After years of promises from tech companies and premature prognostications by magazines like—oh, PopSci—the OLED TV is here. All 11 inches of it, for about $1,700.
What? I’m supposed to shell out all those bucks (Actually Yen, since it’s only in Japan) for a glorified portable DVD player? Sure, the colors are brilliant, the contrast is eye-popping and the screen is implausibly thin. But let’s remember the main reason we love new TVs—because they’re huge.
So why is Sony holding back on us? Turns out they haven’t quite figure out how to make a bigger OLED TV. For the small panels, Sony heats up the organic material into a vapor that condenses, sifts through a screen, and settles neatly on the glass. But this method won’t work for big screens and high resolution. (The current model is a sub-high-def 960 by 540 pixels.)
To go bigger, Sony has to switch to a new method in which they lay a sheet of OLED on the glass and somehow use a laser to make it stick. That’s about all I could get through the broken-English explanation. (Not that I’m complaining. I’m so grateful for all the Japanese who struggled to say something to me that I could understand.)
So when will they get that new method down and start pumping out the big(ger) OLEDs? It’ll be a few years, they say. Sigh.—Sean Captain