I continue to be a believer in rear projection HDTV, as I think it offers the best value in large screen technology for the average home installation. And these HDTVs can produce some of the best images you’ll see from any technology. A lot of people dismiss rear projection out of hand, but it’s still a significant portion of the market. According to figures from Pacific Media Associates at the Projection Summit 2007 in Anaheim last week, rear projection accounted for 17% of the 25.6 million displays sold worldwide in 2006 that were capable of displaying an image 40″ or larger. (If you take out the front projectors from this calculation, the share jumps to more than 21%.)
Sony clearly recognizes that there’s life in the rear projection market, and the company is betting that the high-end buyers are going to agree. Sony’s SXRD version of LCoS imager technology has an excellent reputation for picture quality, and earlier this month, the company announced five new models. Three new models are in the A3000 line in 50″, 55″ and 60″ sizes: the KDS-50A3000, KDS-55A3000, and KDS-60A3000. According to Sony, these are about 20 percent slimmer than last year’s models, which address one of the key complaints about rear projection models. The 60″ KDS-Z60XBR5 and 70″ KDS-Z70XBR5 have been squeezed even harder, at 40 percent thinner than last year’s models, without an increase in height.
All five models have 1080p resolution, and support 120Hz frame rates. One big advantage of the higher frame rate is that it is an even multiple of 24Hz, so no pull-down conversion is required for 24 fps source signals. These new models are not inexpensive, as their estimated pricing shows:
The A3000 models are scheduled to ship in August, and the XBR5 models later this fall.