Nothing lasts forever in the world of consumer electronics. Take, please, rear projection TVs , now going down for the count as final product maker Mitsubishi exits the category. .
Mitsubishi was long the premiere “big screen TV company” in the era (1970s, ‘80s and ‘90) when rear-projection sets were the only way to bring home a self-contained, larger than 35-inch TV. The brand was a special favorite of independent audio/video dealers like Hi-Fi House, locally, which had the room and staff to properly showcase the TVs in a “living room” or “home theater” setting, then deliver/install the big bruisers in your house.
But in this age of increasingly large screened and relatively light weight flat panel televisions, Mits’ bulked-up, 150 pound RPTVs have lost relevance. The product category’s death seemed inevitable after last year’s holiday season, when Sharp pushed 60-inch flat panel displays out the door for $999, robbing Mits of its last big bargaining chip, a lower price.
Recently, the company touted higher tech - a super bright and fast laser light source for the Texas Instruments-spawned DLP (digital light processing) engine at the heart of the show. Laser did add sex appeal, brightness and enhanced durability to rear projection technology, finally fixing the burning issue of a high watt bulb which needed to be replaced after 4,000 viewing hours. But even Mitsubishi’s flagship 75-inch LaserVue is now going-going-gone, along with other 73-, 82- and 92-inch models, said Frank DeMartin, vice president of sales.