Anyone's who taken a look at Sony's diminutive (11.1 inches), costly ($2,500) XEL-1 OLED TV in action knows why it's hailed as one of the key display technologies of the future. Unfortunately, that future is coming awfully slowly. There was little in the way of announcements at CES in January about more OLED screens, save for a couple from Samsung about a future 14.1-inch panel and, even more eventually, a 32-inch display.
It turns out that the #!@#$! economy is keeping OLED production from increasing and, with that, prices decreasing. According to a piece on Ars Technica, Barry Young, Managing Director of the OLED Association, says that a key problem is that LCD factories can't be easily converted to OLED production, as most aren't able to handle the polysilicon used as the backplane. And, thanks to the recession, manufacturers don't have the resources available to retool those factories for the new technology.
Samsung has promised the 14.1-inch screen for laptops and a TV in the second half of this year, but as for the bigger display, Young says, "How soon Samsung will do their next generation will be affected by the downturn." When it comes to putting OLED sets in our living rooms, the future can't come soon enough.