Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp, Japan’s biggest makers of televisions, agreed to jointly develop sets using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays as they seek to rebound from a combined ￥1.2 trillion (US$15 billion) in losses last year.
The companies aim to establish mass-production technology for OLED panels next year, they said in a statement yesterday, without setting target dates for introducing OLED sets.
The partnership is the first between the main TV operations at the two companies, which are losing money as the strengthened yen erodes overseas earnings and as competition from South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Inc intensifies. The two South Korean companies have said they will introduce OLED models by Dec. 31.
OLED televisions are as thin as 4mm and produce sharper images than current liquid-crystal-display (LCD) models. Shipments of OLED TVs may grow to 2.1 million sets in 2015 from 34,000 this year, according to Colorado-based IHS Inc’s iSuppli.
Using organically glowing materials, OLED TVs do not require separate backlights and can be half as thick as an Apple iPad 2, which measures 8.8mm. The technology, already used in mobile devices including Sony’s PlayStation Vita players and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, uses less power than LCDs and has a higher contrast rate, creating more vivid images.
Sony posted a record ￥457 billion net loss for the year ended March 31 as its TV business was unprofitable for an eighth straight year.
The unit will probably lose about ￥80 billion this fiscal year as Sony predicted sales would decline 11 percent to 17.5 million sets, the company said last month.
Hirai plans to make the TV unit profitable in the year ending March 2014.
Panasonic will probably stop losing money from TVs in the quarter starting Jan. 1, chief financial officer Makoto Uenoyama said last month.