Sony XEL-1: The world's first OLED TV
In October 2007, Sony amazed the world when they announced the XEL-1 TV, the world's first OLED TV. OLED is a new display technology: those screens are thin, efficient and bright.
The XEL-1 was a small TV (11"), and very expensive (around 2,500$). Sony actually regarded it as a prototype - but one that can be bought. They only made around a thousand XEL-1 sets a month until the XEL-1 was discontinued in February 2010.
The XEL-1 is just 3mm thin, and has 960x540 resolution. It has an amazing 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio (much better than Plasma or LCD Televisions), a terrestrial digital tuner, speakers, HDMI, USB and Ethernet jacks. It weights 2kg.
Most people that see the XEL-1 are amazed by the picture quality and the great contrast. Obviously the small size is disappointing, but we have to remember that it's just the first OLED TV, and larger ones will follow soon. Displaysearch claims that the XEL-1 lifetime is only 17,000 hours (till the display is half as bright as a new one) - while Sony claims the real lifetime is 30,000.
Can I still buy an XEL-1?
The XEL-1 was available in the US, and the EU, Amazon was selling it in the US. In February 2010 they announced that they will cease production and marketing of the XEL-1 in Japan, and now it quite impossible to find one on sale.
Future Sony OLED TVs
Back in 2009 Sony promises to begin selling a 27" OLED TVs soon, or maybe a 21" model (this was supposed to be the XEL-2, or according to some rumors, the KDL-ZX), followed by even larger 40" TVs. But Sony abandoned these plans, and are currently focused on OLED panels for professional monitors (such as the 24.5" BVM-F250 broadcasting monitor).
In February 2012 Sony's new president and CEO says he does plan to make large consumer OLED TVs, we'll have to wait and see what Sony has in store for us...