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Sony axes OLED TV business


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Sony has axed its home OLED TV plans, ceasing production of domestic-focused sets using the organic light-emitting diode technology, and focusing on LCD panels moving forward. The news – coming as both Samsung and LG prepare to unveil OLED HDTVs at CES 2012 this week – is the latest stage in Sony’s huge overhaul of its ailing home entertainment business, Yomiuri reports, short-comings of which are expected to contribute to $1.15bn in losses in the most recent financial quarter.

Sony will continue to push OLED displays for its corporate clients, such as broadcast television and other niche uses. However, North American and European sales of OLED sets will cease, just as they did in Japan back in 2010, and new models on the roadmap have been cancelled.

The company was the first to commercialize an OLED TV, the XEL-1, all the way back in 2007. Measuring just 11-inches and a scant 3mm thick, the XEL-1 nonetheless carried a vast price tag: around $2,500.

Sony followed the XEL-1 with the promise of a $200m investment in an OLED production line, hoping to deliver medium and large scale panels. That cash injection seems to have been for naught, however, and Sony is scaling back on all its panel endeavors including selling up its share of the S-LCD joint-venture with Samsung. Sony will continue small-scale R&D into OLED, the company has said, but for now it seems the Japanese firm is content to let its Korean rivals own the OLED space.

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