Toshiba to Ship OLED TVs in 2009

Toshiba Corp. plans to begin selling televisions with OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) screens as soon as panels are ready, according to a company spokeswoman.

The first Toshiba OLED television sets should hit the market in 2009, said Yuko Sugahara [CQ], a company spokeswoman.

OLED screens offer higher contrast and faster response times than LCD (liquid crystal display) screens. OLED screens can also be thinner since no backlight is required. The carbon-based materials used to make OLEDs illuminate themselves when an electrical current is applied.

However, OLEDs are difficult to manufacture and degrade over time. Manufacturers are therefore working on ways to improve production yields and increase the lifespan of the screens.

Sony Corp. became the first company to introduce an OLED television on Monday, with the release of its XEL-1. The television, which goes on sale in December, has an 11-inch screen and has an estimated of lifespan of around 30,000 hours. That's enough time to watch eight hours of television per day for 10 years, Sony said.

While Sony was first to market with an OLED television, a lot of work remains to be done before the screens are ready for widespread adoption. The XEL-1 will be available in limited quantities, with Sony expecting to produce just 2,000 sets per month.

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