According to a report from AsiaPulse last Friday, LG Display CEO Kwon Young-soo is quoted as saying “We plan to produce 30-inch OLED panels for TVs in 2012.” This is one of the first credible announcements on the subject that I’ve heard, and is in keeping with the timelines I’ve heard from various sources. Some analysts claim that LG will start selling a 15″ OLED TV by the end of this year, but I’m highly skeptical. (There also is no mention of whether this 15″ model will have HDTV resolution, but I don’t expect that it will. The optimum viewing distance for a 1080p 15″ panel is 10.5 inches, which is less than the length of a sheet of typewriter paper, and hardly a practical size even for a personal TV screen.)
Kwon Young-soo is also quoted as saying that its success will depend on its superiority to LCD performance, which clearly is not the case. If superior image quality was the only requirement for success, the SED flat panels would be eclipsing LCD HDTVs, and possibly even LCoS rear projection models might outsell LCDs. From where I stand, the only way that a new technology can defeat the incumbent (or even wrest away a meaningful market share) is by being clearly better and selling at the same or lower price. A good enough incumbent will beat a challenger that is only “better” every time.
So I continue to expect the first OLED HDTVs to appear in two or three years, and I’m not holding my breath at that.