Display market research firm DisplaySearch did a bit of testing on two Sony XEL-1 OLED TVs. They took the XEL-1 and ran it for 1000 hours; that’s almost 42 days. There are many challenges for OLED technology to become mainstream, but one area that is a concern for many potential TV customers is lifetime. DisplaySearch found that luminance levels decreased by 12% for blue, 8% for green and 7% for red. Extrapolate that to when you would get to half-brightness (the “lifetime” of a display) and you get a total number of hours at just 17,000, quite a bit less than what Sony is claiming at 30,000 hours. To the few who already purchased the XEL-1: maybe you should ask for a 43% refund. Or, maybe you’ll get lucky and get a $100 store credit for your not-so-great OLED TV just like the first customers of the iPhone!
The lifetime issue is a problem but there is another problem: differential aging. Differential aging is when different OLED materials degrade in brightness at different rates. With the results from DisplaySearch the blue color will degrade much faster than the red or green. What that means is that the color will begin its downward spiral to looking not-as-super, probably from the very moment you start watching the XEL-1.
The 17,000 hours translates into a little more than 708 days of 24/7 TV viewing. Of course no one, as far as I know, watches TV 24/7 but I do know of some that keep the TV on for most of the day and night. Even with just 8 hours of TV being turned on per day, that would bring the lifetime for the XEL-1 to just 2125 days or a little less than 6 years. Personally I don’t think owners of the XEL-1 will keep it for 6 years, instead they will give it to their kids after 2 to 3 years. And the kids will use it for maybe 1 year. After that, it’ll go up on eBay for a few hundred dollars with the lucky really late adopter enjoying the already differentially aged OLED TV for about 2 years. Hopefully by then Sony will have a recycling program for the XEL-1 so it can rest in peace.
[tags]Sony, OLED, XEL-1, OLED Lifetime[/tags]