updated 08:15 am EDT, Tue May 25, 2010
Canon says SED too expensive for home
Canon on Tuesday said it would drop development of SED (surface-conduction electron-emitter display) TVs for home use. It planned to keep working on the technology for business uses, such as medical displays, but said the technology wasn't profitable in TVs as LCD and plasma had fallen too quickly in price. Officials noted they wouldn't write off the development costs, but wouldn't say what these had been.
SED began development in 1999 as a joint project between Canon and Toshiba as a potentially superior alternative to then-expensive LCDs. It uses the electron firing technology of tube TVs but does so at a per-pixel level that theoretically gives all the color accuracy and ghost-free speed of a traditional CRT display but the sharpness and thin design of an LCD. Since its inception, however, it has faced numerous delays, including a defeat in a lawsuit and Toshiba's departure, which forced it to shoulder much of the remaining cost and development itself.
LCD and plasma have also rapidly caught up to where SED had hoped to be, as faster displays and techniques like local-dimming LED backlights have made up for most of the drawbacks. A modern, high-end LCD TV can generation contrast ratios significantly over 1,000,000:1 where, in 2006, Canon had still expected a then advanced 50,000:1.