After several years as the last remaining maker of rear-projection TVs, Mitsubishi has finally told its dealers that it will no longer make the DLP sets, essentially ending the era of rear-projection television technology.
The decision, as reported in the trade publication CE Pro, also pretty much removes the Mitsubishi brand from the television market altogether, as the company stopped selling LCD TVs in 2011. It will continue to make front projectors for home theaters.
At one point, there were numerous brands selling rear-projection televisions, first using CRT technology and then microdisplay technologies such as DLP, LCD, and LCoS. Samsung finally stopped making rear-projection DLP sets in 2009, leaving Mitsubishi the sole maker of this type of TV. Consumer Reports stopped testing DLP sets in 2009.
Once the only real option for people looking for a big-screen TV, the rear-projection TV business became a victim of both the ever-increasing screen sizes of more stylish LCD and plasma sets, as well as price drops in larger flat-panel screen sizes. Mitsubishi competed by offering screen sizes larger than flat-panels; most recently, its lineup included rear-projection DLP sets with 73-, 82- and 92-in-screens. The company also innovated in the rear-projection category by offering early 3D sets as well as a line—dubbed LaserVue—that used laser-based backlighting.
If you own a Mitsubishi rear-projection TV, the company says that while it will no longer produce new models, it will continue to provide support and parts for existing DLP and LaserVue sets.
If you own a rear-projection TV, let us know how you feel about the end of an era in the TV business. And if you're in the market for a new set, check out our front projection TV Ratings and free TV buying guide.
—James K. Willcox