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Signs from the East

November 2004

New Flat-panel Technology: CRT

Toshiba and Canon jointly unveiled "flat-panel CRT," a new contender in the flat-panel arena. Officially known as SED, an acronym that stands for surface-conduction electron-emitter display, the technology employs tiny light-emitting diodes that are set between glass panels. SED claims a contrast ratio of 8600:1, 300cd/m2 brightness and one-third the power consumption of a comparable plasma display. Additionally, it claims to better handle fast-moving images graphics and color accuracy.

Toshiba displayed its 36-inch working prototype at Canon's booth (Canon has a technology patent), but the final product will be a Toshiba. Keiichiro Mori, chief specialist, SED project team, Toshiba, said that production, which is taking place in Japan, will enable the company to create larger sizes, including 50 inches and above. Exact sizes and price marks were not clear at press time; the company said is not planning to ship any models until the first half of 2006. However, Mori says, "We plan to be competitive (in price) with PDP and LCD."

Whether SED will create new competition for PDP and LCD vendors remains unknown. But given the investment and commitment required for the latter two technologies by major CE companies already, they will undoubtedly remain viable for the foreseeable future.

Fumio Ohtsubo, Panasonic AVC Networks Company president, predicted that PDP will be the dominant TV technology by the end of the decade, even with the presence of good projection technology. "We think that micro displays are temporary," he said. Why not LCD? Ohtsubo said that the goal price for flat-panel was $100 per inch, a goal he believes is attainable for PDP, but not for LCD because of manufacturing costs. -David Dritsas


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