, and it was first estimated to be out in the late 90's.

    I'm too lazy to look for a link..
    Well, Wikipedia should say something about it...


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface-conduction_el ectron-emitter_display#History [wikipedia.org]
  • Brinkmanship (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stox ( 131684 )
    Canon is betting that Nano-Proprietary will capitulate now that their revenue stream is cut to zero for the time being. I suspect that we will see Canon and Toshiba back together in the near future once Nano-Proprietary caves in.
  • by Jeff Tong ( 1050986 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:49AM (#17600240)
    I believe LCD panels with LED backlight unit is going to wipe out all opponents in the market. Such a combination is by no mean superior to OLED or SED. However, both technologies of LCD an LED are owned by Taiwanese companies. Some of them are even ready to produce LCD panels with LED backlight units. Although the price of LED backlight unit is currently much more expensive that of traditional CCFL, it may be lowered to a relatively low level in the next few year. As a result, LCD will knock out all rivals in the world and dominate the market of flat display panel.
    • by BrianH ( 13460 )
      I certainly hope not. I have yet to see an LCD TV that had brightness and contrast controls that worked worth a dang. Every LCD panel I've ever had has been too bright, and ended up a grey washed out mess when I tried to dim the picture. When you tack in the viewing angle issues (my living room, like many, doesn't even HAVE chairs pointed at the TV, so EVERYONE views "off-angle"), LCD technology leaves a bit to be desired. I've bought four of them now, and have returned all four to the store within two days
    • I have a Sony TX2 which has an LED backlight; the x-black display is beautifully sharp and contrasty (1280x768), and the backlight very even. If that's the future of LCD displays, I'd be very happy!

      My (suddenly realised it's quite old, eight years now) Sony Wega Trinitron glass flat-tube TV is still going strong, so I'm not going to rush into replacing it just yet, until I know whether LCD+LED is coming, whether SED will actually turn up... and the whole issue of HDMI/HDCP/DVI is clarified, such as wehet
  • Legal Mumbo Jumbo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jours ( 663228 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:54AM (#17600256)
    What's interesting to me is the bottom part of TFA titled "Legal Mumbo Jumbo". I haven't been following this, but it sure sounds like the case has been awfully contentious.

    Most important though, the complaint is (1) that Toshiba wasn't licensed and (2) that there is a breech of the agreement with Canon over "excluded products" (among a bunch of other stuff). That might mean that - Toshiba or not - Canon's not going to be free of the lawsuit, and not going to be releasing SED products either. Curiously, Nano's site doesn't mention any other licensees of their technology. So...one has to wonder if Toshiba and Canon together can't get these things to market and make them competitive, then who are they hoping to find that can do it?

    Seems to me the best move would've been to let Canon/Toshiba take them to market and then go after all the competitors (Sony, Phillips, Hitachi, etc) for a license when they try to enter the market. But I guess that's why I don't own a multi-billion dollar electronics company.
  • Just another shining example of people and patents getting in the way of innovation and the future. People need to realize that money isnt everything, and that the growth of our species is more important then someones wallet.
    • If someone was interested in the growth of our species, then yet another technology to bring Donald Trump into our homes would be the last invention on the list. Let them wrangle.
  • Will SED technology be making it to the projector market? I mainly just watch movies, so projectors are really where my interest lies.
    • by rastom ( 1051192 )
      How could SED be used in a projector? The whole point is that there is a flat piece of glass with phospor dots on it like a CRT, behind which is an array of electron emitters (very much like an LCD grid).

      The best idea I heard for projectors was a kind of CRT which lased in the direction of the electron beam. This meant it had continual focus, i.e. it was in focus at any distance. Some Russian guy I met about 10 years ago was talking about it but I don't know if it got anywhere. Something like http://www. [turpion.org]
  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:09AM (#17600328) Journal
    I'm wondering how small they'll eventually be able to get these. I wonder if they'll ever get to the point where they can fit one of these in a laptop. SEDs should only consume power proportional to the brightness of the display, so I could see light lettering on a dark background coming back; display less stuff, use less power.

    Add an SED to a laptop with solid-state storage (which, by the time this is feasible, will be at least where laptop hard drives are today), and the continuing work on processors that can shut themselves down nicely, and we may get some truly efficient laptops out of the deal, that only use power when actually doing something. Imagine instead of "suspending", just setting a "blank the screen" screensaver, and ending up with about the same power usage as a suspended laptop of today, only your torrent is still going...

    A man can dream.
    • SEDs are not meant for computer monitors ~ at least until they fix the burn in issues.
    • OLED will be IMO more feasible for use in laptops before SED. OLED is already being used in small devices like mp3 players, car stereos, cameras, and stuff like that, while SED is not. Sony has a 27" 1080p TV on demonstration in Vegas [gizmodo.com], as well as many smaller models.

      As you can see, they're already very thin (the one on the second pic is about as thin as the LCD on my laptop [hp.com]) and from my understanding of how the technology works, individual pixels will be powered proportionally to the brightness needed, so b
    • Having a white on black display is such a big step down for the average "know nothing about computers" user that I don't think that would ever get a big enough market. If a laptop can be in, say 10 hours / 24 use while being charged once a day, I don't think a move to 24 hours charge would be a big enough step for most users to justify the "ugly" display.

      If the OLPC idea of charging your laptop with muscle power catches on, things might look different.
      • by Jerf ( 17166 )
        You wouldn't be forced to use that color scheme. If the displays don't look at least as good as current LCD they're not going to sell.

        It's just that if you're "in the know" and understand what's going on, you could choose a light-on-black display to save power. And with the improved contrast ratio, that might not be so bad.
    • Imagine instead of "suspending", just setting a "blank the screen" screensaver, and ending up with about the same power usage as a suspended laptop of today, only your torrent is still going...

      Your suggesting are inherently contradictory. If you're downloading a torrent, you can't power-down your CPU. Power management is getting better, but you'll never get near Suspend-level power usage with any CPU activity. Not to mention , when active, you need more power for accessing RAM. Your solid-state hard dri

  • Since when has the US been run by lawyers? We didn't elect them so why do they have so much power over us? Companies are so quick to sue that there obviously is a problem here. Maybe the better system is to force a binding arbitration so both sides would rather settle than go to the court system. Most of these lawsuits seem to be about one group trying to extort money out of another group. We need to accept intent as being part of a contract. If they obviously had the best intentions then there should be no
  • In fact, it's N-P hard.

  • Events like these are among the most tragic in the business world as all they're doing is being destructive to their own areas of business. :-(
  • This blows,...... as one of the last remaining videophiles who won't snip his testicles off to use an LCD / Plasma or DLP I'm crushed.

    This can only mean bad or highly priced things for SED.

    All I damn well want is exactly the same quality picture as my beautiful CRT's only larger and lighter, hell you can even keep the cost somewhat (reasonably) higher. I can't deal with Plasma or LCD the picture is just "washy" and nasty - really nasty even sometimes when I begin to weaken and think "hell maybe this isn't s
    • by karnal ( 22275 )
      I've recently moved to an LCD panel as my main computer monitor... but if I could find someone who still made Trinitron style monitors (say 22" or larger) I would buy one in a heartbeat.

      Sadly, every CRT I've ever had has gone the wayside of getting blurry except for the trinitrons. And I've not purchased one larger than 17", so I don't want to go back to a 17 for daily use...
      • by rs79 ( 71822 )
        I love the new LCD displays. It means all the good Trinitron CRTs are stupid cheap now on Craigslist. Woo hoo. There's lots...

        You couldn't pay me to switch from crts.

      • by Pooua ( 265915 )
        "if I could find someone who still made Trinitron style monitors (say 22" or larger) I would buy one in a heartbeat."

        That is very large for CRTs. ViewSonic still sells CRT monitors, but only up to 21".

        ViewSonic CRT Monitors [viewsonic.com]

        The largest CRT that I could find from any manufacturer is only 22". I'm using a 19" monitor at home.
    • I agree completely! I've been holding off on buying any kind of large screen hi-def tv because I thought these would be coming out soon. There's really no point in buying a crappy LCD when you compare the picture with a SED, but now who knows how long it will be!
  • by guidryp ( 702488 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @10:00AM (#17602022)
    http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=26219 [webwire.com]

    "Restructuring of Canon's ownership position does not resolve the pending litigation which goes to trial in a few weeks," said Tom Bijou, Chief Executive Officer of Nano-Proprietary, Inc. "We have terminated Canon's license as a result of breach of contract. Moreover, our complaint against Canon includes other counts, including fraud unrelated to the ownership of SED. We are, however, willing to enter into a new license agreement with Canon on reasonable terms."

    From all I have found, the fraud appears to be related to the inclusion of Toshiba without Nano-P knowledge, now that it is a wholly owned Canon venture that has yet to deliver a product, that seems rather scurrilous. It looks like an attempt to renegotiate (extort) for more money now that Canon is getting close to a real product. SED may wither on the vine if this keeps up. With years of development, I would be certain Canon has it's own IP portfolio that would pretty much eliminate anyone else going forward. This is already going to be in a niche product over the price point of most. Don't hold your breath on these. I am thinking Toshiba was happy to get out.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"