Sony's Latest OLED TV Prototype Is 1 Millimeter Thin

Sony has unveiled a prototype OLED (organic light emitting diode) television that's less than a millimeter thin -- that's one third the thickness of its current OLED television and a tenth that of its thinnest LCD (liquid crystal display) set.

The TV measures just 0.9mm and is based on a prototype 0.3mm screen that Sony first showed earlier this year. The prototype set was on show at the Ceatec 2008 electronics expo in Japan and attracted a steady stream of curious attendees, with many of them snapping pictures of it.

OLED is an emerging flat-panel display technology that uses an organic material that emits its own light, so no backlight is needed and that means displays are much thinner. The screens also consume less power than competing technologies, handle fast-moving images better and offer good color reproduction.

Sony's first OLED TV, the XEL-1, was launched at Ceatec 2007 and instantly became one of the most talked-about products at the show thanks to its bright and vibrant picture and thinness of just 3mm. The 11-inch set, which was also the first commercial OLED TV from any manufacturer, was accompanied on Sony's Ceatec 2007 stand by a prototype 27-inch screen that was back again at Ceatec 2008.

Sony still faces production problems in making larger screens, so there's no word on when the larger TV set will be launched.

The 0.3mm panel is based on the same screen that's used in the XEL-1. By carefully grinding down the glass substrate the panel is made thinner but also much more brittle. There were also no details of when the even-thinner 11-inch set might hit the market.

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