LAS VEGAS – Although the pickings for revolutionary
new and “real” TV products at International CES
have been arguably slim in recent years, the 2012
showcase proved to offer up a few enticing big-screen
morsels, and even some promises of actual market introductions
by the end of the year.
AMOLED TV technology – offering razor-thin panels,
rich color saturation, and deep contrast and black
levels – has been dangled in front of CE-starved audiences
since Sony introduced its $2,500 11-inch XEL-1
AMOLED TV in 2008.
The 3mm-thin, 960 by 540 resolution small screen
established a small buyer’s market but created great
anticipation for the new AMOLED technology before
Sony finally halted production in 2010, as analysts
pointed to issues with a limited panel lifetime (17,000
hours to half brightness by some accounts) compared
with 100,000 hours for some LCD and plasma sets.
The technology was also said to suffer from uneven
aging of colors, with DisplaySearch reporting that after
1,000 hours blue luminance degraded by 12 percent,
red by 7 percent and green by 8 percent.
But the display did establish an eager potential market,
with early adopters anxious to see newer and larger
LG, Samsung and Sony all addressed this demand
at International CES with offerings that were curiously
similar, yet different at the same time. Toshiba also once
again demonstrated an AMOLED TV but offered no introduction
Both LG Electronics and Samsung introduced their
own versions of 55-inch AMOLED TV sets, with both
saying they plan to bring the products to market before
the end of the year.
Sony, meanwhile, stepped a little farther out of the box
when it showed what it called a 55-inch CrystalLED, billed
as “the industry’s first 55-inch FullHD self-emitting display.”
Sony’s new technology is based on wire bonding three
inorganic RGB LEDs per pixel (one for each sub pixel)
on the front of the display.
As for the new AMOLED introductions, LG’s 55-inch
unit was based on white OLED using an RGBW color filter
and LG’s Color Refiner technology that the company
said will produce natural, accurate and consistent colors
with optimal panel sharpness. A special algorithm was
also developed to improve viewing angle while further
refining hues and tones.
The demo model 55EM9600 included a pedestalstyle
design with the electronics built into the base to
achieve a minimum 4mm panel depth.
The set was said to weigh 16.5 pounds.
In contrast, Samsung’s 55-inch AMOLED panel was
based on red, green and blue OLED sub-pixels and measures
less than 0.3 inches deep. Electronic circuitry is
housed in an outboard box to achieve maximum panel
Samsung said the technology produces richer and
more accurate color saturation while improving viewing
angle and reducing motion blur, compared to LCD TVs.
Meanwhile, Sony said its CrystalLED approach dramatically
improves light-use efficiency and produces images
with 3.5 times higher photopic contrast, 1.4 times
wider color gamut, and 10 times faster video image response
compared to existing LCD panels.
Sony was careful to say the prototype was only a technology
demonstration and there were no current plans
for a market introduction.
A spokesman had no information on the viability of
production efficiency compared to AMOLED screens,
and could not say if Sony was now leaning more toward
CrystalLED than AMOLED for its display technology of
Also unanswered were questions about the potential
longevity of the inorganic LED display compared to
For its part, LG also unveiled an 84-inch “4K” LEDbacklit
LCD TV that was pitched as offering the ultimate
high resolution 3D viewing experience when paired with
LG’s Cinema3D passive-glasses system.
LG’s 84-inch Full HD 1080p 4K (called “ultra definition”)
LCD TV, boasted 3,840 by 2,160-pixel resolution, Cinema 3D (passive glasses), smart-TV features
and a Magic Motion remote with voice control.
LG did not say exactly when the set would ship
to dealers or at what price.
Also in on the next-gen-tech action was Sharp,
which once again showed its 8K by 4K ultra-definition
LCD display as a technology statement, with
no finite marketing plans.