TOKYO Toshiba Corp. and Canon Inc. have delayed the introduction of surface-conduction, electron-emitter display (SED) TVs by about 18 months and are reviewing their volume production plans at Toshiba's Himeji plant. Production was to have begun there in January 2007.
Both companies attributed the delay to growing cost competitiveness. They therefore decided to recalibrate the timing of their SED introduction to coincide with 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
SED technology has been gaining attention as a potential competitor to plasma displays and LCDs for large, flat TVs. Despite better picture quality, however, SED TVs must still compete with LCD and PDP TVs, which are dropping steadily in price
Canon has invested about $200 million in SED production at a plant in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa prefecture. It has been working to cut production costs at the R&D center there, but is still struggling with yields, according to an industry source.
With establishment of the R&D center last August, Toshiba and Canon had planned to introduce SED TVs by this spring. That introduction has been postponed to the fourth quarter of 2007. The R&D center will begin limited production of 55-inch panels in July 2007.
A volume production plan is under review. Toshiba will use its Himeji plant, where it has produced LCDs, for volume production of SED panels. It is being refurbished at a cost of ¥180 billion (about $1.7 billion). The plant was originally scheduled to begin operations in January 2007, with monthly production of 75,000 units. Toshiba is now reviewing its production schedule, a Toshiba spokesman said.
SED technology, originally developed by Canon, leverages the field emission phenomena. SED panels have the same structure and use the same phosphors as CRTs. They replace the CRT's electron gun with electron emissions at each pixel. Thus, SED panels provide higher brightness, color productivity and faster response times than CRTs.