Last month, I attended a press event hosted by Sharp, at which they unveiled their new 65-inch Aquos LCD 1080p HDTV: the LC-65D. It was gorgeous, and it will be available for a list price of about $21,000. As impressive as it was, the impact was reduced by the fact that I had just come from a Sony event where they announced new products, including a 60-inch rear-projection 1080p television — the KDS-R60XBR1 — using Sony’s SXRD LCoS chips. The image also looked wonderful.
The problem is that you can buy four of the Sony displays for the price of a single one of the Sharp panels. And the images are on a par with each other. In fact, the Sony even has some advantages in terms of image quality. The main drawback is that the Sony case is deeper than the Sharp panel, but unless you’re hanging the display on a wall, that really doesn’t make much difference.
The fact is that air is free, and glass isn’t. The incremental cost of making a larger rear-projection model is far less than the increase for a direct-view LCD. As a result, I expect that rear-projection displays are going to maintain a significant cost-advantage over direct view LCD and plasma, for at least the time being.