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Japan to fund creation of 40W, 40in OLED TV

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Sony, Sharp, Toshiba and other Japanese consumer electronics giants are to get government cash to help fund the development of big-screen OLED TVs.

In total, ¥700m ($6.6m/£3.3m/€4.2m) will be made available to the companies, all of it from NEDO, a Japanese government agency that fuels the development of emerging technologies. The funding will be provided over the next five years to March 2013.

Sony XEL-1 OLED TVSony XEL-1 OLED TV

Sony's XEL-1: groundbreaking

NEDO clearly views OLED as a key advance in cutting the amount of electrical power the world consumes. The funding is geared toward the development of a 40in 1080p screen that consumes less than 40W and can be manufactured in volume.

Sony launched the first commercially available OLED TV, the XEL-1, in September 2007. But it's just 11in in the diagonal and costs more than most much larger LCD TVs. Sony has already pledged to produce a 27in version within 12 months, and has earmarked ¥22bn ($206m/£104m/€131m) for its OLED efforts.

But it's not alone: Korea's LG and Samsung are both keenly pursuing OLED technology, and NEDO's funding is arguably as much about ensure Japan doesn't lose out to Korea in the OLED race as it did with LCD technology.

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