updated 10:25 am EST, Thu December 27, 2007
Sony Quits Rear Projection
Sony this morning confirmed that it will quit the rear-projection TV field, ending its longstanding involvement with the technology. The Japanese firm will discontinue its SXRD line and other large sets in favor of direct view flat panels, such as today's LCDs and the company's still-young OLED technology, began with the launch of the XEL-1 this month. The move is necessary as sales of larger, heavier rear projectors are declining sharply while LCDs boom. Sony only expects to sell 400,000 rear-projection sets this fiscal year compared to 1.1 million in the period before; this was at least partly responsible for a roughly $526.3 million loss in Sony's TV business, the company says.
Front-projection units, which are most often found in larger home theater setups as well as in businesses and schools, will remain in the lineup and share much of the same technology as the outgoing rear-projection models.
The official news validates reports of a rapid consolidation in the HDTV business from Japanese companies. Hitachi recently sold stakes in its LCD business to Canon and Panasonic that will help both itself and Panasonic focus more on LCD sets, while Sharp and Toshiba have negotiated a technology sharing deal that lets each company borrow the other's expertise for future sets.