TOKYO -- Toshiba and Canon are investing $1.7 billion to build a factory that will make panels for a new type of flat-panel TV based on SED (surface-conduction electron-emitter display) technology, Toshiba said Tuesday.
The investment cost of the factory--to be built at an existing Toshiba site in western Japan, in Himeji--will be split evenly between the two companies. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year, and the factory will start producing 15,000 50-inch panels per month in January 2007, according to Hiroko Mochida, a spokeswoman for Toshiba.
SED combines elements of CRT (cathode ray tube) and LCD (liquid crystal display) technologies and is being positioned by the companies to compete with plasma TVs.
SED TVs can produce pictures as bright as those of CRT TVs and without the slight time delay sometimes associated with LCD TVs, according to proponents of SED. The technology uses as little as two-thirds the power that plasma panels use, according to Toshiba and Canon, which have been developing the technology since the 1990s.
TVs Expected in 2006
The factory is the second major investment Toshiba and Canon have made in the new TV technology. Last September, they said they would spend $1.8 billion to form a joint venture called SED to mass-produce the TVs.
SED will run the new factory, which will increase its production to more than 70,000 panels per month by the end of December 2007, Mochida said.
Toshiba produced CRT TVs at Himeji until it closed that operation last September, she said. The site currently has 1,300 workers making a variety of TV components, she said.
The first SED TVs should go on sale before the end of March 2006. Toshiba has yet to announce screen sizes and prices, but the devices are likely to sell at a premium above plasma TVs of the same size, the company has said.