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October 3, 2007 // 11:28 pm - For the last three years, I've been covering new flat-panel display technologies, with a special focus on OLED, which I firmly believe will be the technology that will make current flat panel HDTVs look as old as the cathode ray tube.

An Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) flat-panel display is made of small lumps of organic material that glow when electrical current is applied, a process known as electro-phosphorescence.

This technology can produce self-luminous screens that don't require a source of light like to work (thus requiring less power), so manufacturers can obtain screens that are even thinner than LCD displays because there is no backlight.

Yesterday, Sony re-confirmed its plans to release the world's first OLED TV in 2007.

This December, Sony will deliver the first of its OLED TVs: the XEL-1, which has an 11-inch screen that is only 3-mm thick with a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and a native resolution of 960x540. Even though, the XEL-1 accepts 1080p video through HDMI that obviously will be scaled down.

The lifespan of this first OLED TV is around 30,000 hours (half of current LCD and Plasma HDTVs), which is enough time to watch eight hours of television per day for 10 years.

If those specs sound nothing special, you must remember this is the very first model of a new flat panel display technology that will become mainstream by 2015. That's why this first OLED TV will sell for $1,700 when it goes on sale in Japan.

Soon after Sony proclaimed the XEL-1 release, Toshiba announced it has pushed forward the release of its first OLED TV to 2009. Before the SED debacle, Toshiba was projecting a 2015 release for its first OLED HDTVs. Even by moving forward the release of OLED several years, Toshiba won't be able to change the fact that Sony will be the first-to-market OLED TV manufacturer.

OLED: The Future of Flat-Panel TVs Starts This December

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