Mitsubishi Joins the Laser-TV Club

February 16th, 2006

At a news conference held in Amagasaki, Japan yesterday, Mitsubishi Electric President Tamotsu Nomakuchi said his company had developed the world’s first rear-projection TV that uses a laser as its light source, according to a report from Kyodo News International.

Ken Werner
Senior Analyst and Editor
of HDTV Retailer

You can’t buy a rear-projection laser TV yet, of course. Nomakuchi set his company’s target for a mass-produced commercial product at two years from now. “That’s realistic”, says Matt Brennesholtz, a Sr. Analyst at Insight Media and the principle author of the 2006 Laser Projection Report. ” The gating factor is the cost of the lasers, and in two years it will be possible to make a 52-inch rear-projection laser TV for only a couple of hundred dollars more than one based on UHP lamps (today’s standard) or LEDs.” Nomakuchi’s comments made it clear that cost reduction is very much on Mitsubishi’s corporate mind, as is the need to reduce the size of the power supply.

Since what Mitsubishi has now is a technology demonstrator and not a product, its “world’s first” claim is open to challenge. In fact, in a company suite at CES 2006, laser maker Novalux showed rear-projection laser-TV demonstrators based on 3LCD and DLP technologies, and the company has also made an LCOS-based demonstrator. A Novalux representative said that three of the company’s customers, which he would not name, were also showing demonstrators in Las Vegas suites.

So, although the “world’s first” designation requires some careful definition, like the first public showing, this public announcement from a major company can’t help but add to the growing momentum of laser television.