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Another display technology bites the dust

by David Mercer | 5月 30, 2007

One of the perennial questions we get asked is, what will be the next TV display technology? We have been predicting the dominance of LCD for at least the last 10 years, but until recently plasma was giving it a reasonable run for its money. As I mentioned in February, the only remaining LCD/plasma battleground is 50-60", and the plasma supporters are the ones under the most pressure. The industry had been expecting another large screen technology to enter the fray. Surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) technology was a joint venture of Toshiba and Canon until Toshiba pulled out in January over a dispute with Nano-Proprietary, owners of field emission display technology. At the time Canon claimed it still planned to begin pilot production of large (55") in June. It has now postponed those plans indefinitely, claiming that "prices of flat panels are declining more rapidly than expected". Where have we heard that before? Yes, Circuit City blaming plummeting TV prices for disappointing results back in December. Well, whatever the specific price projections Canon was working from, they would have had to be pure fantasy to believe that SED could be mass manufactured from a standing start to compete effectively with the millions of LCD TVs now be churned out across Asia. Don't get me wrong - SED was an impressive technology. We saw it demonstrated at CES 2006 and there was no question, if they had managed to get it off the ground it would have rustled a few competitors' feathers. But that's the problem with all so-called ground breaking new display technologies. Even if they offer radical performance improvements, their business potential and competitiveness has to be modelled on the basis of the market environment in five years' time, not today's. OLEDs are looking interesting in smaller sizes, but my bet is that LCD will remain dominant for a good few years to come.
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