Sony and Panasonic launch tie-up for latest design TVs

City A.M. Reporter
RIVAL Japanese television makers Sony and Panasonic said yesterday they will cooperate to make OLED (organic light emitting diode) sets as they battle Korean rivals Samsung and LG Electronics for pole position in the next-generation TV market.

The race to garner a lead in OLED, widely touted as the successor to liquid-crystal displays, will depend on which company is able to mass produce screens at a price that will attract consumers to the new technology.

Sony and Panasonic said in a statement they will develop technologies to fabricate the screens and aim to establish a mass-production process in 2013.

Both Samsung and LG Electronics have displayed 55-inch OLED prototypes, with the sets expected to go on sale this year at a rumored price tag of as much as $10,000 (£6,429), or about four times the cost of an equivalent LCD model.

Sony pioneered OLED technology, which boasts sharper images and does not need backlighting, selling the world’s first OLED TV in 2007. It halted production of the $2,000 screens three years later amid the post-Lehman global downturn. Sony still makes OLED screens costing as much as $26,000 for high-end customers.

Hammered by their Korean competitors in LCD TVs, Sony and Panasonic stand a better chance of competing by combining their OLED technologies and development budgets. Losses on TVs at Sony have mounted to around $12bn in the past decade.