Originally Posted by rogo
I have an "agenda" by the way. I am anti-vaporware. And so far this product is just that: vaporware. It probably won't always be vaporware, but it sure is now. In 2003, people were foolishly waiting for this stuff to be out in 2005. Now it's 2006 and people are waiting for it to be out in 2008.
That'll be 5 years of not enjoying HDTV for this thing "just around the corner."
I'm sorry, but that's just dumb. Leave aside questions of whether the differences will be dramatic. Leave aside questions about price. You are missing the first part of the HD era for no reason. Those of us with HD sports find watching regular sports to be a chore by comparison. Fuzzy, low resolution whatever vs. glorious HD is night and day. A lot more night and day than SED vs. the competition. So whatever the SED argument is, essentially you should be buying now or planning to -- you are just missing too much.
I can't take slightly seriously any other "you have an agenda" claim other than what I outlined. I don't work for a plamsa or LCD mfr., I don't own a CE retail store, I don't make my money from existing displays --> future ones, I can afford a SED the day it comes out if I want one, etc. etc.
There's a huge difference between reality checking and "casting a dark cloud". If I was trying to do the latter, I'd probably stop expressing my interest in potentially buying a SED a year or so after it ships. The reality is that the history of technology teaches us lessons:
(1) Since Zworykin/Farnsworth, two technologies have ever entered the direct-view TV market. Each took around a decade from the first commercially mfr-ed display to being viable for the home. (Even if you included projection technologies, the list of succesful entrants into TV is 5 long... And the viabilty as home products was around a decade for all of them). The ability of a new entrant without any scale economics to compress this timetable is very easily called into question.
(2) The ability to manufacture an xED display has been a holy grail of the display industry for decades. This grail has never been close to anyone's grasp. Billions have been spent, nothing has been achieved to date. Anyone remember Motorola's "breakthrough" a few years back with the 50-inch $800 displays? Laughable at the time to many of us. Now, it should be laughed at by all of you whenever someone makes an announcement in this field. I will note that Motorola -- the corporation -- has done well since that announcement without making any tangible progress in xED display tech.
And before you all jump in and say, "but but Toshiba makes TVs, not Moto", well, Motorola was a TV pioneer years before Toshiba. They worked on active-addressed LCDs as a cheaper alternative to TFTs for years in the 1980s before giving up. Toshiba has invented nearly nothing in TV technology. Again, this isn't to say they can't, but there is no specific credibility here with regard to Toshiba.
Sony has thus far failed to commercialized OLED or xED. Samsung has failed to commercialized OLED or xED. Each has worked on both for some time. Each sells a lot more TVs than Toshiba. There is simply no given that this stuff will ever actually be able to be built in quantity for a good price. Taking it as given demonstrates either blind faith or ignorance of the past. Questioning it represents common sense. And, no, I don't consider those last two statements opinion. You can be annoyed with my choice of words if you wish, but not the conclusion.
(3) Typically, new technologies that are radical at the fundamental level become successes because they satisfy some unique need in the marketplace. The first plasmas became the first viable wall-mounted TV displays ever. The first notebook computers allowed the use of productivity applications on airplanes or in meeting rooms. The first cell phones allowed calls to be completed in cars without being attached to a desk in a home or office.
SED does not satisfy any unique need in the marketplace. And, again, "before you say, 'yes it does, lcd and plasmas are terrible'," let me stop you and explain the difference between incremental change and fundamental change.
There are doubtless people -- some of you are here -- that won't be a flat-panel TV until they get radically better. In the meantime, you give up something substantial to live with your existing solution. You give up size (CRT owners), viewing angle (older projection TV owners), room space (same), enjoyment (non HD owners), whatever. You still get to watch all the content TV and DVD have to offer, albeit with some cost to resolution, color fidelity, etc.
But all SED does for you is give you more contrast and possibly better color fidelity. Maybe higher pixel fill at close distances. (Insert other marginal change here if you must.) There are no more than a small, small fraction of would-be flat-panel owners deterred by the failures of existing technology. Most are deterred by disinterest or price. They like what they have, they just don't care about their TV, they don't want to spend money. When SED comes along, a few of them will check it out but since they primarily just don't care or don't want to spend, they are not buying.
SED buyers, for years 1 to 3, are therefore two kinds of people: videophiles that own HD sets and videophiles that don't. Without overgeneralizing, most of the second group are cheapskates, so they're out through decade's end more or less. The rest are going to see SED as upgrade, the same way dual-core upgrades single core. The same way hybrids upgrade fuel economy over normal gasoline-powered cars. The same way the new BMW 5 series is a bit better than the old.
And, yes, some of you are going to go, "oh my, this 5 series (SED) is world's better than last year's". For you, I don't doubt the conclusion. For most people, the visual-quality differences are going to be imperceptible.
This technology lacks a killer app. Let's just assume it is indeed better. Let's assume it takes real-world, dark-room contrast and improves it 10-fold. (In a lighted room, you're going to remain contrast limited by ambient light.) That's terrific. And if we compare it:
* Landline vs. cell phone: use latter in car, around town, around country
* PC vs. mainframe: have one in home or office, select from 1000s of apps yourself without IT
* Flat panel vs. CRT TV: perfect convergence and focus, 42-60 inch sizes vs much smaller CRTs; hang on wall or against wall vs. giant 200-300 lb boxes
* Laptop vs. desktop: portable use on planes, in Starbucks, at school
* iPod vs. portable CD player: 16 songs vs. 5000, instant selection of tracks by artist, title, etc.
... we see it fails the test of being revolutionary.
Being evolutionary is not a failing per se, but the market doesn't need this technology to grow. If SED never ships, LCD and plasma are still going to easily kill off CRT in all but specialty applications and are also going to make projection TV the choice only of the most price conscious. Whether or not >>you<< want an SED to give you a CRT-like picture, there will never, ever be a 50-inch CRT. I believe, in fact, that the 40-inch CRT is gone from the market.
Call this doom and gloom if you are a fan of SED. Whatever gets you through the night I suppose. I call it a correct assessment of what has been. None of this is to say that Toshiba and Canon can't do something that's never been done before: Introduce a radically different way of making displays and get this price competitive. It is to say it's never been done before. Normally, an enabling technology comes along and allows a new kind of product (microprocessor --> Apple II, IBM PC; tiny hard drive --> iPod; cheap CCD --> digital camera; really cheap CMOS imager --> camera phone) or an indcredibly hard fought multi-year struggle with making the technology feasible to produce (PDP, DLP, TFT-LCD, semiconductors) allows for a somewhat more radical breakthrough.
There are doubtless analogous product introductions to SED where the incremental improvements come from radical new technology (class D amps perhaps? DLP RPTVs vs CRT RPTVs a good example?), but not too many of them have required anywhere near this much money, have had anywhere near the quality of competition in terms of product choices / performance / gigantic manufacturing investment and heft. That's the world that SED is entering. You want to believe that better contrast and is a slam dunk, feel free. It's more of a buzzer beater from the backcourt, though.