Sony's Small TV Makes a Big Splash

The first set ever made with OLED technology carries a steep price tag.

By + More
Sony's is the first OLED television.
Sony's is the first OLED television.

Sony worked hard to make the introduction of its new, breakthrough television a dramatic moment. It's hard to make an 11-inch screen seem a big deal at a Consumer Electronics Show where other companies are announcing TVs measuring bigger than 100 inches.

So, Sony Chairman Howard Stringer stepped aside during a speech Sunday, and the music thundered. Then six—count 'em—of the petite sets rose magically on podiums at the back of the stage.

Of course, small can have its benefits in electronics, and the gossamer thinness of the sets is their most exciting aspect. The sets are the first commercial TVs made from organic light-emitting diodes, or OLED. This is a technology that the industry has talked about for years but that has been slow to emerge.

Sony also showed a 27-inch prototype. The image was gorgeous, and it looked otherworldly thin. It's no thicker than three credit cards stacked together.

The company didn't even try to put a price on the larger set because in the case of this television, small and thin are hugely expensive. The 11-inch model went on sale today for $2,500.