updated 09:10 am EST, Tue February 16, 2010
Sony XEL-1 out in Japan, alive in US
Sony today said it would phase out its first OLED TV, the XEL-1, in its home country of Japan. The move comes slightly over two years since the late 2007 debut and is a direct reaction to slow sales of the 11-inch set, which sells for about $2,200. Sales in the US, Canada and other countries will continue for the foreseeable future.
The company still plans to develop OLED TVs, but a new model this year isn't deemed likely given the ongoing economic recovery.
Sony has been counting on the XEL-1 to help drive down the costs of making OLED TVs through economies of scale. Although it has helped Sony develop larger prototypes, its price has never dropped since release and has left a rapidly widening gap between the price of a regular LCD or plasma TV and the ultra-thin but costly OLED screen. The use of LED backlighting and overall boosts to contrast ratios have also negated some of the XEL-1's advantages in image quality.