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Toshiba's SED technology faces further delays

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 03 Jan 2007 4:03 User comments (7)

Toshiba's SED technology faces further delays With the world moving towards high definition video content, Toshiba's Surface-conduction electron-Emitter Display (SED) HDTV technology has caused a massive buzz ever since its prototypes were displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2006. IGN called them "easily the finest panel HDTV displays we had ever seen", due to their spectacular display and the promise the technology holds.
SED was created by both Toshiba and Canon in partnership, and works by using individual electron emitters for every color in every pixel. That amounts to a whopping 6,220,800 electron emitters in the prototype displays. Toshiba touts a contrast ratio of 100,000:1, towering over the 3,000:1 common with today's LCD and plasma displays.

After its appearance at CES in 2006, Toshiba revealed that the displays would not launch by the end of the year as had been speculated, but was more in line for a Q4 2007 launch. The prototype displays failed to make a return at CEDIA 2006. However, Toshiba and Canon revealed plans for a $1.5 billion manufacturing plant in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, which led to speculation that production could begin in 2006.

Unfortunately, Toshiba revealed in late December that the SED displays would not be present at CES 2007. Toshiba denied both technical and business reasons as the cause of the decision. The cause is Applied Nanotech, a subsidiary of Nano-Proprietary, which is currently involved in litigation with Canon related to licensed nanotechnology intellectual property.

The company accuses Canon of breaching an agreement by sharing information related to electron emissions from carbon nanotubes with Toshiba. Legal issues have been underway since April last year and in November, Cannon's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied. Construction of the Hyogo Prefecture plant is now thought to be postponed until the lawsuit is resolved.

If true, then meeting the Q4 2007 estimate seems very unlikely. Toshiba has made the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing the main focus of the SED launch, making August 2008 a viable window for launch. This gives other companies and other display technologies time to reduce the costs of production, causing more problems for SED when it finally arrives.

Reports are circulating that settlement discussions are already underway.


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7 user comments

13.1.2007 5:29

Another case of the advancement of technology hindered by law. It's not necessarily law's fault; Applied Nanotech just wants a piece of the pie, no matter how long they keep it in the oven. No surprise there, I suppose.

23.1.2007 7:53

SGSeries2 its not the law no its the corperations that abuse it.....

33.1.2007 8:15

Pity and I'm sure it's an inconvenience for them but then again SED was always going to 'use' the Olympics in 2008 as it's 'spring-board'. It's also true that the technology itself is apparantly much cheaper than LCD or Plasma (which themselves are not particularly expensive technologies now anyways). To maintain profit margin and so not go for the budget end of the market the SED plan is, apparantly, to go for the 'mega-size' end of the market (50" & 55" and above). It's also true that whilst SED has the potential for truly excellent images with contrast and colour (which neither LCD nor Plasma can get anywhere remotely near) it is also true that it will operate at a fixed resolution (1920 x 1080) which will make anything less than that look stretched and frankly a bit crap. Until everyone is broadcasting everything in at least 1080i SED isn't necessarily 'the answer'.

43.1.2007 8:24

hughjars I dunno reltivily cheap,color/contrast as good or better than crt but as small as lcd,10X more clear than the glut of crappy LCD/plasmas on the win win win 0_o

53.1.2007 15:08

In theory yes Zippy, you're right, but as I said my info is that they'll go for massive screen sizes to keep margins (and prices) high; at least to begin with.

63.1.2007 15:32

hughjars blah ,is there anyhting in to look for in LCD that shows its not grainy? I really ant find anyhting.

74.1.2007 3:55

CNT will bury SED. Da Ling - Taiwan, 50/50 with ANI. Remember Da Ling! Think DARLING.

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