Sony is hoping to steal a lead on rivals this year by launching televisions that use OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays.

OLED screens have several advantages over the LCDs (liquid crystal displays) and PDP (plasma display panel) displays used in today's flat-panel TV. The OLED pixels feature an organic material that emits its own light, so no backlight is needed. That means the display panels consume less power and can be made thinner. OLEDs also handle fast-moving images better and offer good colour reproduction.

Sony plans to launch an OLED TV with an 11in screen in Japan during 2007, said Daichi Yamafuji, a spokesman for Sony in Tokyo. No other details of the product had been decided. Yamafuji said Sony's target applies only to a Japan launch and not international availability.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January the company wowed visitors with prototype OLED screens including 11in and 27in panels. The 11in prototype was just 11mm thick and offered a resolution of 1024 pixels by 600 pixels.

Sony, which wouldn't comment on prices for the new TVs, is not the only company developing OLED technology for use in televisions. Samsung Electronics has developed 21in and 40in prototypes and Seiko Epson has demonstrated a 20in screen. Toshiba Matsushita Display said this week that it has developed a 20.8in OLED display for use in future television sets.