rptv

R.I.P. RPTV

When Mitsubishi announced earlier this week that it is exiting the TV manufacturing business, this not only marks the end of a television brand name, but the end of an entire product category. Mitsubishi was the last company still making and selling rear-projection TVs. Once a home theater staple, if not practically a requirement, the big-box screens are now headed toward extinction. Did you ever own a rear-projection set? Do you still have one?

Most people just entering the home theater hobby now or in the past few years have probably never even considered purchasing an RPTV. The introduction and affordability of flat-panels pretty much killed the market for their larger, bulkier cousins. However, it hardly seems all that long ago that rear-projection sets were virtually the only way to get a “big screen” experience at home. Up until the early 2000s, if you wanted a TV larger than 36″, rear-projection was your only affordable option.

Even so, I’ve never personally owned an RPTV. I went straight from a CRT tube set to a digital projector. As a long-time apartment dweller, I just couldn’t justify the impracticality of bringing a huge, heavy box into my home. They were especially problematic for someone who likes to upgrade his equipment regularly. When you’re stuck with an RPTV, it’s very difficult to remove and replace. You either have to find a buyer willing to take it off your hands, or pay someone to haul it away. Flat-panels and projectors are both much easier to swap in and out, sell or recycle.

As the market swung decidedly toward LCDs and plasmas, most TV manufacturers dropped rear-projection sets from their product lines. Only Mitsubishi continued to hang in until now. The only way it could compete was to lower prices, to the eventual point that the televisions were simply no longer profitable.

Although no longer in the TV business, Mitsubishi will continue to make home theater projectors.

If you’ve ever owned a rear-projection TV, how did you eventually get rid of it? Or did you?

7 comments

  1. I moved to Germany where my 2007 Sony rear-projection television would not travel. It’s in storage, and I will resume its use whence I return from living abroad.

    I might stock up on the light bulbs before I get back though. I like that particular television quite a bit.

  2. Rear-projection TVs can die in a fire, but no more Mitsu Diamond/Platinum etc. lines of televisions with their super firewire uplinks and endless HD PIP options is a shame.

  3. OH man. These bring back high school memories. My cousins were a lot richer than my family was and they had a RPTV that was HUGE. I can’t remember the specifications, but I do remember being in absolute awe of it. It’s crazy to think that same TV that I was so awe-struck by could probably be found in a second-hand shop right now for $50.

  4. Shannon Nutt

    Our primary TV is a Samsung rear-projection DLP. It’s 5 years old and still working great. Hoping to get at least 5 more years out of it.

    • RollTide1017

      Same here, I have a Samsung DLP LED 1080p HDTV, have had it about 4 years and I hope to get at least another 3 out of it. I just had to replace all the internal fans on it last month, they were making some loud noises but, now all is good.

      It’s not even all that big and bulky and it only weighs about 80 pounds. Nothing lik my dads first RPTV, that thing was a monster.

  5. HuskerGuy

    Had a newer DLP from Samsung for a couple of years before I had to warranty replace it. The geometry got all messed up and I decided to go plasma. I did love the DLP picture, but don’t regret going plasma.

  6. ToddAllyn

    I had two of these. The first (Mitsubishi top-of-the-line) was circa 1998. It had a line doubler in it and everyone was just awed by the picture. I think it was 46″. That was replaced in about 2003/4 with a 65″ rear project (not Mitsubishi’s top of the line but the price point…) which was replaced Christmas 2011 with Samsung’s top-of-the-line 64″ Plasma 3D. I sold the 64″ for $500 (on a payment plan – but eventually felt that was two much and didn’t make him pay it all off.)

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