By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 04, 2012 09:53 AM EST
Mitsubishi announced plans to cease production of rear-projection television (RPTV) sets, coming in as the last major player to leave the sinking RPTV boat.
Often bulky and clunky, RPTVs started to lose ground as flat-panel LCD displays took over the consumer market. Most technology companies shifted away from the digital light processing (DLP) screen market, leaving Mitsubishi with a virtual monopoly of this mostly defunct market.
Mitsubishi continued to release new DLP sets even as rival firms such as Samsung and Sony left the market to concentrate their efforts on more lucrative endeavors. Now, it seems that Mitsubishi is finally ready to throw in the towel.
According to a letter sent to authorized service centers and shared with CE Pro, Mitsubishi's focus from now on will be on business display equipment and home theater projections. A company executive also confirmed that Mitsubishi is discontinuing the 73-, 82-, and 92-inch RPTV sets.
The memo is signed by Junichi Nose, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Electrical Visual Solutions Inv. (MEVSA), and portrays the move as an "important change in business direction, which will necessitate a corresponding restructuring of the MEVSA organization."
"We are in the midst of an orderly exit from the DLP TV business," echoed Max Wasinger, executive vice president of sales and marketing. "MEVSA will now focus on B-to-B (projectors, display wall, printers, digital signage, monitors, etc.) and the home theater projector business," Wasinger told CE Pro.
After Samsung exited the segment back in 2009, Mitsubishi had the RPTV business all to itself. Although rivals were already placing their bets on LCD for big-screen sets, Mitsubishi stayed put and decided to push DLP as its sole line, with all models bigger than 65 inches.
RPTV is arguably more cost-effective inch-for-inch than rival flat-panel systems, but consumers proved to be increasingly interested in less bulky devices, shifting from RPTVs to the sleeker LCDs.
Although Mitsubishi will cease production of RPTVs, MEVSA will continue to offer parts and accessories for the sets, according to the memo. Moreover, the network of service centers will also continue to offer the same degree of warranty aftercare as it did until now.