Sony Surprises with 'Real' LED TV
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
January 13 2012 04:50 PM ET
Sony at CES unveiled a 55-inch working prototype of a new HDTV technology using all-LED lights, the same display technology used in the bright signs lining the Las Vegas Strip. Sony's Crystal LED uses 6 million miniaturized LED lights to offer "4K" resolution, or four times the clarity found in today's max-resolution 1080p HDTVs.
The new technology eliminates the need for backlighting and offers a viewing angle of 180 degrees, giving viewers the flexibility to sit just about anywhere in a room and see a high-quality picture. With the tiny LEDs mounted on the front of the display, the picture is 3.5-times brighter in a light room compared with existing LCD displays, according to Sony's tests against its own LCD TVs.
Benefits of Crystal LED
It also can display a 1.4-times wider color gamut, much like the difference between small and large boxes of Crayola crayons. Just red? No, you'll see every shade from Razmatazz to Scarlet. Sony clocked video-image-response times at 10 times those of its current sets, which should improve fast action scenes and sports.
Further, Crystal LED consumes about one-third less power than the most efficient LCD TV, around 70 watts compared with 101 watts.
Exciting stats for home-theater aficionados, but Sony was vague as to when the new sets would become available, saying only that they "will work conscientiously to bring the Crystal LED display to market."
Sony faces challenges
"It could be years," Paul Semenza, senior vice president for analysis firm DisplaySearch, told TechNewsDaily. "This is the first working sample to be shown publicly, and while it is not clear how Sony produced it, in order to be a product in the market, there will need to be development of the materials, components, and manufacturing equipment that would allow reliable production of millions of sets a year."
Beyond the technical challenges, Sony will likely face consumer confusion. When LED-backlit LCD sets were introduced about two years ago, manufacturers took the easy route and shortened that acronym mouthful to three types of TVs : plasma, LCD and LED. And now they are being told there is another kind of LED TV?
To further confuse things, both LG and Samsung unveiled 55-inch versions of another LED technology called OLED (pronounced "o-led"). It's the same concept except that it uses an organic material. LG and Samsung plan to bring their models to market later this year. Neither company announced pricing, but OLED TVs are expected to initially cost at least twice what LCD sets do.
Sony is covering its bets by developing both OLED and Crystal LED TVs.