I Want My, I Want My SED
“We have big plans for the digital television business,” Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai said at a Canon exhibition in 2005. And with a new technology called surface-conduction electron-emitter display, and plans to use it to transform the lowly TV into a “multifunction information device,” Canon (CAJ) seemed well poised to execute them.
At the time, anyway. A patent dispute with Applied Nanotech soon stalled SED TV’s commercial debut. Which was a nasty break for Canon. With a performance and picture quality said to be far higher than LCD or plasma, SED was vital to expanding the company’s presence in the digital living room, which, lets face it, never extended much beyond digital cameras and printers.
Well, Canon’s big plans for the digital television business are back on track again. Applied Nanotech has dropped its claims against the company, saying to continue litigation “would probably be a futile effort.” And that means Canon is now free to bring SED TVs to market, some three years after first announcing plans to do so. Question now is this: Is it three years too late? With LCD and plasma displays more affordable, SED has lost quite a bit of its competitive edge. And with a decline in TV prices prompting profit warnings from the likes of Sony (SNE) and Panasonic (PC), the TV business isn’t looking too inviting.