Before the advent of high-definition, if you wanted a large-format TV your only choice was a rear-projection screen. Although the technology allowed for screen sizes far higher than CRT was capable of scaling to, the sets suffered from high temperatures and poor viewing angles. Despite this, the displays had their fans.
These days screens of 40” and more are commonplace and very few manufacturers still produce rear-projection sets, preferring LCD and plasma technologies. In a statement released yesterday morning one of the few remaining rear-projection manufacturers, Sony
, announced that it would no longer manufacture the displays.
The popularity of rear-projection sets has been waning for some time, with only 1.1 million sold in the US last year compared to 6.3 million LCD sets. That gap is set to increase, with preliminary 2007 sales figures showing 400,000 rear-projection TVs being sold to 10 million LCDs.
Despite this, Sony has always been a firm backer of the technology. Its departure from the market marks the third company to cease manufacture of sets based on the technology this year, alongside Hitachi
and Seiko Epson
Sony is hoping that by concentrating on the current LCD technology, and betting heavily on OLED for the future, they will be able to turn a profit for the first time in a while. Sony's US television division lost almost $500 million in the six-month period ending in September this year, and continued mass-production of an unpopular technology already ditched by many of the its rivals can't have helped this figure.
The company has announced that the final production run of rear-projection sets to bear the Sony name will occur in February 2008.
Does anyone remember rear-projection sets with anything approaching nostalgia, or are we all waiting until we can turn the living room wall into a 100” OLED display screen? Let us know via the forums