Is OLED Technology Doomed? Sony And Panasonic Dissolve Partnership, Set Sights On 4K Ultra HD TVs

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Sony and Panasonic will dissolve a partnership that began in 2013 to develop better methods of producing OLED displays. The two manufacturers were unable to overcome a series of technical barriers, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Panasonic and Sony will instead focus on the development of 4K Ultra HD (UHD) displays. Sales of televisions with Ultra HD 4K resolution, with roughly four times the resolution of current 1080p HD sets, are expected to leap to five million worldwide in 2014, up from 1.95 million in 2012 according to analysis firm DisplaySearch.

The two companies planned to combine Sony’s OLED technology with Panasonic’s method of production, which involved the printing of organic material onto a base layer. According to the report, Sony and Panasonic were unable to lower the cost of OLED production, nor improve the durability of the panels.

OLED vs. 4K (Ultra HD) TVs

OLED panels are considered an improvement over standard LED-LCD displays currently on the market since they are brighter, thinner and more flexible than liquid crystal displays. While 4K Ultra HD represents a new standard for TV screen resolutions, offering four times the pixel density of a similarly-sized 1080p display, OLED panels offer better black levels and other improvements over other technologies.

OLED TVs produce light from the same pixels where they display a screen image, therefore requiring no backlighting. Current LCD TVs are often backlit with a series of light-emitting diodes or LEDs, resulting in a distortion of colors and dark scenes in film and video games.

OLED TVs also consume significantly less power than current displays, and offer wider viewing angles than HDTVs currently found in stores. OLED prices of $10,000 and up kept consumers from widely adopting the technology. On Tuesday, DisplaySearch cut its global forecast for OLED TV sales from 20,000 down to 5,000 for 2013.

Several manufacturers are expected unveil new television models showcasing the latest technology on January 7 in Las Vegas, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). LG and Samsung have both announced that they will unveil 105-inch, Ultra 4K HD televisions featuring curved LED panels at CES 2014.

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