When the average consumer hears “Mitsubishi” their first thought is usually their automotive division.
While Mitsubishi has been manufacturing quality, reliable cars since 1917, their company has been around much longer and has been in various different markets.
They have made everything from rockets and fighter planes to TVs and touchless hand dryers in their 150 years as a corporation.
While there are still Mitsubishi TVs in circulation today, the largest trading company in Japan decided it was in their best interest to cease production of their TVs and focus their attention elsewhere.
So, what happened?
Mitsubishi had defined themselves as a powerhouse of a corporation since their formation in 1870 and decided to try their hand in the home entertainment industry.
They decided to focus on two different types of technology for their televisions, the first being LCD and the second DLP.
A DLP system uses what is called a DMD (digital micromirror device) chip. This handy little thing is composed of over a million microscopic mirrors, also known as pixels. This paired with a lamp and a color wheel produces a high-quality image that is then projected onto the screen.
Now, the flatscreen industry was slowly gaining traction and Mitsubishi thought that eventually, the DLP technology would reign supreme.
So, they put all their eggs into the DLP basket with hopes that their prediction was correct.
Now, while these units had their upsides, the industry slowly began to move towards cheaper alternatives that would produce an equivalent picture.
Quickly the industry began to shift to different and new technology like LED, LCD, Plasma, and eventually QLED. As previously mentioned, Mitsubishi did produce LCDs as well but pooled most of their resources into forwarding and improving their DLP models.
While they were continuing to work on and push for the DLP technology to take over, their competition was not only improving the technology of the flatscreen TV but was drastically cutting their prices as the cost of manufacturing the units began to drop.
This left Mitsubishi with a tough decision, either:
- Completely change the direction and look of a massive portion of their electronics division, or
- Sell the remaining stock of their televisions and chalk it up to a lesson learned.
In the end, they decided it would be best for them to bow out of the home theater industry and stifle any further loss. They did continue to work on their LCD technology, only turning their attention to a more commercial application.
Were they any good?
There is an extremely positive review of the Mitsubishi televisions among its owners.
Although they aren’t without their shortcomings, such as:
- Viewers experiencing the “rainbow effect”
- Not being as thin as their LCD counterpart
- Having to replace the lamp too frequently
- A reduced viewing angle
- Hearing an overly noisy fan
While these are definitely unpleasant symptoms to encounter, no television is without its issue.
The overwhelming response to the TVs made by Mitsubishi was that they produced a superior picture while having the ability to maintain said quality for years as long as they were maintained properly.
This means that as long as you continued to do regular upkeep on your unit, i.e. making sure to change your lamp when its hours ran thin, then you could have an exceptional picture quality for the lifespan of your TV.
On the topic of lifespan, we ask the question:
How long do they last?
While the lifespan of any flatscreen TV is difficult to tell and definitely changes as the technology continues to get better, Mitsubishi has done quite well with building a TV that will last (specifically their DLP’s).
As with any device in your home theater set, you want to do any regular upkeep as diligently as possible.
Where the DLP sets are different from an LCD or plasma television is the amount of easily interchangeable components.
Yes, these parts do cost you money, but by removing a few screws you are easily able to replace the color wheel and the lamp of your rear-projection set, quite possibly extending its life by years.
This should also return the quality of the picture back to that of yesteryear.
Now, as long as the parts you can’t replace continue to operate in good condition, the lifespan of your DLP Mitsubishi should be ample.
There are numerous accounts from the home theater community of an old Mitsubishi TV lasting someone 15 – 20 years. The owner simply did the regular maintenance and reported little deterioration of quality.
Now their LCD models are not necessarily worse than the DLPs or inferior to other LCDs of the same generation, they just seem to fall to the same fate that any other LCD television does.
The technology becomes outdated or internally after tens of thousands of hours the television begins to develop problems.
This being said, expect the same amount of hours out of an LCD from any other manufacturer as you would from one made by Mitsubishi.
That being roughly 60,000 to 85,000 hours.
Can I still buy a DLP television?
Unfortunately, when Mitsubishi called it quits on the DLP television and decided to stop producing them, this marked the end for this technology in TVs.
They did continue to offer support and honor warranties when they stopped production, so this didn’t leave any current owners stranded, but anyone interested in this type of technology would have to get it second-hand.
If you are really itching to get your hands on this technology, the home theater community hasn’t given up on it completely and you can still purchase DLP projectors.
The technology seems to excel in projectors delivering a crisp image, with a good response time, and without the need for any filters. Watch for this technology to continue to grow in the projection community.
While Mitsubishi has made themselves a force in numerous industries, they failed to succeed in supplying a sustainable television.
Whether refusing to follow the obvious trend of the industry, putting all their resources into a nonviable technology or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the home theater game wasn’t for them.
Both Mitsubishi and technological advancements and improvements will continue to thrive, they just won’t be doing it together and slowly but surely a television made by Mitsubishi will become a thing of the past.