In professional television one of the most important thing is to be able to know how your product really look. The closest we had to be able to see the picture with a minimum of artifacts was CRTs Monitor. However, for half a decades, professional grade CRTs have basically disappeared and there was nothing to really replace it. I have witness many instances where people were editing on LCDs and putting content to air just to see then significant artifacts that were masked by the LCDs.
Having seen OLED technology evolved for over a decade now, I was convinced that this would create the next generation of trustable display. However, it took quite some time for the technology to become reliable enough.
Finally, at NAB 2011 in Las Vegas last week, Sony did introduce their new OLED based professional monitors in the BVM and PVM series. I have been able to see it and it is indeed superb! Sony claimed that their life is 30K hours (about 3 years on 24/7 usage) before they loose their monitor grade performance!
While not cheap (around 6K for the PVMs and 20K for the BVMs), it is in line with the top quality reference monitors of the past. It is clear that we won’t see that on every desk any time soon but it the good news is that it is available for those who needs it and every major facility should budget at least one.
I don’t want to repeat the reason why OLED is so much better than LCD (including those with LED backlit) but I would point you to a Sony PDF document that makes that case here.
It is also pretty clear that this technology will become soon more accessible and that we will be able to see it appear in living room, but in the meantime, lets rejoice that we have good references monitors available to replace or aging CRTs and for me that was perhaps this year’s NAB most significant development!