[Breaking Down OLED TV] Drive Circuit Layout Realizes 3mm Thickness [Part 5]

Dec 3, 2007
Nikkei Electronics Breakdown Team; Video clip created by Eiichi Wada of Tech-On!
First, we started to disassemble the display unit.
First, we started to disassemble the display unit.
[Click to enlarge image]
The display unit and the tuner block were connected by two FPCs.
The display unit and the tuner block were connected by two FPCs.
[Click to enlarge image]
The display unit seen from backside: The FPCs connecting the glass substrate of the OLED panel and the drive circuit all had different shapes.
The display unit seen from backside: The FPCs connecting the glass substrate of the OLED panel and the drive circuit all had different shapes.
[Click to enlarge image]
The FPCs were numbered. (The circuits in the photo were numbered 5 and 6.) The numbers are probably provided to prevent errors in the mounting process.
The FPCs were numbered. (The circuits in the photo were numbered 5 and 6.) The numbers are probably provided to prevent errors in the mounting process.
[Click to enlarge image]
A sticker bearing a serial number was attached to the back of the OLED panel. The sticker also had the words "September 2007" printed on it.
A sticker bearing a serial number was attached to the back of the OLED panel. The sticker also had the words "September 2007" printed on it.
[Click to enlarge image]

The key feature of the XEL-1, Sony Corp's OLED TV, is definitely the display unit, which measures only 3 mm at the thinnest portion.

The Nikkei Electronics Breakdown Team first disassembled the display unit to discover Sony's techniques to achieve the slimness.

After we took out the bezels and other parts at the back of the display unit, we could see two FPCs connecting the unit with the turner block, which serves as a TV mount. The two circuits were thought to supply power and the drive signal.

The screws were extremely tight because the display unit of the latest OLED TV is supported by only one arm. We managed to separate the unit from the TV and observed it from backside.

It seemed that Sony had arranged the drive circuit and other parts of the OLED panel at the lower side of the unit to realize the slimness of 3mm. The thinnest part was composed of only the OLED panel, bezels and FPCs.

The glass substrates of the OLED panel each measured 0.7mm in thickness and 1.4mm in total. The bezels were 0.6mm thick per piece and 1.2mm in total. They were 2.6mm thick all together. A gap of 0.4mm was provided supposedly in consideration of the flexibility of the FPCs.

Some of the glass substrates of LCD panels seen in current personal computers, etc, are about 0.2mm thick. Instead of pursuing extreme thinness, Sony seemed to have prioritized the strength of the glass substrates because the XEL-1 is the world's first OLED TV.

"Thickness of 3mm was on my mind from the start"

"I decided on a thickness of 3mm from the start," said Yoshito Shiraishi, general manager in the E Products and Business Development Department of the TV Business Group at Sony, who was in charge of development.

Taking into account the thickness of required components, such as the glass substrates and bezels, 3mm was a nice round number for the thinnest panel, Shiraishi said. He proceeded with the plan, targeting the thickness of 3mm. The only way that can make the display unit thinner than 3mm is to "grind the glass and bezels" (Shiraishi).

The latest OLED TV was designed by a designer.

"I myself was amazed by the fact that an extremely thin glass panel emits light by itself," Shiraishi said. "I realized that I should not let an engineer design this TV, so I showed it to a designer. The designer was also impressed and soon finished drawing about 30 sketches."

This is how the peculiar shape of this TV was born.

movie OLED TV Breakdown Part1 (4:19)
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