Panasonic's printed 56" 4K OLED TV prototype uses Sumitomo's PLED materials
At CES 2013 Panasonic unveiled a 56" 4K (3840x2160) OLED TV panel prototype that was produced using an all-printing method. Back in January we assumed Panasonic were using SMOLED materials, but now Sumitomo Chemical revealed (as part of their 2013-2015 plan presentation) that this TV prototype used the company's PLED materials.
Panasonic has been working on OLED printing technologies for quite some time and back in 2009, they teamed up with Sumitomo to jointly-develop OLED TVs, based on Sumitomo's P-OLED materials and technology. I thought this partnership is not active anymore, but evidently I was wrong on that one.
Panasonic's panel uses a top-emission structure with a transparent cathode and color filters. The panel uses a substrate (probably Oxide-TFT) provided by Sony (which are actually made by AU Optronics) - as part of the two companies collaboration. According to some reports Panasonic and Sony are considering to launch an OLED TV production JV (currently their collaboration only involves production technology). It's possible that this JV will use Panasonic's printing technology an PLED materials, but it's also possible they will opt to use Sony's technology which uses SMOLED and an evaporation process.
In 2011 Sumitomo built a large P-OLED material factory aiming for OLED TV applications in a several billion yen investment. The annual output of their new Osaka plant will be enough to produce 4-5 million 40" OLED TVs. The company also says that the performance level of their PLED materials is good enough for OLED TVs. Their blue OLED emitter now has a lifetime of over 20,000 hours.
Sumitomo expects the PLED television market to take off in 2015. This makes sense as earlier reports suggested that Panasonic aims to release their first TVs in 2015. Launching the PLED business (for OLED lighting and displays) is one of the major business initiatives for Sumitomo in 2013-2015: