Sharp: 'Forget OLED, LCD is the future'

OLED televisions are not very good and are a long way from challenging the technical superiority of LCDs. That's the view of Mike Wilson, head of Sharp in the US, who made the claims at Sharp's press conference at CES on Sunday.

The press conference focused mainly on the same things that we were told at IFA in September: that Sharp's 10G LCD TVs will be 20mm thick and have 100,000:1 contrast ratios. Wilson also spoke at length about Sharp's new 10G LCD factory in Japan, but did not say much that we hadn't already been told in Berlin four months ago.

OLED will rival LCD

Towards the end of the 45-minute press conference, however, Wilson decided to clarify Sharp's stance on OLED TVs.

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) televisions have a number of significant advantages over LCDs. The main plus is that they don't require a backlight, making them a lot more power efficient. This bodes well for future use in portable devices like laptops.

But the problem is that OLED TVs are currently very expensive to manufacture, and in any case are only available in small sizes. Sony's celebrated XEL-1, for example, is only 11 inches wide.

Wilson said that Sharp is "exploring its options" when it comes to OLED, but made no bones about saying that the technology is simply not ready to be produced on a large scale.

OLED lifespan not "good enough"

"The product life span is only around three to four years for an OLED panel. This just isn't good enough, considering that with an LCD TV you're looking at 10 years plus," he told the large audience of international journalists.

"They're also extremely difficult to manufacture, and until this changes OLED won't be a serious option for anyone buying a new TV. OLED simply cannot and will not be able to compete with Sharp's next generation of LCDs so that's where we are focusing our attention right now," he said.

As for Sharp's amazing new 10G LCD panels, Wilson said that the company still doesn't know when they will go on sale, but hopes it'll be some time before the end of the year.

James Rivington

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