Originally Posted by TNG
Everybody else here adds something to the conversation from their specialty so I thought I would add some from mine.
OK, so chew on this because, again, you know a ton more about this than I do.
Sony's own people are largely in the dark about what the heck they are demoing. But the few that knew anything know this:
one giant substrate with 6 million LEDs at all. It's a bunch of little tiles wired together that are each some amount of inches across. How many? No one could say -- and it's possible no one there even knew.
In theory, this is nearly infinitely scaleable in either direction. You could make a huge one or a smaller one. You'd lose resolution going smaller, however. You could probably join some pixels if you went too big and didn't want millions upon millions of pixels (in other words, you could make every 4 adjacent pixels into one larger square).
The modules sit against the glass, but would be fabbed using some existing semiconductor-type processes combined with whatever new would be required to make bright even LED at the approximately 0.15 mm width of these (I did some crude math of 1220mm x 1920 pixels / 3 for rgb to get that number). So that translates to 150 micron LEDs? Clearly, the transistors and whatever electronics are required to join these together are trivial in terms of space vs. the LEDs.
I have no real clue how you'd make these "mini-displays" but ironically enough, the one display technology that Sony did
really develop in the past decade -- LCOS -- gives them an interesting leg up here. Why? Not because it's actually very related as it isn't. But instead because it's sort of this weird hybrid semiconductor part and they at least have some knowhow in how to make that happen.
My overwhelming sense is (a) that this will cost at least $300-500 million to commercialize (b) as Natascha McElhone says to Jim Carrey in the library in The Truman Show
"If we don't go now, it will never happen (c) this is Sony's absolute last best chance to get back into the TV market because it would give them something they could actually be proud of and call it the next great thing from the people who brought you Trinitron and revolutionized television (d) they are going to dither and pretend they are still interested in pursuing OLED and end up doing nothing.
Sony's people say that as long as the current execs are around, they will keep making TVs and keep "innovating". This is a real chance to do that and while it's entirely and fundamentally unproven, if they can fab the pieces, this has the chance to really do a lot of things OLED cannot. It could theoretically ramp faster because the yields would be at the building-block level not at the finished display level (those yields should approach 100% almost immediately as you could literally fix failures at the factory... fabulous) and it can scale in size. It's worth noting that larger-than-55-inch OLEDs are not only going to suffer the 8G fab problem but -- at least at Samsung -- the mask problem as well.
Soliciting Oh-so-many New Yearnings? Or Superior to OLED, Never Yours?
It's almost as important for them to commit to building these as to actually doing so. The fact that they are so tepid around it suggests that it's not so simple and / or that they are simply not capable of big steps any longer. I'd take the S-LCD check and bet it on the 3 new initiatives that will define Sony this decade. Starting with this one.
Your move, Sir Howard.