Toshiba is dropping all Plasma production. Instead the company is set to partner with Canon in a $2.5 billion dollar venture to produce a new generation of flat panel displays using SED technology
SED technology was first shown in 1998 as a relatively tiny 10in prototype. By comparison the first SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display) TVs will go on sale in Japan in the first half of 2006 will start at 50in. SED technology produces flat panels with a unique combination of factors: large size, high resolution, low power consumption, light weight and thin profile.The SED consists of a glass plate mounted with electron emitters. Positioned next to it is another glass plate coated with a fluorescent substance. Between the two glass plates is a vacuum. Application of voltage causes the emission of electrons. Some of these electrons are accelerated by the voltage applied between the glass plates and collide with the fluorescent-coated glass plate, causing light to be emitted.
Since it is a spontaneous light display similar to a CRT, it maintains levels of brightness and colour performance, as well as a wide angle of visibility, said to be on a par with a CRT. Larger screens can also be produced by simply increasing the number of electron emitters in accordance with the required number of pixels.
Although the first screens will appear as early as 2006, mass production will not begin until 2007 when the two companies expect to produce around 75,000 units. SED will enter a crowded technological battleground. As well as the established LCD and Plasma, it will encounter OLED (organic light emitting diode, currently being developed by Samsung and Seiko Epson amongst others) and at least three different projection systems: DLP, SXRD and 3LCD.