You remember rear-projection TVs, right? Remember how those really big screens blew away the tiny CRTs, LCD and plasma TVs? Then a funny thing happened. LCD and plasma got big too. But, they also stayed thin. Little by little, RPTV seemed old and boxy in comparison. Even worse, prices of LCD and plasma TVs starting falling — fast.
By the 21st century, RPTV's future started to look iffy. And recently the slide began in earnest. Numerous big manufacturers abandoned the technology altogether. Now RPTV is in real trouble, particularly the smaller of the species. Since 2007, RPTV sales in the under 60-inch market have dropped 32%. Today, 84% of RPTV sales are 60 inches or more. Is RPTV history?
In the first quarter of 2008, worldwide TV sales looked like this: 22.1 million CRT, 21.1 million LCD, 2.8 million plasma, and 124,000 for RPTV. That just isn't good. Still, RPTV has its strong points. It's still relatively cheap compared to other big screens; newer LCD sources are bright and relatively easy to replace; and RPTV's aren't all that thick!
So, in the long run does RPTV still have a chance? The short answer: No. —Ken C. Pohlmann
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