Samsung, one of the last two manufacturers of rear-projection televisions, today confirmed that it's joining the ranks of manufacturers who have exited that dwindling market segment. The company told us that it would continue selling its remaining RPTV sets through the first half of this year but would no longer make new sets. That leaves Mitsubishi as the only company still making RPTVs—at least for now.
Sales of RPTVs have dropped sharply over the past few years as sleek flat-panel LCD and plasma TVs have gotten bigger and cheaper, pushing the bulkier sets out of the picture. In 2004, sales of RPTV sets exceeded 3.5 million units, and there were more than a dozen brands on the market. In 2008, with just two brands remaining, analysts expected U.S. sales of rear-projection sets to total about half a million units, compared to 30 million LCD TVs and 4 million plasma TVs.
—James F. Willcox