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Sony 27in OLED TV to hit market 'fairly soon'

Production costs of 0.3mm thick TV still very expensive

Sony confirmed a 27in version of its Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) TV could hit the market next year.

At the D: All Things Digital conference, which was held in California this week, Sony CEO Howard Stringer told the Wall Street Journal that the 0.3mm thick OLED screen that was previewed in Tokyo last month, would be commercially produced.

"This is 0.3mm wide, it's a glass, we can produce this in plastic and you can wrap it around your arm, we're not quite sure why you would want to," he said.

"We're looking for applications for the next generation of the plastic version but this will come out in a 27in version fairly soon. Within the next 12 months, but we haven't given a date," Stringer added.

Sony launched its first OLED TV, an 11in model, in late 2007. The set, which also has the distinction of being the first commercial OLED TV in the world, won great acclaim thanks to the smoother, sharper and more richly coloured images it offers over today's LCD and plasma display panel (PDP) technologies. At the same time, the company also began showing a prototype 27in OLED screen.

Stringer didn't give much away when it came to pricing. The 11in model, which Sony calls the XEL-1, carries a relatively high price-tag of $2,500 (£1,250).

"It's a complicated process and obviously we are working very hard to find out how to mass-produce it but until then it's very expensive," said Stringer.

Stringer's reference to a plastic OLED panel was to a prototype announced by the company in May 2007. Then it showed a small 2.5in OLED manufactured on a plastic substrate. The screen has a resolution of 160x120 pixels and showed full-motion video while being bent and rolled.

Sony hasn't announced any sales targets for its OLED televisions but said earlier this month that it plans to sell 17 million LCD televisions in the fiscal year from April. That's a jump of about 7 million sets on the previous year. Sony hopes to achieve this by producing more models for the mid-market based on panels it will procure from Sharp. High-end sets will continue to feature panels produced by S-LCD, the LCD panel manufacturing joint venture it has with Samsung Electronics.

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