back to article Sony backs away from OLED TV future

Sony is to exit the OLED TV market in Japan, almost two years after the launch of its ground-breaking 11in Xel-1 telly. The move, reported by Reuters, will see Sony continue to sell OLED TVs in Japan until stocks run down. However, a spokesman insisted the company will continue to offer the tellies in Europe and the US, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Where's all those people with more money than sense when you want them.

  2. Dirk Vandenheuvel


    >the consumer electronics industry has rallied behind 3D TV

    Luckily nobody cares.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    3D Fail

    I don't ever envisage sitting in my front room watching TV with glasses on.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: 3D Fail

        I don't ever envisage sitting in my front room watching TV without glasses on, because I wouldn't be able to see it at all. It's really not that big a deal.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Double Post Fail?

          I'm sure there is some Law about pointing out one Fail results in second fail.

    2. john.w

      You think!

      It took until I was 46 but the glasses arrived in the end.

  4. Yannick

    It makes sense unfortunately

    I've been eyeing the OLED technology since news appeared perhaps 7 or 8 years ago. And ever since, I've been anxious to read about any OLED advances and their showcase at each year's CES.

    However the first time I saw an LCD LED TV, a year ago, I thought to myself that will fill the gap nicely till OLED TVs are affordable and available at decent sizes. At the same time I had the sneaking suspicion that it might postpone any OLED advances and funding, as LCD LED is so much cheaper. That feeling is sadly confirmed today. I’m sure OLED will find it’s place in niche markets such as expensive Apple gadgetry, but I doubt I’ll see a 42’’ OLED TV in my lounge any time soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I was quite hoping that OLED would be the next big thing, so this is a slight disappointment.

      As for: "find it’s place in niche markets such as expensive Apple gadgetry"

      As far I know there aren't any Apple gadgets using OLED, are there?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The next big trend won't be 3D TV

    I can't remember the last time such an unwanted technology was being punted at us from all sides by the manufacturers.

    Hey, we can't deliver you higher quality screens, but now the News is in 3D, and you have to wear glasses!

  6. Hedley Phillips

    I don't want 3D

    I just want a good quality image and that was what OLED provided.

    I have spent many an hour in front of LCD televisions at friends houses and am yet to see a decent picture unless they had HD. Anything else looks washed out, blurry and pixelated.

    OLED is jaw droppingly beautiful. 3D is just daft.

    1. Ian K

      If the LCD TV gives a decent picture with HD...

      ...switching to OLED won't magically make non-HD look good.

      Your problem's with the original signal or the upscaling, not the display technology itself.

    2. Steve X


      I don't even give a damn about a good quality image. I'd settle for good quality programming. Or a good book.

  7. jon 44

    same again

    I remember this the first time around with the games industry in 2000, and it's exactly the same tech for games, for TVs the only difference is the adjustment to codecs and transmission platforms.

    It's all a waste of money. A nice novelty for the occasional movie but not for everyday use. I'll be skipping this one k thx!

  8. SuperTim

    I quite like 3D tv

    It may seem a bit daft but it is quite good.

    Wait, wait, i am putting my flame proof undies on....

    OK, Flame away.....

    1. Joe Ragosta

      3D TV problem

      3D TV has a serious problem. For people without binocular vision (which is a reasonable number of people including myself), 3D images (any technology at all) are nearly unwatchable. Unless you can turn it off, it will hopelessly degrade the image for a significant portion of the population. That will be the first time this has happened.

      When color TV was introduced, even if you were color blind, you could watch it. When HDTV was introduced, even if you have lousy vision, it is certainly no worse than the previous TVs. Flat screen TVs were again at least as good as the previous version (at least after the initial bugs were worked out). So, for every previous technology, there was no downside to buying a new TV.

      For many people (the number is in the millions), 3D TV won't work for them. It's going to therefore be a harder sell.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    F%&king Tw@ts

    Seriously Pissed off!

    SONY needs to sort itself out! They release a friggin useless tiny weeny screen that is a quarter of the size of a proper screen then dont sell any so anounce the tech has failed? ITs a SONY FAIL! FKing Idiots. RELEASE A PROPER SIZE SCREEN AND WATCH IT SELL!!

    Some Serious Bloody Corporate MUPPETRY IN ACTION! GRRR>R.....

    What is this some tech conspiricy? to kill off a good technology? why? kin idiots.

    @Yannick you idiot! it doesn't make sense at all. You admit: 'I've been eyeing the OLED technology' with the intention of buying presumably, BUT your proviso is: 'and available at decent sizes.' Which is exactly my point. this tech has never been available at the size that makes it worthwhile spending YOUR AND MY money on.

    AND before another muppet say but LCDLED is cheaper its also inferior! OLED is truely Beautiful Tech and worth a few quid more. oh yeah and its more energy efficient to..

    Looks like yet again I WILL NOT BE SPENDING MONEY THIS YEAR - Yeah that'll help the economy.

    Grrrr. bloody fuming does not get close to how I feel.....

    1. Yannick

      Now now, easy boy

      I think we both agree that OLED would kick ass if it were available at a reasonable price and size. You know why that's not the case already? Cause it's bloody difficult and expensive to produce! That's why I'm not surprised at Sony's decision in this cash strapped days. Now as an angry consumer you may not like it, but in business terms that DOES make sense.

      Wow, I managed to write this post without anonymity, swearing or calling other posters names, now how did I do that???

  10. James Pickett (Jp)

    I Like 3D

    OK - I won't be rushing to swap my LCD for it - but at ISE in Amsterdam a few weeks back, there were a few firms showing 40" 3D displays that don't require you to wear the glasses and one of them was absolutely amazing! (OK, the other two were rubbish, but you can't win them all).

    Only thing was, after 15mins of viewing, my spatial awareness was ruined for about 5mins, but they do say that happens in Amsterdam...

  11. Carl Williams

    3d and watery eyes

    Apparently I want to sit in my living room with watering and burning eyes watching 3d TV, I could only just stand the 3 hours at the Cinema watching Avatar (great film BTW and stunning in 3d) which is OK on the odd occasion, so why would I want to subject myself to the discomfort every night in my living room?

    It wasn't just me as my wife also had the same issue, I wonder what the long term issues maybe?

    Just give us a decent picture at a good price, which OLED will eventually do.

  12. Stu

    @AC - F%&king Tw@ts

    Mostly agreed with, I too am annoyed about this setback, its a shame that Sony, being a huge industry player might start the ball going with the rest of the industry to delay OLED, favouring this total 3D gimmick instead of true tech goodness.

    Its delay will NOT mean the prices will come down over time, if nobodys buying it, why the hell should it?

    @Sarah Bee - I too wear glasses (doesn't everybody in IT!?) but it'll be a cold day in hell when the industry successfuly peddle a set of headache inducing eyewear onto my face - I've seen a 3D TV, a total and utter gimmick and I couldn't sit watching the 3D footage for longer than, I guess, 30 mins.

    Its all kind of like how the industry tried to peddle Minidisc music players onto all of us prior to the MP3 revolution, plus countless other examples, hopefuly 3D TVs will be the same in that it didn't happen. Am I right in saying that Minidisc was essentially a quality step-down from CDs!? I think it was.

    Its only been a few years since the industry successfuly peddled HDTV onto us all - do you think in this climate that we'd all be happy to go out and pay out again?

    Most people will remember how TVs were sold to us back in the 60s, 70s, 80s AND 90s and last a good one-to-two decades in our living rooms! People haven't forgotten, and will undoubtedly be up in arms a few years from now when the current crop of hot-running chippery inside modern HDTVs burn out and die, roughly after about five to ten years instead of decades.

    Its all a huge consumer con to get us to buy TVs more often than we used to.

    OLED tech, however does show promise for longevity, save for the fact that blue OLED cells have a shorter lifespan, its still pretty long tho. Its hoped that even LED backlit LCDs will live longer than CCFL LCDs simply because of the heat issues, theoretically the chippery behind OLED can run cooler as a result too. Heat issues are further compounded by the cold winters & central heating and hot summers temperature fluctuations.

    So, we'll all meet back on these forums in a few years time when El-Reg post a collection of articles about the huge consumer con about TVs lasting only a few years shall we?

  13. Schultz Silver badge

    Re:Re: 3D Fail

    I don't ever envisage sitting in my front room watching TV with two pairs of glasses on, because I wouldn't be able to fit them at all. It's really that big a deal.

    Fail of Fail of Fail does make it wrong, dunnit?

  14. jon 77

    nope looks like 'damage limitation'...

    No one is spending that much money any more, and the HD nutters out there are starting to believe the 'fools gold' that is 'LED TV' ..

    they dont know or even bother that it is ONLY the back-light that is LED.. just like the ones that ask for a 20" full hd TV...

    Hey you want it, we'll sell it to you... but dont come back complaining it dont work like a 40" one does!!!

    When sales of 3D everything drop off, then I guess they will do another U-turn!!... what other loony tech is there left, I wonder??

  15. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up

    Reality sinks in

    When OLED was talked about 5 years ago it was seen as the future. Cheap as chips to make with fantastic display capabilities and low power consumption.

    However reality has shown that keeping water vapour out (LEDs can't stand water) has made them expensive and small.

    The current OLED panels can only be made in quite small sizes up to now. So do not benefit from the usual scaling up of production. But I see a company called Kateeva in Menlo Park, CA USA may have cracked this issue.

    See for more details that The Register has missed. :-)

  16. vincent himpe

    oled suffers from infant mortality ...

    It was never a viable technology. The screens burn in and luminosity degrades very quickly.( one year to 50% point )

    and its costly as hell.

  17. Ascylto


    Looks like a good acquisition for Microsoft, then. Innovation!

  18. jon 77

    @ vincent himpe

    mortality??? that what they said about almost EVERY new tech for ages....

    CD scratches, /melts/ rots... they improved it massively..

    DVD / bluray scratches... they have an 'armor plated' covering now, or just use a caddy!!

    plasma / LCD they all had problems with burn-in, failing, imperfections, viewing angle... powrr problems...

    plasma has improved to compete with LCD, except for the weight??

    LCD problems?? that what is in front of those LED TVs...

    OLED... that is what a LOT of mobile phones use for a display!!

    OLED TVs will be back, when the 3D market gets tired, and they need sell more TVs!!!

  19. Joe Ragosta


    All the arguments about LED being more expensive and harder to produce (and shorter life) are begging the question: Is that due to a fundamental flaw with the technology or our implementation stage?

    We've been making LCD screens for decades, but OLED for only a couple of years. On paper, it looks like it should eventually be cheaper and easier to make than LCD and superior in brightness and contrast and the problems aren't insurmountable (the luminosity fade has been greatly reduced already). I hope that Sony's pull-out doesn't mean that no one will continue to do the basic research to make this a superior technology.

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