Looking for a lofty vision? A new display technology called SED promises to not only be the next big thing in flat panel hang-on-the-wall TV, but to replace and all-but-eliminate everything that has come before, by offering better picture quality at a lower price.
Despite the seemingly ever-expanding array of new thin screen and projection display technologies˜plasma, LCD, DLP, LCoS, OLED, etc.˜good old-fashioned 50-year old color CRT technology remains the gold standard of picture quality. So what if you could take the front surface of a CRT-type display, using the exact same phosphors as conventional TV sets, and eliminate the depth by using a new thin-screen technology to replace the "electron gun" that makes picture tubes so deep? You‚d have the best of both worlds — a truly CRT-like picture you could hang on a wall. That's SED.
WHO'S BEHIND SED?
If you've never heard of SED until now, the acronym stands for Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display — that may be because Toshiba and Canon, the two companies betting on this promising new display technology, have done very little to promote it,. That will change, because they're gearing up to make a big splash in 2007, with the first SED factory beginning production this August, in Japan. Both companies have been so hush-hush that at January's Consumer Electronics Show, journalists and editors were actually turned away from the invite-only SED demo, and not always nicely.
Custom Retailer Senior Editor Joe Paone was one of the lucky ones who got a sneak preview. "It was really paranoid, cloak-and-dagger stuff with the demo, I felt like Deep Throat was going to give the pitch," he says. "They showed a 36-inch, 720p model against unidentified (likely uncalibrated), similarly-sized LCD and plasma panels. I was impressed. They scrolled the alphabet along the bottom of the screen and there were no trails or artifacts whatsoever. The whole demo lasted about 15 minutes and they hustled us out of there quickly."