updated 03:45 pm EST, Tue December 2, 2008
Canon Free to Build SEDs
Canon regained the option of entering into the HDTV business today following a decision by legal rival Applied Nanotech to drop an appeal of a court ruling in Canon's favor. The smaller firm now says it would likely be "futile" to further pursue a now-defeated lawsuit that had claimed Canon's license for some of its surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) technology had been abused in a deal with Toshiba. The lawsuit had forced Canon to at least temporarily shelve its plans in late 2007 but, with the case settled, opens the door to resuming the project.
The Japanese company hasn't outlined its exact course of action but does say that SED is still on the slate, noting that it has edged closer to a practical rollout of HDTVs based on the technique but that the main obstacle now is the poor world economy.
"In regards to SED, we have a new production process we're working on which is cost competitive with liquid crystal displays," Canon president Tsuneji Uchida says. "[But] at times like this, new display products are not introduced much because people would laugh at them."
SED was touted as the likely successor to TV technology when introduced in 2006 and today is still seen as a potential cross between the best qualities of CRT sets and flat-panel screens. By using a back panel full of electron emitters that hit individual phosphors on the main screen, SED produces the very high speed and deep contrast ratios of CRT but with the thickness of an LCD TV.