SED Bites The Dust

After months of legal wrangling and no-shows at trade shows, Toshiba and Canon ended the suspense late last week and announced that the introduction of the SED (Surface-conducting electron-Emitter Display) flat panel TV is postponed indefinitely.

The technology was supposed to be a bridge between the several technologies, providing the superior black level, contrast ratio and color fidelity of the CRTs of yesteryear with the large, flat panel form factor in favor today. These are areas of performance that all current flat panels, LCD and plasma alike, suffer from to some degree. The SED was also said to be much more energy efficient than plasmas, offering the best of what both LCD and plasma have to offer.

The early demonstrations of this technology were extremely impressive, and at one point production was to begin on a 55" 1080p model. But the initial target prices were very high, and the rapid price erosion in even premium flat panels apparently made production efficiency a major issue. In other words, it doesn't appear the companies involved want to introduce product until they can so at price points that will be more competitive in this market, which is price dominated.