Bright future for rear-projection TVs

Updated: Jan 29 2008, 06:00am hrs
Back in the early years of this decade, when plasma high-definition televisions cost $10,000, consumers found that buying a rear-projection TV was a more affordable way to jump into the digital era.

But with prices plummeting for liquid-crystal display and plasma TVs, the rear-projection market is quickly drying up. Sony and Philips got out of that business last month.

The market is moving rapidly to LCD, said Todd Richardson, vice-president for marketing of connected displays for Philips Consumer Lifestyle North America, a division of Royal Philips Electronics.

But Texas Instruments, the chip maker that developed the digital light processor most commonly found in most rear-projection TVs, is holding the line. It isnt going to be easy.

Texas Instruments third-quarter 2007 revenue from DLP chip sales decreased 21% from the same period in 2006, after similar dips in previous quarters. DLP TV sets are still being made by Samsung, Mitsubishi and Toshiba, but according to market researchers at iSupply, sales of such TVs will drop 25% over the next two years. DisplaySearch, another market research firm, believes that in 2009, less than 1% of the TVs sold will be rear-projection sets using DLP.

NY Times / Eric A Taub