The Future of Flat-Panel TVs Page 4

One solution in the works is for manufacturers to modify TFT panels to compensate for brightness decreases in the display by selectively boosting pixel drive strength over time. But it would obviously be better to develop organic materials that can deliver bright pictures for as long as the competing technologies - 30,000 hours at least. At present, the small OLEDs used for cellphone displays have a life span of around 10,000 hours.

The Forecast If you're looking to buy a flat-panel HDTV in the near future, your best bet is still going to be plasma or LCD. If Canon and Toshiba manage to bring the price of the technology down to where it can compete with current flat-panels, we'll see SED HDTVs in stores before OLED models. But even if SED remains expensive, its picture-quality potential will still generate interest from the high end of the video market.

While still lagging well behind SED on big-screen development, OLED is destined to be the more ubiquitous technology. But the really cool aspect of OLED is the futuristic stuff: flexible electronic paper you scroll out to read on the subway, TV screens that become windows at the press of a button, T-shirts with designs you update on your computer. If we someday get big-screen OLED HDTVs, that will be icing on the cake. But from what I can see, OLED is going to be way more than just a means of watching movies at home.

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