Hitachi Drops Rear Projection

Hitachi announced yesterday that they will drop their rear projection product line, so that they can focus more on their flat panel HDTV business. The company will offer 10 plasma models and four 1080p LCD models. The LCDs will come in 42″ and 47″ sizes, while the plasma models will range from 42″ to 60″ sizes.

The company also announced their new 60″ P60X901 ($7,999 list) and 50″ P50X901 ($4,299 list) 1080i plasma displays that are scheduled to ship in August, and sell through specialty A/V dealers.

Hitachi is not one of the major players in the HDTV market, but they have backed all three approaches — rear projection, plasma, and LCD — for many years. Given the weaker performance of rear projection, it makes some sense that the company would focus its efforts. The flat panel segment is extremely competitive, however, and this conservative strategy may not be successful in the long run. We’re already seeing signs of consolidation in the flat panel manufacturing business, and it is increasingly difficult to get distribution and shelf space for all the brands that are on the market. Companies at Hitachi’s level will have to be nimble and creative to survive the pressure applied by the larger and smaller companies.

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