Canon and Toshiba have announced that they’re going to jointly start mass production of ultra-thin flat-panel TVs, but not until early 2008.

The new type of flat panels are called surface-conduction electron-emitter display TVs, or SEDs for short. These are neither LCD nor plasma screens, but something entirely new, and apparently are even thinner and consume less energy.

Canon seems to be pinning its hopes on a surge of buyers wanting top-of-the-range TVs with which to watch the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Interestingly, even though they’ve already developed the technology for the SEDs, Canon and Toshiba have delayed the launch until the end of 2007 to improve cost competitiveness, as prices for LCD and plasma screens have plummeted.

Reuters reports that Canon has set its SED displays as “a main pillar of growth in its mid-term business plan”. Does this mean a focus away from digital cameras and in particular, DSLRs, where Canon has seen huge growth and profits?