Numerous sources are reporting that Mitsubishi has announced the pricing for the 65″ model of its new Laser TV, recently branded “Laservue”. The rear projection 1080p design is slated to ship by “the end of the third quarter” — (“Really, Seth? Really, Amy!”) — so we’ve only got to wait a few more weeks . And when it gets here, you’ll be able to buy one for $6,999.
Huh?!? This is the new design that is supposed to save rear projection televisions from the technology scrap heap. Eliminate the expensive micro arc lamp and replace it with solid state lasers that sip electricity and make a big beautiful image using fewer expensive optical components than other rear projection models. And instead of using all that expensive glass and liquid crystal stuff found in flat panels, the box is fill mostly with air, which is free.
So how does this end up costing more than a 65″ plasma, or even LCD? You can find 65″ Sharp AQUOS LCD and Panasonic plasma models selling for less than $4,000. Mitsubishi’s own standard DLP rear projection 65″ model is selling at Best Buy for $1,899. Most American consumers won’t buy a rear projection HDTV even if you deep fat fry it and coat it with Krispy Kreme glaze. How does Mitsubishi expect to sell any of these laser models at such a premium price?
The fact is that they will sell a few units to technology fans who want the latest and coolest technology, but that will be it. Instead of being the model that brings the rear projection market back to life, I expect this will be the boat anchor that sends the market segment down for the third time. Look for Laservue models to start showing up at Tiger and Frye’s in February.