Sony and Panasonic have signed a deal to jointly develop and manufacture next-generation OLED televisions.

Sony Panasonic oled tv manufacturing deal

The collaboration will see the two companies merge their existing OLED technologies to allow TVs and other large displays to be mass produced more cheaply.

Sony and Panasonic will establish mass-production facilities in 2013. The deal only includes the sharing of research and production techniques and both companies will use "their own strengths" to commercialise their separate range of displays.

"Sony and Panasonic plan to jointly develop printing method-based next-generation OLED technology, which will be suitable for low-cost mass production of large, high resolution OLED panels and modules," an official statement from Sony said.

Panasonic owns the unique production and equipment technologies which enable the production of OLED panels through the "all printing method" method.

Meanwhile, Sony said its research and development in the field includes hybrid OLED element devices and manufacturing technologies that combine deposition and printing methods, thin film transistor (TFT) drivers such as oxide TFTs, as well as flexible organic TFTs.

Sony launched the world's first OLED TV when it sold an 11in model in 2007.

The deal comes as a market report from NPD DisplaySearch revealed that global LCD TV shipments fell for the first time ever in the first quarter of 2012.

NPD DisplaySearch's Advanced Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report found that LCD shipments were down three percent between January and March 2012.

However, worldwide TV shipments fell almost eight percent overall in the same period, down to 51 million units.

Paul Gagnon, research director at NPD DisplaySearch, said the biggest contributor to the overall decline was the slowdown in shipments of LCD TVs.

"Soft demand and cautious expectations about the upcoming year in many parts of the TV supply chain have led to a slowdown in shipments," Gagnon said.

"Key component prices, such as LCD panels, are not expected to decline much in 2012 and many brands are concentrating on improving their bottom line. Both of these trends will contribute to slowing unit volume among a price conscious consumer market."