RP HDTV: Not Quite Gone

CompUSA.com sent out an email yesterday advertising some sale specials. The lead item was a 61″ 120 Hz 1080p HDTV on sale for $1,099.99. This is no off-brand product; it’s from Samsung. It’s ready to display 3D images, such as movies or video games. And it’s not a refurbished return; it’s got a full factory warranty. And it’s a 2008 model with up-to-date electronics. So what’s the catch? There’s no catch; it’s simply a DLP rear-projection HDTV.

Rear projection HDTVs like the Samsung HL61A650 still represent great bargains.

For the price of what some 40″ LCD HDTVs sell for these days, you can get one that is about twice the size in terms of display area. And this model is only about 14″ deep, which is not much different than the stands for a 60″ flat panel. But Americans refuse to buy rear-projection displays. Now that we’re seeing a slowdown in flat panel sales (and hoping to avoid a screeching halt), it will be even harder to sell a rear-projection model. If you can find one, you can expect to be able to negotiate a great bargain. Many people don’t buy an HDTV big enough for the viewing distance in their room, and rear-projection models are the most cost-effective route to a big screen.

How big an HDTV do you need? Is a rear-projection set right for you? Find the answers in Professor Poor’s Guide to Buying HDTV, now available in paperback from Amazon or other fine booksellers.