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New TVs make flat-screens look 'fat-screen'

April 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The television of the future is going to make current TVs look fat. In a recent test, the sleeker new models delivered a terrific picture. They could change the way you watch TV.Who would have thought flat-screens could look like "fat" screens, but they do next to the newest super-thin televisions. These sleeker TVs use a special technology called "Organic Light-Emitting Diode," or OLED. In a recent test, it delivered a terrific picture.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch the accompanying video to this story.

Eyewitness News teamed up with Consumer Reports to test out these new tiny TVs. They're a mere 11 inches in size, but they do have large price tags. Even so, an OLED could be the start of something big.

It wasn't that long ago that LCD and plasma TVs looked incredibly thin. But now there's an even thinner kind of TV called an OLED. Consumer Reports television testers checked out the first to hit the stores. It's Sony's XEL-1. The screen is just 11 inches, but it delivers a beautiful picture. Even when the lights are on, the picture stays bright. And Consumer Reports tests show the black levels are really black, better than even the best plasma television.

The picture stays bright, even when seen from the side, unlike many LCD TVs. But OLEDs do have some downsides.

"The manual says to treat the screen carefully because it's easy to damage," said Chris Andrade, Consumer Reports.

And because OLEDs are made with organic materials, there's concern they may not last as long as other TVs. And that's not all.

"The biggest downside is the price," said Caroline Somero, Consumer Reports. "This little set right here costs $2,500."

Still, OLEDs could be the wave of the future. Samsung and Sony showed off big-screen prototypes at the Consumer Electronics show in January. Consumer Reports says OLEDs could be at the same stage today as LCD TVs were in the early 1990s. Back then the LCD TVs Consumer Reports tested were just three to four inches across. And those early LCDs actually looked a lot less promising than this first OLED.

Consumer Reports says OLED TVs have another advantage over other kinds of televisions: they use a lot less energy.

SONY OLED Digital TV


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