FET's 20in FED prototype
Facing large losses, Sony pulls the plugs on its joint venture to research and market Field Emission Display technology, while Panasonic/Toshiba put OEL panels on the back burner

Field Emission Displays, thought by many to be the future of large flatscreen TVs, have been kicked into touch by Sony, which had formed a joint venture to develop and sell them as early as next year.

The recession-hit Japanese giant, which for a while was promoting the FED technology as the large screen counterpart to its Organic LED development, is halting plans to make the screens, which it expected to be marketing in sizes as large as 60in as soon as next year.

It set up a joint venture, called Field Effect Technologies, with an investment fund. FET showed prototype FED panels (pictured) some 18 months back, and planned to take over one of Pioneer's factories, in Kagoshima, to make them, but now it looks like the joint venture company will be liquidated.

FED technology is said to be much simpler than OLED to scale up to large screen sizes, and also able to deliver ultra-thin panels with very low power consumption. According to FET, it uses "an array of nanocone emitters to excite phosphors.

"Taking advantage of highly efficient self-emissive phosphors combined with a line-sequential impulse drive system, this display delivers the visual performance required of a next-generation flat panel display, including a wide viewing angle, lifelike color, outstanding contrast with true black reproduction, and no-blur display of quickly moving images.

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"With more than 10 thousand emitters used to illuminate each pixel, FED delivers clear, distortion-less images that are precisely focused across the entire screen. The high emitter density also contributes to uniform brightness and color without a hint of deterioration in purity."

Panasonic and Toshiba take an OEL pauseIn a parallel move, Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology, formed by Toshiba and Panasonic, is postponing the start of production of Organic Electroluminscent panels, which are currently mainly used in small devices such as phones and other portable equipment.

TMDT had planned to produce 1.5m two-inch panels, a common size for phones, each month, but is now expected to reduce the investment it had planned to make, scale back production and alter manufacturing techniques to cut costs.

That should give an advantage to Korean rival Samsung, which has announced plans to make 9m OEL panels a month.