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Mitsubishi Drops DLP Displays: Goodbye RPTVs Forever

A pioneer of big-screen rear projection TVs, Mitsubishi (MEVSA) was the last hold-out in DLP displays, and finally is discontinuing the line as part of a corporate restructuring.


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So long, RPTV—the only big screen I’ve ever known. Meet my family and our 15 years of Mitsubishi in the slideshow below.

My Life with Mitsubishi RPTVs


Mitsubishi RPTVs are the only big screens I’ve ever owned, starting with one of the first HD-ready CRTs (and clunky external HDTV box) back in the mid-1990s.

That sucker lasted us more than a decade and I never had to replace a bulb, tune it up or anything. I got the TV in Boston, moved it to Minnesota in 2000, moved it to another house in 2005 …

We just kept waiting for it to die, and when it didn’t … we gave it away and purchased a DLP in late 2008: the 60-inch WD-60735 for less than $1,000.

We had a big room and a nice media console, so why not go with a bargain, especially knowing the longevity of a Mitsubishi display?

When it came time to move to California this year, we donated the TV … to my stepson who couldn’t believe his good fortune. It now occupies about one-third of his living room and he can’t make his gamer buddies go away.

The interesting thing about transporting the display to the apartment was how incredibly light the beast was, despite its girth. It practically floated itself to the truck.

On to the next phase of our life. We figured we’d get our first big-screen flat panel but again went with a Mitsubishi RPTV, this time the 73-inch WD-73842 (MSRP $1,799).

We had several reasons for this choice, value-per-inch being one of them, of course.

The other reasons are:

  • We are in a rental and don’t care to mount a big screen, only to have to remove it and patch the wall
  • We have the media console anyway.
  • We were putting the TV and console in a corner, so the edges and depth would disappear anyway; the slenderness of a flat panel would be wasted there. As it is, it looks like a flat screen (see for yourself).
  • We like big, really big—bigger and bigger the older we get

In fact, I was in the midst of writing a review on the product, when I learned of its discontinuation. Sad news for value-minded people like me who like a really big screen.

It’s a fine TV for our space. Unfortunately, we have a really bright room with high windows that aren’t covered, so the picture washes out during the day.

When the sun isn’t streaming through the windows, though, the picture is immaculate – and we are watching it out of the box without calibration.

We have a soundbar, but it isn’t necessary with this set. It has a built-in 16-speaker array with 32 watts of total power.

Or, for surround sound systems, the speaker can be set as the center channel.

The system comes with the full suite of Vudu apps, which isn’t necessary for me since I use a Roku box, which gives me everything I need.

A full review seems a little moot at this point, but I can tell you I would have kept buying what Mitsubishi was selling.

In fact, maybe I’ll pick up a LaserVue model during the fire-sales that are bound to happen.

That would give me the brightness I need, plus RS-232 and IP-based control when we move to a permanent place and install a control system.

[After the break: message from MEVSA president]

VIDEO: Rockin’ around the DLP ... how we watched White Christmas every year: on a big Mitsubishi rear-projection DLP

NOVEMBER 30, 2012

To Our Valued Authorized Service Centers,

Mitsubishi Electrical Visual Solutions America, Inc. (“MEVSA”) will implement an important change in business direction, which will necessitate a corresponding restructuring of the MEVSA organization.

Effective immediately, MEVSA is discontinuing the manufacture of 73”, 82” and 92” DLP projection televisions. MEVSA will continue to be headquartered at the Irvine location and its Parts and Service Department will remain. MEVSA will continue to sell its other product lines, including projectors, data wall products, public displays, digital signage and printers.

We expect that these changes will have a minimal effect on you and your business, as MEVSA will continue to provide its high level of support to its network of dealers, distributors and authorized service centers. MEVSA will, for example, maintain the same websites and 800 numbers that you currently use.

We will keep you informed as to any procedural changes to our service support and warranty websites.

We appreciate your ongoing support of our mutual customers.

Sincerely,

Junichi Nose
President & CEO, Mitsubishi Electrical Visual Solutions America, Inc.



View the 17 photos attached to this entry
Mitsubishi Drops DLP Displays: Goodbye RPTVs Forever


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Article Topics

News · Product News · Slideshow · Displays · TVs · Mitsubishi · Dlp · Rptv · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

23 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Denny Crane  on  12/01  at  08:30 PM

Can’t say that I was a fan. The images on a DLP projector TV simply lacked the crispness of an LCD or a plasma. And, they washed out in a daylit room.

Posted by Erich  on  12/01  at  09:52 PM

Wow this is bad news.  I have a 73” Mitsu that is only a couple years old and has been a great addition to the family.  Maybe I should upgrade to the 92” and put the 73 in the bedroom.  Hmm…

Posted by Rick Johnson  on  12/02  at  08:17 AM

You may want to verify the CRT RPTV timeline. My family had a 40 in model growing up since the mid to late ‘80s, and they weren’t exactly emerging then. I remember watching the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation on it. It needed some ICs replaced in it after some time in the early 90s, and the CRTs eventually became mis-aligned after a major earthquake.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  12/02  at  08:28 AM

Absolutely correct, Rick. Sorry, I should’ve said “HD-ready.” I have made the correction. Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted by Jimmie Ray  on  12/02  at  10:51 AM

We sold a couple dozen of the RPTV’s over the last couple years…Everyone has had an issue…bad bulbs overheating, lockups, several were unrepairable problems…Bye Bye Mits..wont miss you too much

Posted by Chris  on  12/02  at  07:40 PM

I have a Samsung LED DLP and after 5 years the only replacement needed was the red led (~ $90) which was easy enough to do myself.

In the bedroom I have a LCD TV that already went out on me after only owning it a year, luckily had the extended warranty for it and had it replaced.

Posted by Keith  on  12/02  at  08:00 PM

Reading this while watching Sunday Night Football on my mitsu 73” 3D dlp. The value and size was well worth it; I paid just a tad over 800. Sad day, but not to shocked. As the industry is getting bigger, thinner, and cheaper LCDs out the door everyday. I have had my 73” calibrated and the image and color is great. I too may look for a deal on a laser vue.

Posted by ted leaf  on  12/02  at  11:09 PM

rptv have always been pricey here in the uk,was lucky to find big 60 inch sony rptv that was built for business and video conferencing so it could take a video feed from just about anything and made a superb gaming screen and a prety good tv.did’nt know about all the “extra” air filters deep in the guts of the sony and the poor old thing fried a smtd on the main board and over here figures quoted for a repair are about the same price as the beast was brand new,about £5000, yes,£5k for repair.it cost £4997 with taxes when new.
you do look impressive if you can get your arms under one and lift on your own,60 inch sony only weighs about 130 pounds.easy.

Posted by John  on  12/03  at  12:57 AM

Can these DLP TV play VHS tapes?

LCD/LED play VHS tape very bad and I wonder what about the DLP TV

Posted by Joe Whitaker  on  12/03  at  08:26 AM

I still have one of the 73” Mitsu’s. I have had it for a good while and it has always been a great display. Sad to see an end to this product category as I think there was still room for growth. It is a sad end to a “Best Bang for the Buck” product line. Thanks Mitsu for the years of satisfaction an cost effectiveness.

Posted by Rob Robinson  on  12/03  at  11:18 AM

Not surprised to see it but sad the end of rear-projection production as there were/are some great displays in this category. Had a 55” CRT-based Mitsubishi rear-pro for many years (that is still producing great pictures for the charity that I donated it to) and the display in my NY home theater remains a 60” Sony SXRD unit that I just put a new OEM bulb in and re-calibrated and continue to enjoy enormously.

Posted by Gary  on  12/03  at  12:11 PM

I have a 50 inch Sony, rear projector, no problems to date, still on the original bulb. It isn’t the daily set, used in the den for sports and movies.  Always liked the picture.  But considering he cost of a bulb, when it comes time to replace, I will likely opt for a new flat screen.

Posted by Alan Blake  on  12/03  at  12:21 PM

Sorry to see these go. I used to work in Corporate television, and had one of the 48” CRT-RP sets. It lasted 14 years, and looked as good as my studio monitors. A part of my job was to maintain the Corporation’s projection systems, and we had a mix of everything out there. I never had to do a service call on a Mitsubishi unless it was to set up a new one.
When I bought my present set, I evaluated the DLP against LCD, and the DLP presented a superior picture; I cannot agree with the comment that DLP-RP washes out in a bright room. My set is next to 15’ tall windows and looks great any time of the day. Can’t say that about plasma; which also has a minimum viewing distance and tendency to burn-in. Consider that unless you have a good resolution conversion chipset (90% don’t) in your LCD, that unless your bitstream is at or near its native resolution it will look awful. DLP has no native resolution, so pictures look as good as the incoming bitstream.
Timeline: “Good” CRT-RP sets were available in the early 80’s, at that time the front-projection sets (except for Advent) were all junk from a performance standpoint. Of course most consumers didn’t care about quality as long as the picture was big.

Posted by mlafave  on  12/03  at  01:36 PM

A moment of silence if you please.

Now, here’s your Living Room back!

Posted by Timothy Turner  on  12/03  at  07:15 PM

Isn’t that photo in the slideshow the IR Receiver? An emitter sends out a signal.

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