OLED TV or J-U-N-K?by
The HDTV wars rage on. It didn’t take long for Sony Electronics’ competitors to trash its new organic light-emitting diode television at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Hours before Sony even held its late-afternoon press conference to announce it would begin selling its 11-inch OLED set immediately in the U.S., the company’s LCD rivals dismissed the promising OLED technology as irrelevant. OLED increasingly is being used in cell phones and other very small screens because it is energy-efficient and doesn’t require a backlight to offering dazzling colors. Some see it as the next evolution of the LCD TV business, but it remains difficult to manufacture in larger screen sizes. That hasn’t stopped Sony from flexing its technological muscle, with the Japanese consumer electronics giant showcasing a prototype 27-inch LED HDTV on Sunday. But executives at Sharp dismissed LED as “something to watch,” and warned that the technology conks out after just three years of use. I grabbed a couple of Sony execs after their event to ask them about this claim, and they stressed their diminutive but stunning-looking set has a lifespan of 30,000 hours, or about 10 years. The next question is, are there any takers for the $2,500 set that isn’t much bigger than a portable DVD player?