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Mitsubishi Touts Big Opportunities in Rear DLPs

You can buy a 70-inch Sharp LED for about $3,000, but Mitsubishi's DLP is still half the price and a better opportunity for dealers, TV maker claims.


Frank DeMartin, VP consumer product sales for Mitsubishi (right), with senior VP Max Wasinger, at Nationwide PrimeTime Fall 2011.

Mitsubishi is pretty much the last DLP TV maker standing after Samsung exited that business in 2009. Why is Mitsubishi clinging to a technology that many would consider outdated compared to flat screens?

Answer: DLP rear projection is an amazing value and there’s still money to be made, especially if you hold a virtual monopoly on the category like Mitsubishi does.

“I want to know who’s making money in flat screens,” says Frank DeMartin, VP consumer product sales at Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America, the consumer and professional display division of Mitsubishi. The company pretty much gave up on the mass-market flat-panel business earlier this year.

Mitsubishi exhibited at the recent Nationwide Marketing Group PrimeTime expo for A/V integrators, appliance resellers, and furniture and bedding dealers.

DeMartin talks about a competitor’s 70-inch flat screen that retails for about $3,000 (ahem, Sharp Aquos LC-70LE732U LED-based LCD) -- and that’s without 3D capabilities and mounting gear.

RELATED: My Love Affair with DLP Continues

Or, says DeMartin, “You can get a 73-inch DLP for $1,599. And by the way, we [the dealer] can give you furniture, 3D glasses, a Blu-ray player and home theater in the box, and you’ll still pay less than $3,000.”

Such an ensemble provides better margins than flat screens and “there’s really no competition,” says DeMartin. “They [DLP displays] are not shopped as much.”

And then when you get into even larger displays, such as Mitsubishi’s 92-inch WD-92840 ($5,999 MSRP, $5,499 street price) there is no competition at all, except for projector/screen combos or 100-inch flat panels that start at $30,000.

Of course, DLP isn’t right for every room, especially bright ones; however, Mitsubishi continues to improve on its DLP sets. The laser-based LaserVue line is better suited for brighter spaces and consumes less power than the standard DLP displays in Mitsubishi’s Home Cinema line.

RELATED: Out, Out Damn Lamp! The Big Bummer with DLPs

The 75-inch LaserVue L75-A91 has a street price of less than $4,000.

DeMartin says, “I think a lot of dealers, especially in smaller markets, see the opportunity. No one else can put it [big-screen DLP with furniture] on the floor. Best Buy can’t.”

He says that companies like Paul’s TV -- a multi-location A/V retailer -- have had particular success selling DLPs within furniture stores. Indeed, furniture resellers represent a huge chunk of members in the Nationwide buying group.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Displays · TVs · Mitsubishi · Nationwide Marketing Group · Dlp · Primetime · 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]

6 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by pcompton  on  10/03  at  02:36 PM

I hope those boys can sell alot of cars to subsidize their failing TV business. 

I understand that there is no profit in flat screen tvs, but there’s also no demand for DLP’s.  Just call it a day and get out of the TV building business.

Posted by ASVSystems  on  10/03  at  08:43 PM

I appreciate the angle, Mits. I’m sure you’re making the best RPJDLP sets to ever hit the market… Just as I’m sure the last guy making the horse & buggy was the best horse & buggy manufacturer around. The only problem was that eveyone strted driving cars.

There’s plenty of margin in flat panels if you build relationships in the industry and work together outside the box. We buy Sony, Tos, Sharp, Sam, LG, Panasonic all at 3% above what BB and most other big boxes buy at & all without rebates, tax, or shipping to deal with (local pickup is avail to us). The money is out there in flat panels…. you just have to work for it!

Posted by Kemper  on  10/04  at  11:56 AM

I love the image and impact my 65” RPTV provides and couldn’t afford the size in a flat panel, I hope Mits continues to make RPTVs.

Posted by Blake  on  10/04  at  12:21 PM

Mitsubishi has quietly been the leader in rear-projection television for the last 25 years. I used to service the conference room sets for a large corporation as part of my job and was always making service calls on every other brand except one or two on a Mitsubishi.

The LCD-TV business is cutthroat from the manufacturer’s side. You will find companies buying panels from each other so as to have coverage in their lines; because production costs for a large variety of sizes is so high. Much of the cost in panels comes from the high reject rate, not the technology costs. The cost climbs astronomically to create larger LCDs, with the 108-inch diagonal in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

DLP sets have some advantages in that they have no ‘native’ resolution but are flexible enough to display all resolutions and scan rates flawlessly. You will never find image smear or image retention problems with a DLP.

Most showrooms will not put DLP sets next to LCD because they do not care for the unfavorable comparisons to the LCDs on price and image quality. They want to sell the oooh-aaaah of the LCD cachet.

You do have to change the light source periodically with the DLP, but the expense of about a half hour and $75 in most cases is a small compromise when compared with the upfront cost in large LCDs.

And to those who think DLP is a dead-end, just remind yourself of its suitability as a projection technology as you sit in the movie theatre next time watching a movie that was created, edited, and distributed in digital format.

Posted by bmz  on  10/04  at  12:56 PM

As 3-D becomes more popular, I expect DLP to become more popular than flat panel. DLP’s produce the best 3-D; and 3-D requires screens larger than 65 inches—and at that size, wall mounting becomes impractical. Hence, flat screens lose their only advantage.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  10/04  at  01:33 PM

Most flat panels, by a long shot, sit on top of furniture anyway. We have a big room so we can spare that extra 8 inches or so of depth.

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