Canon delays introduction of SED display flat-panel TVs

Associated Press

Canon is
delaying the introduction of its much-hyped flat-panel TVs, initially planned
for later this year, because of problems in cutting costs and a legal dispute
in the U.S. over a patent.

Japanese camera
and copier maker Canon Inc. had been planning to enter the TV sector in the
last quarter of this year with products featuring a relatively new display
technology called SED, which stands for surface-conduction electron-emitter
display.

But the
introduction was postponed to next year because of problems in cutting costs
for mass production, Canon spokesman Hiroshi Yoshinaga said Friday.

A

U.S. court case
against Canon alleging a breach of contract for a patent for SED technology
filed by Nano-Proprietary Inc. is another cause for the delay, and a new sales
date has not been set, he said.

Canon has
a lot riding on the SED TV.

In
January, it took full control over SED Inc., a joint venture set up with
Toshiba Corp. in 2004 to develop SED technology.

The move
was partly designed to resolve the

U.S. legal dispute, which is
contesting whether the licensing agreement between Nano-Proprietary and Canon covers
SED Inc.

SED panels
have a reputation for delivering clear and vivid images because their
light-beaming technology is similar to that for old-style cathode-ray tube TVs.

They could
potentially be a wave of the future for flat-panel TVs, now dominated by liquid
crystal display and plasma display panels.

Canon is
falling behind rivals in delivering affordable flat-panel TVs at a time when LCD
and plasma display TVs are growing widespread and become less expensive.

Canon had initially agreed to supply SED panels
to Toshiba for its TVs going on sale the fourth quarter of this year. Toshiba
said Friday the TVs were postponed because Canon can’t provide the panels on
schedule.