Sony has confirmed to Tech.co.uk that it is to discontinue making rear-projection HDTVs and concentrate solely on LCD, plasma and OLED TV technologies.
The Sony ranges affected are the 3-LCD and SXRD rear projection series. These are not for sale in Europe, so the decision only affects the US market. However, select retail outlets in the US have already been informed that once current stock runs out there will be no replacements.
Commenting on the decision Sylvia Shin, head of corporate PR for Sony Europe told Tech.co.uk that the decision had been made due to a surge of demand for Sony flat-panel technology: "There is huge demand for Sony Bravia flat-panel products in the US. This decision is about Sony focussing its resources to meet that demand and satisfy consumer expectations."
The move does make sense, despite Sony occupying a strong position within the rear-projection market. According to US market research firm NPD, sales of rear projection TVs are in sharp decline, with a drop of nearly 50 per cent percent between 2006 and 2007 from 3.1million sets in 2006 to 1.6million in 2007. NPD forecasts sales will fall even further to 660,000 units.
Another factor in Sony's decision could well be the immense costs involved with developing OLED technology. However, according to Sylvia Shin, this isn't the case at all: "Sony is committed to investing in future technologies, as was demonstrated with the launch of the XEL-1 OLED TV in Japan earlier this month."
One thing seems certain though. With a major player like Sony pulling out, others will certainly follow. It would appear that rear projection technology is destined to follow analogue TV into the void of yesteryear.