Last year Mitsubishi exited the rear-projection TV market, which was sad given that it was the only company keeping RPTV alive at that point. Now, via TWICE, comes word that Mitsubishi has shut down its front projection and LCD TV divisions to concentrate on commercial video walls, which are one of the few bright spots in the display business right now.
According to the story, a few people will be retained through the end of the year to clear out existing inventory, but after that, it’s lights out for a company that used to be huge in the HDTV market. Literally. Mitsubishi was always a big player in the RPTV category (in fact, editor Dennis Burger’s first HDTV was a colossal Mitsubishi RPTV), and near the end of its run it created some truly gargantuan rear-projection displays. But the market moved on, wanting flat panels instead of floor standers, and unfortunately Mitsubishi couldn’t refocus fast enough to keep its head above water. So if you liked Mitsubishi’s gear, I’d watch big resellers and liquidators for some serious discounts between now and the holiday buying season.
From the story at TWICE:
“We have been sustaining significant losses for a number of years now,” [Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America marketing VP James] Chan continued. “Our CEO back in Japan has a philosophy that we have to make strong businesses stronger and in turn cut off businesses that are not making money and affecting the profitability of the stronger businesses.”
The wind-down will be gradual, Chan confirmed, adding that “each region of the world has inventory to sell through so we basically are existing now to sell through what’s left.”
Don’t bother browsing mitsubishi-tv.com for details on the company’s most recent models, though; it’s practically a ghost town.
It’s a weird time for the TV market, to be sure. First Toshiba outsourced most of its TV production, Panasonic is dumping plasma, and now this. It’s sad to see all the classic Japanese brands having such a hard time of it, because there are a lot of great memories tied up in their gear. Here’s to the memories.