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Japanese OEL TV Cooperative Planned

Sony and a group of Japanese manufacturers including Toshiba, Matsushita and Sharp said they plan to work jointly on the development of mass-producible large-sized OEL panels for TVs, according to a report on the Nikkei News Service.

Although details of the collaboration were to be announced later, Sony said it would join other firms, including joint ventures with Toshiba and Matsushita Electric Industrial, in the project, which is being initiated by the Japanese government.

Key goals of the project are to establish basic technologies needed to mass-produce energy-saving, high-definition OEL displays with screen sizes measuring 40 inches and larger. The initiative expects to see commercial release of OEL televisions within 10 years, or sometime in the latter half of the next decade. This TV will be thin enough to be attached to a wall like a poster.

An OEL panel is a light-emitting device similar to LEDs made from semiconductors. Similar to OLED, OEL devices have large emitting areas and high brightness levels. Currently, such devices are said to have luminance levels that exceed 100,000 cd/m2, or about 10 times brighter than a common fluorescent lamp, and is said to be energy efficient. The technology also offers high color saturation levels of blue, green, red and white hues.

Sony currently markets an 11-inch OLED TV set but producing large-screen OLED or OEL displays is said to be expensive and difficult in volume.

The Japanese government-affiliated New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) is coordinating the joint effort and is providing 700 million yen ($6.6 million) per year for five years (through 2012) to the project.

Ten companies have been named to the project so far, including: Sony and Sharp; joint venture partners Toshiba and Matsushita (Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology); OEL material suppliers Idemitsu Kosan and Sumitomo Chemical; and manufacturing equipment makers Choshu Industry, JSR, Shimadzu, Dainippon Screen Manufacturing and Hitachi Zosen. Also participating is the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Nikkei reported.

The collaborative research effort will tackle the issues of enlarging the size of the panels and reducing their power consumption.