In a press release, the display market research firm Pacific Media Associates (I work for this company) reported that in January rear projection HDTV unit sales increased 1.5% over December’s sales figures. That may not seem like much, but compare it with the 20% drop in sales of flat panel HDTVs: LCD and plasma. Texas Instruments’ DLP technology remained dominant, expanding its share of the rear projection market to 70%.
What happened? Online retailers offered LG models at deep discounts, which helped boost the sales figures. Close outs of some 55″ to 59″ 720p models caused prices for that segment to plummet nearly 40%. Still, it was the 60″ to 69″ 1080p segment that was the most popular, with almost 21% of the market.
It’s too early to tell, but there may be other forces at work. As the market for HDTVs expands, it’s likely that the new buyers may be more price sensitive than the early adopters have been. And I also suspect that we’re on the cusp of people starting to buy their second HDTV. And realizing that the first one they bought was too small for their viewing distance, they are now opting for larger screens. Both of these factors favor the choice of rear projection models.
Rear projection HDTV remains a small fraction of the total market compared with plasma and LCD, but the January figures show that there is still life in the segment, and it may be poised to grow even further.