Japanese company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co (Panasonic) has announced its plans to have 40 inch OLED TVs on the market by 2011.

The world leader in consumer electronics has invested an estimated 100 billion (US $930.4 million) into an OLED panel mass production facility in Himeji, Japan, which is expected to start operating in 2010. Meanwhile, a prototype production line of 20 inch (and larger) OLED panels should begin early next year.

Sony released the world's first OLED display in December 2007, with Samsung following closely behind. Sony's 11-inch and 0.3 mm thick XEL-1 retails for around US$2,000.

An OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is also known as OEL (organic electro-luminescence) and is made up of thin films of organic molecules that create light in response to electric signals. This eliminates the need for a backlight (as required by LCDs).

Some advantages in using OLEDs over existing LCD and plasma displays include better image quality (brightness and contrast), lower energy consumption, faster response times, sharper images, wider viewing angles and, of course, much thinner displays.

Samsung has already developed a 40 inch OLED display, although according to the Sankei Shimbun daily, Panasonic aims to be the first to start mass producing OLED TVs over 30 inches.