Toshiba Leaves Canon To Make SED TVs On Its Own

Legal ramifications break up the dream team.

It is technology’s way to wave a wonderful breakthrough in front of our eyes then inform us we’ll have to wait until next year/next/decade/never to see it. So today add to that list the much anticipated ‘SED’.

SED – or ‘Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display’ (which should really be called ‘SCEED’) – was the coolest technology I saw at last year’s IFA. Co-developers Canon and Toshiba have been justifiably marketing it as the successor to both plasma and LCD, though I should change that to ”had”…

Reason being – despite many jaw dropping demos – SED has been much delayed and now Toshiba has pulled out. On Friday it announced it has agreed to sell all of its shares in ‘SED Inc’ to Canon which will continue development on its own. According to both parties:

“The decision was reached following discussions between Canon and Toshiba based on the assumption of prolonged litigation pending against Canon in the United States with respect to SED technology.”

All of which sounds like Toshiba got cold feet, not surprising given the leaps and bounds the company has made with its own LCD technology in recent years. Furthermore SED based sets are not expected to hit the market until Q4 (at the earliest) and the mainstream not until mid-to-late 2008 so I suspect Tosh believes it can evolve its existing technology enough so that SED will be unnecessary. The fact that SED will also carry monstrous premiums won’t have gone unnoticed.

Consequently Canon now has SED all to itself and with no history in the television business it will be interesting to see whether it launches directly, creates a new brand, or licenses it off closer to launch

Either way, I’m a little sad because SED rocks my world…

Canon Official Press Release

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