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Rear screen projection TVs are dead

Mitsubishi has announced the end of its rear projection screen TVs. For many years if you had big-screen TV, it was typically a rear projection style unit. As pricing on LCD and plasma TV sets came down and screen sizes increased, consumer interest in rear projection TVs waned.

Mitsubishi was the last manufacturer producing these relics from the past, but the company has informed its authorized service centers 73-inch, 82-inch, and 92-inch DLP projection TVs will be discontinued.

Mitsubishi Electrical Visual Solutions America (MEVSA) president and CEO Junichi Nose stated that the change was part of an "important change in business direction, which will necessitate a corresponding restructuring of the MEVSA organization."

MESVA's Max Wasinger added, "We are in the midst of an orderly exit from the DLP TV business. MEVSA will now focus on B-to-B (projectors, display wall, printers, digital signage, monitors, etc.) and the home theater projector business."

Mitsubishi's line of projection screen TVs were far from inexpensive. The 75-inch LaserVue TV sold for about $4,000 at retail locations around the country. 

Source: CE Pro

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Poor example....
By scook9 on 12/3/2012 10:52:02 AM , Rating: 3
You mention the LaserVue being $4000 but that is the top end range from them. I got a 60" 3D Capable 1080p model for only $700 in early 2011. These TVs are great because they are the cheapest way to get a huge screen with very good picture quality. Currently the 73" model is commonly on sale for $700 or $800. And for those who think these are all 400 lb monsters....mine is 18" deep at the base, like 3" deep at the top (tapers) and only weighs 80 lbs....very manageable.

RE: Poor example....
By Denigrate on 12/3/2012 11:01:18 AM , Rating: 2
But it's tough to hand that dude on the wall, and all the marketing is focused on the LED/LCD units.

RE: Poor example....
By TheCommish on 12/3/2012 11:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
Lots of people love the idea of mounting TV's on the wall, but then bitch about all the wires hanging everywhere. Many just end up buying a stand so they can hide the wires and/or relocate it if necessary. Once you have decided on using a stand, the 18" depth of the DLP becomes a non-factor. It's been the best bang-for-the-buck for quite a while. Mine is a 73" Mitz from Jan 2010 for $1300 delivered (Dell). At that time, maybe you could get a cheapo 60" LCD for that price.

RE: Poor example....
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 12/3/2012 5:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
LCDs and Plasmas don't have the fan noise of RPTVs. I've got a 56" with a pretty darn good picture (JVC LCoS) but the fan noise is LOUD :/

RE: Poor example....
By Mitch101 on 12/3/2012 5:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
Ive never heard the fan on my Mitsubishi. Sure it exists but Ive never heard it.

Reality is its time for RPTV's to go away. The cost of manufacturing the box the components reside in, front surface mirror, fresnel, Bulb, Calibrating, and shipping size. The size alone you can fit 3-4 flat panels in the same space. This time next year we should see 60" LCD for the same price as RPTV's today so it just makes sense to drop the box.

RE: Poor example....
By mcnabney on 12/4/2012 9:50:41 AM , Rating: 2
I have a Samsung LED DLP and I can only hear the fan if I stick my head behind it -and even then it is a soft whir. Something must be wrong with the fan.

RE: Poor example....
By inperfectdarkness on 12/4/2012 2:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
Plasma's need to die off too. Heavy, shorter life-span, prone to burn-in (if you're not careful), high power consumption, and hot enough to roast marshmellows by the rear vents.

RE: Poor example....
By abhaxus on 12/4/2012 5:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
heavy: myth (samsung 60" E8000 TVs are within a pound of each other for either technology)
shorter life span: myth (both are typically rated to 100,000 hours half life)

You are probably as likely to have burn in on an LCD as you are on a modern plasma, unless you do something any reasonably tech savvy person would consider dumb. They use as much power as a traditional LCD, and create as much heat. Sure, if you compare to LED backlit models they are less efficient, but at the prices most people buy plasmas at (entry level) they are vastly superior in all aspects, and at the higher end, many are willing to trade power consumption for the superior picture they offer.

RE: Poor example....
By Mitch101 on 12/3/2012 5:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
Ive got a 65" DLP that sits on top of the dresser in the bedroom. The dresser space would otherwise get cluttered with junk so there is no real loss of space if I had bought a flat screen and hung it on the wall only a loss of a cluttered counter top.

Best bang for buck personally is a projector if you have a dark enough room. About the time I should be in the market for a new bulb we should see laser projectors that can come close enough to bulb projectors to make the switch. Yes there are a few on the market but that lack the lumens to compete still but its getting there. Im hoping we should see 4k laser projectors in the coming two years? So I can increase my projected image to 180". :)

RE: Poor example....
By CarbonJoe on 12/5/2012 11:39:31 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad Mitsubishi exited the LCD TV market a few years ago.

RE: Poor example....
By twhittet on 12/3/2012 11:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
80lbs is very manageable, though 18" is less manageable.
I think these would be great tv's for the optimal room setup - but a 2 inch thick tv you don't have to worry about having the perfect room setup.

Also - did they ever fix the viewing angle? Horrible viewing angles is what put me off of DLP - but it's possible they have improved this.

RE: Poor example....
By euclidean on 12/3/2012 11:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
I've never noticed an issue really with viewing angles on DLP Rear Projection TVs, but those original Rear Projections I totally get what your saying.

Unless you are talking about the weird viewing issue some people have with DLPs in general...that I don't think is something you can fix with the TV.

Amazon dot com - Westinghouse 40" 1080p LED HDTV - $400 to the door. IDK, but I don't think I could bring myself to buy a rear-projection mainly because it's becoming so cheap to purchase an LED TV that has decent quality, and I can put it pretty much anywhere in the house - maybe if I had a larger, or better room setup as someone else mentioned...

RE: Poor example....
By Solandri on 12/3/2012 2:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
All rear projection sets have a viewing angle problem. There's a tiny array of fresnel lenses just behind the screen which directs most of the light forward, causing image brightness to drop off if viewed from a different direction. In other words, the brightness falls off towards the sides because that light is being redirected straight forward to increase brightness when viewed straight on.

The problem with rear projection (and also front projection) is that all the light has to come from a single source - a bulb which is focused by a lens, shines onto a DLP, then goes to the screen. This means it gets really hot where the light is most concentrated. That limits the maximum amount of lighting you can use before overheating and melting start to become an issue. By the time that light is spread over a large screen, it's pretty dim. And so you need to concentrate it within a narrow angle to maintain brightness.

LEDs and older LCDs on the other hand can spread the light source out along the edges of the screen, allowing for higher overall light output without as much heat issues at any single point. LEDs in particular run very cool (are very efficient). Ideally you'd be able to use them in a projection TV, but they don't yet produce enough light to replace a halogen or arc bulb. I was really hoping laser LED projectors would make up for this deficiency, but that technology seems to have fallen by the wayside.

RE: Poor example....
By mcnabney on 12/4/2012 9:53:35 AM , Rating: 2
My Samsung RPTV uses an LED light engine (made in New Jersey BTW). It is 5 years old. You aren't saying anything new.

RE: Poor example....
By theapparition on 12/3/2012 11:50:52 AM , Rating: 2
Personally, I've never understood the attraction to many "thin" hang on the wall TVs for home theater setups. Good speakers are going to have depth, the AV equipment has depth, so does the Blu-ray. And I haven't seen any cable boxes made flat either. Most people don't install their equipment in another room or closet.

So for most peoples homes, the AV equipment and speakers hang out, so why does the TV need to be flat. Gives a recessed look that's not too flattering.

I'll agree that the flat TVs are ideal where you don't really have too much equipment.

Also - did they ever fix the viewing angle? Horrible viewing angles is what put me off of DLP - but it's possible they have improved this.

DLP always had very good horizontal viewing angles but poor vertical viewing angles. But to be honest, on DLP TVs this size (65"-90"), it's almost impossible to get into an angle where you see it. You literally have to be 1 ft from the TV and have your head on the ground or near the ceiling to have the picture wash out. Certainly not a position most chose to watch TV from.

RE: Poor example....
By FITCamaro on 12/3/2012 2:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
I had absolutely no trouble lifting my 42" DLP myself when I had it. I believe it was about 40 lbs.

RE: Poor example....
By name99 on 12/3/2012 4:42:44 PM , Rating: 3
But 42" is no longer a relevant number.
You can get a 42" LCD TV for less than $600 which is ridiculously light and runs ridiculously cool.

That's kinda the point. Even the 7x" LCD screens are becoming crazy cheap --- check them out in Costco, or the Best Buy house brand Insignia some time.

Yes, snobs can find a thousand things to complain about in these cheap TVs; but the bottom line is that once a technology is "good enough" convenience beats supposedly better specs every time. We have seen this over and over again (starting, perhaps, with CDs, then on through MP3s, now in the space of dedicated game consoles. Every time the fans rise up and deny reality, insist that, no, the wonderful attributes of their favored technology are somehow relevant to this discussion. Mitsubishi, at least, hires realists who understand how the world works.

RE: Poor example....
By mcnabney on 12/4/2012 9:59:18 AM , Rating: 1
A 42" TV is worthless for home theater. Even casual viewing.


Because you will never see the resolution. In order to 'see' the 1080p resolution on a 42" HDTV you have to sit 5.5' away from it. If you are watching it from 12' away you aren't seeing any quality beyond a plain old DVD resolution, aka TV from the 50s-90s.

RE: Poor example....
By CarbonJoe on 12/5/2012 11:23:50 AM , Rating: 2
The LaserVue TVs are 13" deep, which is about the same depth as an AV receiver or Satellite DVR box.

RE: Poor example....
By Schrag4 on 12/3/2012 2:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. I've never understood why rear proj DLPs aren't more popular. Sure, it's practically impossible to hang them on a wall, but a screen 60 inches or larger is probably part of a home theatre, which will have other deep components, like a place to put an A/V receiver, subwoofer, front speakers, etc.

If you don't have those things, or you do but they take up very little room, then I hate to break it to you but you don't have a real home theatre. It might sound good, even great, but I doubt you realize what you're missing. I've always said that for total immersion, a good picture is FAR less important than huge, clear sound.

For the record, I don't currently have a decent sound system either, but I know what one should look and sound like. The blu-ray player with the built-in amp and 5.1 speakers sound pretty good in the small room they're in, but the system is an order of magnitude below what a decent home theatre system should sound like.

All this to say, someday, when I finally put together a real home theatre, my preferred display will be a rear-proj DLP, assuming they're still being made.

RE: Poor example....
By Mint on 12/3/2012 7:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's mainly the allure of the flat panel form factor.

But even with picture quality, there are ANSI contrast problems of rear projection due to reflection inside the cabinet of the bright sections. DLP was always the best of rear projections for this, but I've only seen ~400:1 ANSI constrast measured, with ultra high contrast numbers only happening with a black screen. That really take a lot of punch out of the picture compared to 1000:1 contrast LCDs and much better still from plasmas.

Of course, none of this would matter if priced didn't drop for flat panels. It blows my mind that we can create a 60" panel with 6 million subpixels (i.e. filled with ~200 micron features) at a cost that can compete in price with a hollow plastic cabinet using a 1" DLP imaging chip. I saw 60" LCDs going for $700 on Black Friday. That's insane!

To put that in perspective, if the the TV lasts 5 years, it would take only 1% of a minimum wage salary to finance a 60" flat-panel.

RE: Poor example....
By TakinYourPoints on 12/3/2012 9:50:30 PM , Rating: 2
Being able to hang other types of displays have nothing to do with anything. Rear projection DLPs have inferior color accuracy, contrast, rendering of motion, and viewing angles to a plasma, and these are problems that will never be addressed.

RE: Poor example....
By Ghost42 on 12/3/2012 3:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
I know what you mean.. The 82" 3D DLP is $1600 & 92" 3D DLP is only $2800, I've been thinking about one as a replacement for our old 56" JVC RP. I've just never had that much free cash to jump on it. Hopefully I'll be able to by the time their gone.

RE: Poor example....
By Assimilator87 on 12/4/2012 2:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
Oh gawd, no more Laservue =(

RE: Poor example....
By CarbonJoe on 12/5/2012 11:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
I totally agree. I got my L75-A94 in July. Stunning picture quality. Also, a 75" TV that only consumes 85 watts.

By Motoman on 12/3/2012 10:49:33 AM , Rating: 1
You'll take my 66" Samsung LED DLP from my cold, dead hands.

Only $1,800 a few years ago, when a comparable size LCD was about ten grand. And the picture is stunning...and because it's LED, there's no bulb to burn out or replace.

Can't believe they stopped making them. Unbelieveable win.

RE: >.<
By Complinitor on 12/3/2012 11:01:52 AM , Rating: 2
Check your manual - that TV has a nice-sized bulb in the front that is used to shine the little 9" LED screen onto the big screen. I just replaced mine with one from e.bay.

RE: >.<
By Motoman on 12/3/2012 11:19:45 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, on your recommendation I went and looked at the manual (and in the process remembered it's a 67", not 66" XD).

Manual doesn't say anything at all about it. And searching for it's "replacement bulb" doesn't turn up anything.

RE: >.<
By kmmatney on 12/3/2012 5:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be surprised if it doesn't have a bulb. I have a SONY LCD rear projection, and the bulb went out after 3.5 years. We had a 4 year warranty, and had it replaced for free. I probably should have not bought the warranty, though, as you can buy the bulbs on Ebay for $15, and they are easy to replace yourself. I do like my rear projection TV, and it's lasted for 7 years so far, but I'd buy a large, thin, LCD TV if buying today.

RE: >.<
By Motoman on 12/3/2012 8:34:44 PM , Rating: 1
That's why it's important that mine is an LED DLP. Yours is LCD.

Big difference.

An LED DLP is a permanent device. In theory, with other DLPs they're permanent too, so long as you keep replacing the bulb. LCD and plasma TVs are disposable...when they die, you throw them away.

RE: >.<
By steven975 on 12/3/2012 11:25:58 AM , Rating: 3
So, first LCD screen. It's a DLP.

Second...the LED shines on the mirrors of the DLP chip, reflecting light to the screen. No need to replace the LED.

There ARE projection TVs that use a small LCD screen, but a DLP does not. It is monochrome and uses color filters (the theatrical DLPs use 3 chips, one for each color. The light is almost always a xenon arc lamp (which tend to have a more consistent color temperature).

Then there are LCOS screens, aka SXRD. These use 3 monochrome LCDs on top of a mirror, one for each color. These are very similar to theatrical systems and are especially prized for their handling of motion.

RE: >.<
By Motoman on 12/3/2012 11:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a guy who knows more about them than I do.

All I know about them is that they are awesome. And it doesn't weigh anything either - it's lighter than our 40" LCD TV we have in another room.

I actually bought mine a few years ago, at the time when they were being phased out of the market. When I asked people why, they said "people want LCDs and plasmas." When I'd ask why, the answer tended to be "because they're thinner."

And LED DLP is about 16" or so wide at the base. BFD. Sits rather majestically on a regular store-bought TV stand, like you'd get for a large LCD/plasma unit. Who f%cking cares that it's 16" wide at the base, when the picture is awesome and it costs less than 20% of the price of an LCD model? And less than 10% of the cost of a comparably-sized plasma at the time.

$1,800 for a 67" LED DLP with a bulb that never burns out, or ten grand for an LCD of comparable size, or twenty grand for a plasma of comparable size (pricing from a few years ago).

Hmmm...which shall I choose?

People. Don't. Make. Sense.

RE: >.<
By nrhpd527 on 12/3/2012 2:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't agree more. In 2003, when a flat panel in the range of our Mitsubishi 48411 (rear projection CRTV) cost 5-6 times at least what we paid, it was a no brainer to get a RPTV. The thing has the best sound from any TV w/o a receiver I have ever heard, and is better than some surround sound systems I've heard recently in projection clear / even / well-distributed sound around our huge LR.

Most importantly, NOTHING on the market currently can show ice hockey quite like this streaking, blurring, or pixelation at all. The only way to get close would be finding a used Pioneer Elite Plasma that would still run more than I paid for this 9 years ago.

That said, the Mits is also a monster to move around (we occasionally watch a DVR'd show or 2 during dinner or when doing work at the island (the wife and I both teach), so moving that thing around not only is a pain, but our walls have taken untold numbers of beatings from the sharp corners.

We are actually in the process of moving the Mits to the study as part of a "man cave" setup and got a cheap LED-LCD (like $699) for the wife's "mom cave" in the living room...I just hope that when I sit on the couch and watch a hockey game on it the 1st time I don't cry because the picture sucks...but then again, if it does, I guess that just means my hockey watching is moving into the study...

RE: >.<
By TakinYourPoints on 12/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: >.<
By CarbonJoe on 12/5/2012 11:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
No, the Samsung HLT series DLPs had 3 Phlatt Light LEDs for the light source (Red, Green, and Blue LEDs). No bulb, as well as no color wheel to fail. No rainbow effect as well.

RE: >.<
By FITCamaro on 12/3/2012 2:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. DLPs are excellent TVs.

Stagnant DLP market
By KnightBreed on 12/3/2012 12:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just pissed the DLP market keeps spiraling into nothing. The loss of Mits rear projection units means it's another loss of revenue for TI and more incentive to not improve their home theater chips. The home theater crowd has been stuck with the same DLP chip for the past 3 years.

RE: Stagnant DLP market
By euler007 on 12/3/2012 4:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
TI's last client just stopped production of DLP sets. I'd say stopping R&D 3 years ago was the right call.

If you have a few dozen millions I'm sure they'd be interested in doing a next generation chip for you, then you'd just need to find someone to manufacture the set for you.

RE: Stagnant DLP market
By mcnabney on 12/4/2012 10:02:41 AM , Rating: 2
DLP is the standard for business projectors. TI has plenty of people to sell to.

Also, 4K is the 'next big thing' so why spend a bunch of effort making the next 1080p Darkchip.

RE: Stagnant DLP market
By CarbonJoe on 12/5/2012 11:38:35 AM , Rating: 2
False. There are plenty of front projectors that still use DLP chips. In fact, there are plenty of "Digital Cinema" projectors that use DLP chips. Check out Christie Digital, which has over 36,000 installed worldwide. The model listed below is a 4K projector, using DLP.

RE: Stagnant DLP market
By titanmiller on 12/4/2012 1:02:54 PM , Rating: 1
Why do people like DLP? The color saturation is absolutely atrocious and the rainbow effect is extremely annoying.

RE: Stagnant DLP market
By TakinYourPoints on 12/4/2012 1:28:40 PM , Rating: 1
No idea, they look like garbage. It might be that they like it because they don't know what to look for in terms of what looks good and what looks bad. Untrained eyes and choosing to personally reinforce their own uninformed decisions might be the reason.

By TakinYourPoints on 12/3/2012 9:47:27 PM , Rating: 1
DLP rear projection is technology that had been replaced by much better displays years ago. So many huge flaws, it long overstayed its welcome.

LCD HDTVs are still trash but plasmas are amazing, and they're at a point now where a $1200 Panasonic will get you almost the image quality of a $6000 Pioneer Elite Kuro from several years ago. They're fantastic

Bye bye to outdated technology that wasn't even that great to begin with.

RE: Good
By mcnabney on 12/4/2012 10:06:06 AM , Rating: 2
If plasmas are so good, why do they not even claim 1% of the market?

They have awesome black levels and contrast, but they suck massive power and burn in (a friend has a 3 year old Pannie and you can always see burn-in developing due to his predictable viewing habits. They also weigh a ton.

RE: Good
By TakinYourPoints on 12/4/2012 1:26:03 PM , Rating: 1
Source for your numbers please. The number is a lot bigger than 1% just based on the amount of showroom and online sames space they get.

They do get outsold by LCDs, but it is due to marketing. LCDs are objectively inferior where it counts (picture quality) but they also have much better profit margins for manufacturers and retailers, so they'll put way more effort selling them than they would plasmas. This is why plasmas seem to be the domain of the enthusiast and people who know WTF, while LCDs are sold to the uninformed masses.

Burn-in and image retention are two very different things, and the latter (which is what is more likely to happen) isn't permanent. As it stands, I haven't had any IR issues with my Pioneer in five years, and this is with playing video games that have static UI elements. I haven't heard of any burn-in issues in ages.

Who cares about their weight, do people move their TVs around a lot?

By Demoure on 12/4/2012 5:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
The quotes do not say that Mitsubishi is giving up rear-projection TVs, but that it is exiting the DLP market. Mitsubishi's laservue TVs are not DLP, but are rear-projection. Since laser-tvs are new and superior, it makes logical sense to say that Mitsubishi is dropping DLP in favor of laser.

RE: Mistaken?
By CarbonJoe on 12/5/2012 11:19:50 AM , Rating: 2
You clearly don't know what you are talking about. The LaserVue TVs are most assuredly DLPs, just with 3 lasers for the light source instead of a bulb, and no color wheel. No color wheel = no rainbow effect. (Owner of L75-A94)

Decent set
By Dorkyman on 12/3/2012 1:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
We bought our 62" DLP set in 2004. Other than having to replace the lamp twice over the years, it's been a great set, with a bright, sharp image and no issues at all. Lamps are about $80 on eBay.

A friend, however, had a near-identical set and suffered the BGLOD (Blinking Green Light Of Death). This was a fault condition that almost always was caused by blown capacitors. Really gave Mitsubishi a black eye, though the capacitor fiasco affected numerous other industries also (I keep a souvenir Asus motherboard that showed bulges in about half the caps).

But we've been happy/lucky with ours. Couldn't care less about the thickness, since we have ours in the living room corner.

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