Sony decides to dump money-losing rear-projection TVs

The technology that spurred the big-screen television phenomenon among consumers took another step towards oblivion on Thursday.

Sony has been losing money on rear-projection televisions for quite a while, as consumers opt for the smaller form factors of LCD and plasma sets. In a statement this morning, the company said it would focus on LCD and OLED televisions from here on out.

About 400,000 rear-projection sets are expected to be sold this year, down significantly from the 1.1 million sold in 2006. In contrast, some 10 million LCD TV's are expected to ship, much higher than the 6.3 million sold a year ago.

Decisions like this highlight Sony's continuing effort to rid itself of money-losing ventures in an effort to bring itself back in to steady financial ground. Led by its efforts to continue selling rear-projection TVs, the television division lost nearly a half-billion dollars over the six months ending in September.

Worldwide, consumers will likely not notice the disappearance of Sony from this market, as all but 15 percent of rear-projection televisions are sold here in the United States. LCD TVs have taken off as both competition and the diving cost of parts have allowed companies to lower prices to a point that is affordable by the average consumer.

Other companies have already bid adieu to the technology, including Hitachi, which quit the market earlier this year, and Seiko Epson, which announced its withdrawal earlier this month.

The last rear-projection televisions from Sony are slated to roll off the production lines in February, according to published reports.

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