Business, Hardware

Mitsubishi Downsizing Kills LCD TV


During a downsizing move, Mitsubishi is dropping its LCD TV line, and pinning its hopes on the DLP TV market. This will mean a decline in external vendors who have been supplying their LCD panels while Mitsubishi continues to manufacture their own DLP (digital light projection) versions in Mexico.
As Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America (MDEA) cuts costs, leaving the LCD-TV marketplace, they are closing their Braselton, Georgia office which reportedly employees over 500 people, and its Ontario site. It was not noted whether employees will have the option to relocate to Irvine, California.
Mexicali, Mexico is the site of Mitsubishi's DLP and RPTV factoryThe workforce in it? factory ?n Mexicali, Mexico w?ll be reduced ?? well, although th? factory w?ll continue t? manufacture large-cover televisions. In 1996, MDEA had expanded the factory into a 206,000 square-foot (19,200 m2) facility, to produce chassis, optical and modular units for its rear projection televisions. In 2005, company officials said being next to the US where most big-screen TVs were being sold was important since the plant could ship TVs to the U.S. by truck in a few hours.
Central and South America are winners as the Professional Visual Systems side of the business, which concentrates ?n projector sales ?nd large public spectacle screens expands in those countries. Th? company?s dealer network will also undergo some changes.
To their benefit or detriment, Mitsubishi will be the only player in the RPTV (rear projection television) field. Other name brands, such as Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, and JVC are no longer producing them. An added plus, the Mitsubishi sets are 3D ready. You just need 3D glasses for 2010 models, and starting back in July 2010 they brought out a 3D Starter pack that can be used to retrofit many of your older Mitsubishi RPTVs. Bear in mind that new 3D technologies such as 3D Vision from nVidia are automatically compatible with Mitsubishi’s RPTV tehnology in almost all cases. At this point in time, we aren’t certain if AMD’s HD3D technology is compatible with the RPTV or not.

Mitsubishi has long been a prominent name in the TV set business, bringing out the first 35 inch CRT in the ?80s, and being on the front lines when plasma TV?s came out in the late ?90?s. Now, they are aiming for the large home theater crowd, since the largest LED-LCD is 65 inches compared to Mitsubishi?s 73 and 83 inch rear projection HDTV models. An even larger 92 inch is promised. Consumers will find the price point enticing with DLP?s coming in with a much lower price tag than comparable LCD sizes. Price-to-size is a plus. Futhermore, LCD?s rarely can match the larger sizes of DLP panels which incorporate the same technology used in the majority of 3D theaters.
Color Flywheel - key part of RPTV technology DLP was developed by Texas Instruments. It works with a light source aimed at a computer chip that contains thousands of mirrors smaller than a human hair. They reflect the light through a color wheel onto the screen, hence the description of rear projection. The DMD (digital micromirror device) chip of a DLP display provides a reasonable contrast ratio. Mitsubishi RPTVs use lamps as their light source which have a finite lifespan and must be replaced (usually around 6,000 hours). The LaserVue models however, have a much longer life span and use less energy, but the contrast ratio is still limited by the DMD chip.

Over the years, there have been numerous comparisons between three competing TV panel types: LCD, plasma, and DLP. Plasma technology involves placing gases between two sheets of glass. The gas is excited with electric pulses causing the gases to glow in different colors. LCD uses liquid crystals to obtain bright images which are easy to see even in a room full of windows, and can be viewed reasonably from a wider angle than DLP allows for without compromising picture quality. Although color saturation on LCD?s is great, the quality fades over time as the crystals age and cannot be replaced. Plasma also has degradation problems. In DLP, you can simply install a new, albeit pricey, light bulb.
Mitsubishi may have made a good choice, selecting to leave a pond full of LCD competitors, and jump into the DLP market where they are now the only player.