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Report: Rear-projection's 60-inch niche

A new report says that rear-projection HDTVs now serve a niche market of people who want 60-inch or larger televisions.

Rear-projection is only popular in really big screen sizes. CNET

A press release describing a new report (PDF) says that rear-projection HDTVs, including DLP-based microdisplays, now serve only a niche market of people who want 60-inch or larger televisions. The report by Quixel research shows that in the second quarter of this year, the 60-inch and larger screen sizes accounted for 86 percent of sales of all rear-projection HDTVs; up from 32 percent in 2007. The firm's spokesman says that the reason has to do value. "The market has changed and there is no value for 42-inch, 46-inch, and 50-inch MD RPTVs, but there is great value in the screen sizes above 60 inch," said Tamaryn Pratt, Quixel Research principal.

At CNET reviews we've noted a similar trend. This year, out of 40 HDTVs reviewed to date, we've reviewed only two rear-projection HDTVs, the Samsung HL61A750 and the Mitsubishi WD-65735, both larger than 60 inches and both cited for value in their reviews. We only expect to review one more, Mitsubishi's ballyhooed laser TV, before year's end. Reader interest seems to be waning considerably for non-flat-panel televisions; I receive very few e-mails from people who want an RPTV reviewed compared with those clamoring for another plasma or LCD. I wouldn't call RPTV "dead" just yet, but it's more of an endangered species than ever. I'll put it this way: I don't expect to review more than a couple of these bulky behemoths in 2009.

What do you think? Do love your RPTV? If you're a big-screen shopper, is the price of a 58-inch plasma worth it, or is it projection all the way?