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?