SED — Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display — is a new technology being jointly developed by Toshiba and Canon. The panels are thinner than an LCD because they create their own light and don’t need a backlight. The light comes from phosphors at the front layer of the panel, so the picture looks a lot like a standard television, only better. When they demonstrated SED panels at CES 2006 in Las Vegas last month, people lined up around the block to get a chance to see them. Rich, deep blacks and vibrant colors create breathtaking images. We have been told that they would start to ship last year, then this spring. And now it appears we’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can buy one of these new displays.
Toshiba announced this week that further delays are likely, with shipments starting this summer. Mass production won’t get rolling until 2007.
Delays such as this are not at all unusual, even for mature technology. With a brand new design, there are all sorts of hurdles in terms of supplies, manufacturing yields, and final product development and assembly. So don’t be surprised if summer comes and goes before we can find out whether SED will be worth the wait.