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Canon Finally Ditches SED High Definition TV Technology

Gordon Kelly


Canon Finally Ditches SED High Definition TV Format

There remains a lot of talk over whether LCD televisions are better than plasma and when large, affordable OLED models will finally come to market, but for me the most impressive TV format I've ever see was 'SED' - and now we'll never be able to buy it...

Today Japanese news agency Nikkei says Canon has finally abandoned all further development of the SED ('surface-conduction electron-emitter') panels after years of battling to bring down production costs to even remotely realistic levels. Allegedly some benefits of the technology could still be used in "image diagnostic equipment", but you can forget mainstream SED HDTVs.

Why are we so sad? Because four whole years ago when IFA 2006 gave us our first look at SED televisions we were already looking at models with contrast ratios of 100,000:1, response times of 0.2ms and brightness of 450 cd/m2 - figures that dwarf almost everything but OLED today. Canon, Toshiba and Sony were all involved in the format's development (Sony's variation was dubbed FED) and the combined muscle of this trio still claimed we wouldn't see mass production of SED TVs until late 2008.

The bigger problem, however, was lawsuits with Applied Nanotech (a subsidiary of Nano-Proprietary) claiming to hold multiple patents related to SED technology. The lawsuit dragged on from 2005 until mid 2008 and irreparably damaged confidence and investment in SED. Toshiba pulled out in 2007, Sony pulled out in 2009 and Canon was left alone promising it could bring this stunning tech to market all by itself.

This official stance lasted until 2009, but all had gone quiet since then until today. We're sad to see SED go, it really did blow us away...

Link: Via Reuters


May 25, 2010, 9:15 pm

Noooooooooo! :¬(

A Scotland

May 25, 2010, 9:24 pm

Are patent issues really the stumbling block here? Are companies entitled to enforce patents in connection with IP that they do not use and surely there is a mechanism for releasing that technology in return for a reasonable licence fee? Presumably companies circumvent these problems all the time? I expect it is more likely that these companies have decided that there is no market for yet another TV format in quick succession.


May 25, 2010, 9:36 pm

@A Scotland - production costs are what killed it more than anything.

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