Sunday, 30 December 2007

Score one for the big corporations

According to the yesterday papers, Sony has decided to quit manufacturing rear projection TV's in order to focus on their flat LCD panels.
As far as I can tell, there are two things to take from that story: First, there is not much happening this time of the year and the papers would take anything to fill up their pages. The second is that the marketing machines of the big TV makers did its job and did it well. And that's pretty sad.
It is a not well known fact that per a given screen size, no TV gives you as much quality for your dollar as a rear projection TV. The reason why this is not well known is that marketing machinery that did its best to convince people that what they really need are relatively thin flat panels, most of which are currently in the shape of LCD or plasma panels, as opposed to the thicker (and we're only talking about 8" thick) rear projection screens. Most people don't hang their TV's up on the wall anyway, and if you have a proper home theater system you wouldn't want to hang your TV on the wall anyway for acoustic reasons; so why do the manufacturers want you to buy "flat" panels? Simply because they cost you more so they can make more money.
To be blunt, Sony's announcement about abandoning rear projection in order to focus on LCD technology is pure bullshit. Sony does not intend to discontinue its front projectors, which essentially use the same technology as its rear projectors (other than the screen, which is bought separately in front projection setups). The saddest thing about is that Sony's lineup of rear projection TV's utilizing LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicone) technology, dubbed the SXRD lineup by Sony, is the best TV out there by a very long mile. And generally speaking, the technologies that deliver the best picture quality - LCOS and DLP - are technologies that work only in projection systems.
Without Sony in the picture, Samsung remains the only manufacturer of rear projection TV's that you can actually acquire in Australia. They're also the only ones that seem to invest in the technology, recently introducing LED lighting to replace the projector lamps on its DLP TV's. The problem with the Samsung is that by now no shop carries rear projectors in their store displays. If you want to buy a rear projector you have to buy it blind.
They have won and we have lost.

No comments: