October 2, 2006 9:45 PM PDT

Toshiba set to build 55-inch SED TVs

MAKUHARI, Japan--Toshiba plans new 55-inch televisions using a technology it says will provide better performance at a price competitive with liquid crystal displays and plasma units.

The company has made some manufacturing breakthroughs on its surface-conduction electron-emitter display, or SED televisions that will allow it to come out with televisions that will be competitive in price to large LCDs, Naoaki Umezu, Toshiba's chief specialist on SED, said during a hallway conversation with reporters at Ceatec, a high-tech trade show taking place here in the Tokyo area this week.

Umezu would not reveal what Toshiba and partner Canon have changed in the manufacturing process. He also said that SED televisions will sell at a premium over LCDs because they will provide a better viewing experience. Nonetheless, "it will be competitive with LCD," he said.

Price has been the sticking point for SED. Toshiba and Canon formed a joint venture around a concept a few years ago when plasma and LCD television prices were much higher. Since then, LCD prices have been dropping about 40 percent per year, and plasmas have been declining in price too. Analysts and competitors have claimed that the price declines were pushing SED to the margins. Toshiba and Canon delayed the launch of SED in March 2006 to July 2007. Originally, they were due to come out last year.

The first SED televisions will have a screen size of 55 inches and are set to appear in late 2007, putting it a little later than the previously postponement, and they will appear only in Japan at first. Toshiba, in fact, showed off a 55-inch prototype at the show. (The company has already shown off smaller prototypes.) Depending on sales, Toshiba and Canon will then decide whether to come out with smaller sets, or larger ones.

By the time the jointly owned factory is fully operational, it will be capable of producing 65,000 SED televisions a month, and the companies have a goal of increasing that number.

SED televisions are similar to traditional tube televisions. Electrons are fired at a screen to create images. However, instead of coming out of a large electron gun, the electrons are fired from several thousand nano particles. One advantage is that SED televisions are much thinner than tube televisions.

The performance and picture quality will also be far higher than LCDs or plasmas, he said. The contrast ratio is 50,000 to 1, far higher than LCD or plasma, he said. The response time is a millisecond, thus the image blur or ghosting that can occur with some LCDs doesn't occur.

SED televisions will also last for 30,000 hours, putting them on par with traditional tube TVs. Power consumption of SED televisions is about half that of plasma, Umezu said, and lower than LCD.

Toshiba and Canon will not license the technology to other manufacturers, but the companies may reconsider that approach in the future.

In terms of size, SED seems to compete more directly against plasma, which are generally larger. Most LCD sets sport screens less than 40 inches. LCD TVs, however, are getting larger and are gaining traction with consumers, he said.

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surface-conduction electron emitter display, manufacturing, Toshiba, LCD, plasma

20 comments

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At Last!
This is what I am waiting for, having delayed purchasing a 50+ plasma tv for an 50+ SED tv that is coming in 2007 here in Japan. I'll wait for the second gen like always and then replace my 5 year old cathode ray tube 32" Sony Hi-Vision tv.

If they're going to compete and match in price with LCD/Plasma and add a little premium to the excellent picture quality, then this IS a bargain.

After seeing with my own eyes an SED tv, it compares to none. To describe the SED experience, it's like looking at a mirror and discovering another world beyond it with incredible detail and depth.

For those that are willing to wait a couple of years, it's worth the wait. I've been waiting patiently since Canon/Toshiba announced SED and reading first account impressions.
Posted by Kiyomizu (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WooHoo
I have been holding off on buying an HDTV since I heard about this. I was almost ready to give in and buy a plasma, but now I'll wait. There is no way I would buy an LCD or even a DLP. LCD color sucks, and DLP's, I see the noise in. Granted the newer DLP's are much better, but I still see the noise, and it annoys me.

Yes, I am the first one in a room to complain when someone's PC monitor is still at 60hz, it drives me nuts.
Posted by bemenaker (438 comments )
Link Flag
It Never Made Sense ...
It never made sense to me to pay more money for any of the current technology flat panels when the picture quality was worse than a CRT. After all, it IS about picture quality! It's not about cool. It's not (for most applications) about that sleek form-factor. It's picture quality. I hope the SED sets meet the hyperbole, because I really would like a widescreen HD set--but not at the sacrifice of picture quality.

--mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Seeing and Believing.
I also thought that way, that is why I've kept my Sony Hi-Vision tv. I've seen how pretty and sleek LCD's and Plasma tv look but my 5 year old CRT HDTV with 1080i still blows them away.

But I've seen how the SEDtv looks and I'll just say this, it blows away my old CRT HDTV and all the other flat panels out there.

It's no hype, this one is for real and coming soon. Just wait until you see one to be convinced, I always have to see the product with my own eyes to even consider believing any "news" and "blogs" about an innovative product.

I do hope you see one so you can judge for youself. Like it convinced me, I think it will convince you too.

Kiyo.
Posted by Kiyomizu (30 comments )
Link Flag
Really?
As they used to say in the country where I was born "you are
trying to get drunk by drinking plain water" (loosely translated). I
was one of the early adopters as I bought a 42" Panasonic
plasma in 2001, to replace a super Trinitron by Sony. The
difference in image quality is huge (to the advantage of the flat
screen), as confirmed (subjectively) by all the people who saw it.
At least, if not more, think about the geometric distortions a
clasic CRT has, no matter how good it is.

If you really want to make comparisons, don't do this at large
electronic shops, they usually have no quality input to feed
those screens, most of the time their distribution system
introduces so much distortion and ghosting due to high SWR
(standing wave ratio) on the distribution cables that the images
landing on the sets is rather lousy. Not only once I had visiting
people saying "Wow, but your flat screen looks really much
better than those in the shops!... and I thought that they are
worse than CRTs". Please note, my plasma is NOT even HD ready
(it's a standard 840x400 pixels).

Claiming that a plasma is worse than a CRT (I cannot say the
same of TFTs, I would not buy one) is in the same category as
the claims that the tube amplifiers are better than their
transistor counterparts (MOSFET PAs) or vinyl records being
better than CDs.

Just my 2 cents.

Lix
Posted by lixpaulian (106 comments )
Link Flag
How much difference
One of the first comments I receive from someone who has switched to an LCD display from CRT is "why is it so grainy?" Although LCD has improved vastly in resolution compared to their predecessors, people DO notice the difference. If SED has the same quality as CRT, then it will be worth the wait rather purchasing an LCD or plasma TV now. The difference in picture quality IS very noticable.

As compared to plasma... place your hand next to the screen of a large plasma TV and feel how much heat it emmits. Not only do you pay for the electricity used to generate that heat, but you must also pay the electricity to cool the room (which easily costs twice as much to generate the heat). Combining the two costs and you will most likely pay less than 1/3 in electricity using SED. The power savings will be noticable. The electric bill in my house is substantially less than my neighbors because they are using heat producing incandecent light bulbs and I use florescent bulbs that are cool to the touch and use 1/4 the energy to produce the same light. The savings can exceed $100 a month.

A sharp, crisp picture with less power consumption? That's hard to argue with.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why is it grainy? Because
They sit too close to it. High definition displays such as LCDs, plasmas, and even projection TVs or flat CRTs are not meant to be close to you. They should be clear across the room, greater than 15 feet away. Then you won't notice any artifacting or grains. You'll see blur, but that's the give and take.
Posted by ReVeLaTeD (755 comments )
Link Flag
I also know people...
...thinking these things. But I personally find this preposterous.

Lix
Posted by lixpaulian (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Burn-in?
If this technology is similar to CRT, then will burn-in be a problem? I have a projection HDTV, and I went about a year without making sure the picture filled the entire screen. Now I have burn-in on the left and right edges from letting the black areas of non-HD images stay on the screen too much. I understand that is not a problem for LCD, and, though it was for plasma, it no longer is on current models. I do not know about DLP.
Posted by feskridge (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I've seen them - they're amazing
I worked at the Canon Expo in Paris in 2005 and was astonished by
the quality of the SEDs on show there. I'd not heard of SED prior to
that and couldn't quite believe what I was looking at.

I immediately abandoned plans to buy either an LCD or Plasma -
there'd be no point, knowing just how poor they are in comparison.

Believe the hype.
Posted by eddy m (280 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Same here...
Though I haven't seen the sets in action, I'm a purist when it comes
to image clarity and color representation. S'why I'm quite happy
with my 36" Sony HD CRT - especially watching HD-DVD and Blu-
Ray. I can't stand plasma and LCD isn't even close to HD in my
opinion. I'm waiting to see the emerging technologies over the
next 5 years before making any major TV purchase.
Posted by luvmysubaru (16 comments )
Link Flag
Waiting for CNT TV
The ultimate....and cheap.
Posted by donpatent (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
CRT is still king - for now
I made a BestBuy sales guy angry today because I was looking at all their big, fancy plasma/LCD TVs and saying how awful the picture was compared to my '94 Mitsubishi CS-27201 27" CRT. He did everything but call me crazy. It makes me so mad to see people blowing thousands on plasma and LCD TVs while they had better tubes before!! In my neighborhood, I have seen people throw 32" working CRTs in the garbage!
Posted by 139_IQ (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
CRTs forever!
My Magnavox and Toshiba 27" CRT analog TV's picture quality are close enough to any HD LCD or Plasma TV I've seen, so as to preclude me from considering buying one. I can't think of anything I need to see on my TV that requires me to see it at such a cost. It would have to be the difference between watching Broadcast TV in the 1960s vs Cable or Dish of today and there isn't that much difference.
Posted by Foggy (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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