Sony unveils world’s first OLED 4K Ultra HD TV prototype at CES 2013

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Unsurprisingly, Sony showed us something pretty awesome today. They impressed crowds by combining the best of both OLED and 4K Ultra HD into a single 56-inch masterpiece, a first in the industry.

Other manufacturers like Toshiba, Vizio, and Westinghouse have all announced LED Ultra HD TV’s, but Sony has beaten them through the unique use of OLED. The company has said very little about the specifications of this exclusive prototype, except that it sports a 3,840 x 2,160 (4K) resolution, uses Organic LEDs and Oxide semiconductor TFTs, and contains a special “Super Top Emission” technology.

Although they did not mention a release date or a price, Sony says they will continue to research and develop this prototype with the goal of bringing it to market. We’ll try to get more information when we arrive in Las Vegas tomorrow!

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Tokyo, Japan – January 7, 2013 – Sony Corporation (“Sony”) announced today that it has developed the first 4K (3840 x 2160) OLED (organic light-emitting diode) television. To demonstrate its latest achievement, Sony will display a 56-inch prototype at The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The world’s first and largest* 56-inch OLED TV achieves 4K resolution by using the latest oxide semiconductor TFTs and Sony’s own ‘Super Top Emission’ technologies.

Up until now, in order to force light through the OLED layer, OLED TVs used low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) thin-film transistors (TFTs). However, there were some challenges inherent in the manufacture of large OLED displays.

Using oxide semiconductor TFTs Sony has been able to produce this new larger display. The new OLED component’s structure also incorporates Sony’s own ‘Super Top Emission’ technology, which has been successfully incorporated in other products already introduced into the market. This ‘Super Top Emission’ technology has a high aperture ratio and enables light to be extracted efficiently from the structure’s OLED layer. By combining two Sony developed technologies, Sony has been able to overcome some of these challenges. This prototype delivers all of the features expected from OLED TVs, such as high contrast, brightness, rapid video image response time and rich images produced even at wide viewing angles, all packaged in a large 4K resolution panel.

The OLED panel used in this prototype 4K OLED TV on display at the exhibition was jointly developed with Taiwanese company AU Optronics Corp. (AUO)

Sony has long been actively involved in the product development and mass production of OLED displays. Beginning with the release of the world’s first 11-inch OLED television in 2007, Sony went on to release 17” and 25” monitors for professional applications in 2011. On the research and development front, Sony has given presentations on the results of its research in process (manufacturing) technologies for mid and large-sized panels as well as presenting research findings on oxide semiconductor TFTs and flexible organic TFTs. Sony is also actively working on next-generation OLED technologies.

Sony will continue to research OLED technology with the goal of commercializing its new 4K OLED televisions, as well as launch 4K LCD TVs like the BRAVIAs exhibited at CES2013. From filming to editing, content creation, delivery, distribution and display devices, Sony is making its unique new 4K imaging experience available to users in a wide variety of ways.

Technological specifications of the exhibited 4K OLED TV prototype

Panel size  :  56-inch

Number of pixels  :  3,840 x 2,160

Display elements  :  OLED (organic light-emitting diode)

Drive circuit  :  Oxide semiconductor TFT

Special structural characteristics  :  Super Top Emission

Other Characteristics  :  undisclosed

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About the Author

Andrew Michael is the Founder of Ultra HDTV Magazine. His interest in the technology began in 2008, before the term "Ultra HD" became mainstream. Andrew has contributed numerous articles, and continues to evolve Ultra HDTV into the ultimate Ultra High Definition resource.

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