Manufacturer Claims OLED Scaling Issue Solved; 42" Displays in 2011

We've discussed OLED displays and their eternal position as five years away in the past, but a manufacturer has stepped forward claiming that OLED's really are coming in 2011 from the likes of Samsung and LG. These won't be any 11" screens for $2000, either—we're talking displays up to and including 42". This news comes from production tool manufacturer MBraun, a firm that supplies leading-edge manufacturing equipment to the likes of Samsung and LG.

According to Daniel Karecovsky, sales manager for MBraun, the scaling issues that have kept OLED technology confined to screens 3" and below has now been solved. He remarks, "The job of scaling up is one for our customers, which they are adapting to currently available equipment. These steps have already been taken, to produce screens up to 42" in size."

Karecovsky is also optimistic about the future of OLED technology, even in the face of Sony's decision to cancel their XEL-1 TV.  "Sony suffered yield problems, which translate into cost problems," he explains. "Samsung has been running several large-scale systems entirely for R&D though, which others have used for production, and so it has gained a lot of experience [in OLED manufacturing]. "Now it is investing in larger systems, it will use this know-how to create real products."

Color us dubious, even in the face of such positive news. For one thing, if Samsung or LG had suddenly conquered the major barriers between themselves and mass production of OLED's, they'd be announcing it themselves. Cheap, high-quality OLED screens are the ultimate golden goose for the entire display industry and a number of companies have already sunk huge amounts of R&D into solving problems that have thus far been largely intractable. We'd like nothing more than to see 30" LCDs widely available in 12 months time, but we're not holding our breath. These types of announcements have been made before without panning out.

One indicator to watch is the price of LG's 15EL 9500, pictured to the left. According to Karecovsky, LG will soon cut the price on this model, at least in Europe. If that's true, it could herald new developments in the world of OLED manufacturing.