Sony, Panasonic to exit OLED TVs

JIJI

Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. will pull the plug on their organic electroluminescent display television businesses, according to sources.

Both companies have found it difficult to reduce the high production costs associated with OLED displays through mass production, and the firms are now planning to shift their focus toward top-tier liquid crystal display televisions, such as 4K ultrahigh-resolution models, the sources said.

In June at the earliest, Sony and Panasonic will sell their OLED operations to Japan Display Inc., partly owned by Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, a government-affiliated investment fund, according to the sources.

OEL technology allows manufacturers to design TVs much thinner than more common LCD models. Sony launched the world’s first OLED television in 2007.

Sony and Panasonic inked a deal in 2012 to jointly develop a new generation of OLED display panels by 2015 featuring crisper displays and lower power consumption — a move aimed at wresting back sales from South Korean makers

But technological advances have allowed companies to make LCD displays as bright and thin as OLED displays, a Sony executive said, eroding the appeal of OLED technology.