Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mitsubishi Drops Bulky DLP TVs: End of an Era

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the like-a-slightly-warm-rock dept.

Displays 95

An anonymous reader writes "Mitsubishi was the last hold-out in the big-screen rear-projection display business after Samsung left the category in 2009. Now Mitsubishi has dropped the dinosaur. Every big-brand CE manufacturer got their start in the big-TV business via rear projection sets from CRT to DLP to LCoS, eventually replacing them with modern-day flat screens. Mitsubishi did develop LCD flat-screens for a time, but dropped out of that market to focus on rear DLPs after Samsung gave it a monopoly. The author, a CE editor, takes a nostalgic and amusing look at her 15 years with three Mitsu rear pros, the only big-screen TV she's known."

cancel ×

95 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That's interesting, but... (0)

Luke727 (547923) | about 2 years ago | (#42157003)

...tits or gtfo.

DLP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157059)

Seriously? I didn't realize DLP's were still manufactured/sold. Go Mitsubishi!

Re:DLP (1)

blitzd (613596) | about 2 years ago | (#42157067)

Didn't realize I wasn't logged in. I am not a coward!

Re:DLP (3, Informative)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42157119)

Seriously? I didn't realize DLP's were still manufactured/sold. Go Mitsubishi!

I've got one, unless you're in a location without sufficient space or money is no object they're great. 1080p, 3d support, great appearance, 65". Couldn't come close to that with any other product out there for the $800 it cost brand new.

Re:DLP (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42157165)

Yeah, as long as you can sit directly in front, they do work pretty great. Had one for years. Too big to haul away, so I sold it with the house when I moved.

But its nice to actually be able to see what you are eating and drinking in a Sports Pub these days without them having to dim the lights just so that people can see the rear projections screens mounted like a sword of Damocles over the bar. The modern bright LED screens do so much better in such places.

Re:DLP (3, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#42157293)

Yeah, as long as you can sit directly in front, they do work pretty great. Had one for years. Too big to haul away, so I sold it with the house when I moved.

Too big to haul away? My 60" DLP was 90 lbs and and about 15" deep at the deepest point. One guy could lift it by himself, although it was a lot less awkward with two.

The average dining room table, love seat, recliner, dresser... is far more difficult to move.

As for viewing angles? They were fine; you could sit anywhere in the room and see it just fine. The only bad viewing angle was if you were too high looking at a substantial downward angle which would only be a problem if you sat on a baby's high-chair 2 feet away from it.

But its nice to actually be able to see what you are eating and drinking in a Sports Pub these days without them having to dim the lights just so that people can see the rear projections screens mounted like a sword of Damocles over the bar.

For sure, the thin/flat superbright plasmas and LCD/LED screens are far better suited to that mounting arrangement.

But unless there's an actual game on I just wish they'd turn the fuckers off. They are annoying distractions. If they were just in dedicated sports pubs it wouldn't be a problem, but they seem to be everywhere these days. Family restaurants, fast food restaurants, and so on, the volume is turned off, the content is just mindless drivel -- bowling and tennis highlights, commercials for gum... Nobody wants to watch this crap, but its bright and shiny and it moves so your eyes are drawn to them.

Re:DLP (3, Interesting)

Loopy (41728) | about 2 years ago | (#42157459)

Yeah, as long as you can sit directly in front, they do work pretty great. Had one for years. Too big to haul away, so I sold it with the house when I moved.

Too big to haul away? My 60" DLP was 90 lbs and and about 15" deep at the deepest point. One guy could lift it by himself, although it was a lot less awkward with two.

The average dining room table, love seat, recliner, dresser... is far more difficult to move.

Same here. Even the 83" my parents have isn't a big deal for two people.

As for viewing angles? They were fine; you could sit anywhere in the room and see it just fine. The only bad viewing angle was if you were too high looking at a substantial downward angle which would only be a problem if you sat on a baby's high-chair 2 feet away from it.

Agreed. So far, I have better luck with good off-axis viewing on my DLPs than any LCD I've seen yet. Then again, I didn't buy sucky DLPs. ;)

But its nice to actually be able to see what you are eating and drinking in a Sports Pub these days without them having to dim the lights just so that people can see the rear projections screens mounted like a sword of Damocles over the bar.

For sure, the thin/flat superbright plasmas and LCD/LED screens are far better suited to that mounting arrangement.

Not to mention that most of the DLPs were using bulbs way past their service life and lenses that had been in a smoke-filled bar their entire lives. (Ever seen a lung? Yeah, lenses are worse.) There are some bars up here that have old LCDs and they're worse even than the old DLPs.

Re:DLP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157905)

Mine runs LEDs. No bulb. Samsung and Mitsubishi only made a couple models of these but they kick butt. It is amazing how many people talk about how thin their very heavy LCD displays are. You can't sit two feet from these big screens so the depth is a trivial issue. They are also all air so they are very light.

DLP performance is excellent and it is disappoint that I will have to go with another technology if I ever replace mine. It will cost a lot more though falling prices may make it practical if the LEDs ever run out.

Re:DLP (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42159711)

I know it's an anecdote, but my neighbor's display has developed a bunch of stuck pixels in 3 years or so. Annoying. I don't know if that's a common issue, though. It used TI's original chipset, I don't know if it was licensed to other parties though, so that may be a moot point.

Re:DLP (1)

netringer (319831) | about 2 years ago | (#42165157)

I know it's an anecdote, but my neighbor's display has developed a bunch of stuck pixels in 3 years or so. Annoying. I don't know if that's a common issue, though. It used TI's original chipset, I don't know if it was licensed to other parties though, so that may be a moot point.

I've got the same problem on my 73" Mitsu DLP. The "acne" is a common problem due to a run of bad DLP chips. The mirrors stick. You can replace the DLP chip for $159 http://www.shopjimmy.com/samsung-mitsubishi-toshiba-4719-001997-dlp-chip.htm [shopjimmy.com]

I still love my DLP and I'm tempted to get a bigger one when they get even cheaper.

Re:DLP (1)

gspear (1166721) | about 2 years ago | (#42158347)

I have the first generation 1080p DLP from Samsung (HLR series). It has its rough spots -- no 1080p input over HDMI (only VGA), 1:1 pixel setting needs to be set in Service Menu at every power up -- but it it's still working well and I can't really justify getting rid of it yet. I replaced the bulb once because it was getting dim. I replaced the color wheel after it shattered but the replacement was about $100 and the procedure wasn't too complicated.

Re:DLP (1)

Loopy (41728) | about 2 years ago | (#42162323)

Good point about DLPs being much more "user-serviceable" than current flat-screens. I think the bulb replacement part on my 61" Samsung is down to about $35 now and takes about 5 minutes.

Re:DLP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157831)

Yeah, as long as you can sit directly in front, they do work pretty great. Had one for years. Too big to haul away, so I sold it with the house when I moved.

Too big to haul away? My 60" DLP was 90 lbs and and about 15" deep at the deepest point.

I bet he didn't notice the difference between the old fashioned "rear projection" and DLP rear projection. Those old ones could be several hundred pounds, and were freaking huge.

Re:DLP (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42159695)

Agreed. I've disassembled my neighbor's old one that had a bunch of stuck pixels. It's a fairly lightweight construction, the TV is pretty much an empty plastic box with a bit of hardware at the bottom. The center of mass is very low. I'd argue the model in question (I forget what it was) was a bit on the light side and was easy to tip over in spite of having this very low center of mass. It felt like 60lbs at most.

Re:DLP (1)

Garybaldy (1233166) | about 2 years ago | (#42158527)

I don't believe you have ever looked at a DLP. As you are stating problems that were common with rear projection that i have never seen on DLP's.

FYI: I work in the AV field

Re:DLP (1)

Tore S B (711705) | about 2 years ago | (#42162157)

Yeah, as long as you can sit directly in front, they do work pretty great. Had one for years. Too big to haul away, so I sold it with the house when I moved.

But its nice to actually be able to see what you are eating and drinking in a Sports Pub these days without them having to dim the lights just so that people can see the rear projections screens mounted like a sword of Damocles over the bar. The modern bright LED screens do so much better in such places.

You're likely comparing these to CRT rear-projection TVs, which were indeed dark - but that's apples and oranges. A DLP rear-projection TV is very bright even in normal lighting. It's essentially a high-quality DLP video projector with a built-in reflector and projection target.

Re:DLP (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42159685)

The screen brightness leaves a lot to be desired, IMHO. Personally, the only good thing ever to have come from those monsters is, well, monster Fresnel lenses. Good for melting concrete and such.

Re:DLP (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | about 2 years ago | (#42159875)

>they're great. 1080p, 3d support, great appearance, 65".

They weren't even making them that small anymore.... 73" 82" and 92" are the choices now [amazon.com] .

Re:DLP (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#42161231)

But with the bottom falling out on the LCDs its just a matter of time before its not worth doing which is why everybody else bailed and Mitsubishi is bailing now. Each year the cheapies go up a size, last year it was 32 inch, this year 37-42 inch, next year i wouldn't be surprised to see 50 inch at under $400.

That said back in the days of the CRTs you were hot shit if you had a projection, everybody used to pile in our house for big games just so they could watch our 50 inch Toshiba, sure they weren't HD back then but it was a hell of a lot nicer to watch.

Re:DLP (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 years ago | (#42162627)

A friend of mine has a 62" Mitsubishi DLP. While the viewing angle is fine, it's only 1080i, has no 3d support, is huge and requires 2 people to move. It's not that heavy, just big. Also, the marketing team WAY over estimated the lamp life. We end up changing the bulb every 2-3 years. It's not that it outright fails, but that as it enters middle age, it gets too dark to be useful, and it's in my friend's basement that is nearly lightless all the time.

I purchased a Samsung DLP in 2007 with an LED backlight, and it has never dimmed. I think this one will last me for at least 15 years.

Re:TLAs (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#42162329)

I don't know what DLPs are, or were.

Sony A3000 ftw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157095)

I still have my LCOS based Sony KDS-55A3000. Best rear projection ever made and puts modern LCD's and Plasmas to shame. No lag, no trailing, no burn-in, nothing. Replace a lamp every couple years and its as good as new.

CES2001 (2)

matty619 (630957) | about 2 years ago | (#42157099)

I don't think I ever fully realized how long ago 2001 was until I just saw that picture in the slide show of a giant hulking DLP TV "featured" at CES.

CE? (1)

lemur3 (997863) | about 2 years ago | (#42157113)

hey! editors.. why not make some sense of these summaries..

Re:CE? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42157303)

I think it means "consumer electronics", but I agree it's an odd place for an acronym.

Good riddance (0)

MoronGames (632186) | about 2 years ago | (#42157115)

DLP and all other rear projection televisions are a constant source of problems for purchasers, who are often confused and talked into buying things that they don't want by unscrupulous salespeople looking to make a quick buck. The Mitsubishi televisions specifically have had numerous issues with their circuit boards, on top of the short life of their expensive bulbs. I'm sure nobody will miss these DLP units.

Re:Good riddance (1)

matty619 (630957) | about 2 years ago | (#42157133)

The author of the article mentions that they never had to change a bulb for the entire 10 year or so tenure of their first DLP...but maybe quality went down.

Re:Good riddance (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42157321)

Consumer Reports did a test in the mid-2000s and found about 5000 hours per bulb on average. How long that is depends on how many hours a day you keep the TV on...

Re:Good riddance (1)

zwede (1478355) | about 2 years ago | (#42158537)

Consumer Reports did a test in the mid-2000s and found about 5000 hours per bulb on average. How long that is depends on how many hours a day you keep the TV on...

Guess I got lucky. My Samsung DLP (HLN series) is from 2004. 11,000 hours on the original bulb and still works fine. Haven't had a single problem with this TV.

Re:Good riddance (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42159719)

Change the bulb and you'll know what you're missing brightness-wise :)

Re:Good riddance (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#42157329)

There is a light bulb somewhere in a fire station that has been on for over a hundred years. The thing is, projectors' light bulbs (which is what this is) have a life span of ~2000 hours. Nothing you can do about it or you should get a set of LED's as a light source (which brings it's own issues in manufacturing and image quality).

Re:Good riddance (1)

karnal (22275) | about 2 years ago | (#42157569)

Samsung had an LED light engine for their DLP sets for a while - and I had looked at them heavily; they seemed like a really good idea. I think however there were moderate issues with light engines failing - and that probably spurred their exit.

Re:Good riddance (not) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157917)

Our family has two of the Samsung LED DLP sets. They are great and I don't anticipate having to ever replace the LEDs. Display quality is excellent and I even play 3D games on it. Needs an adapter for that because there was no 3D standard when they came out and the one they chose was not what wound up being the standard.

Re:Good riddance (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#42157673)

To be fair that 100 year old bulb runs at 4w and barely emits any light [ledhut.co.uk] .

Re:Good riddance (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#42157837)

It's the Centennial Light.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157155)

DLP and all other rear projection televisions are a constant source of problems for purchasers, who are often confused and talked into buying things that they don't want by unscrupulous salespeople looking to make a quick buck. The Mitsubishi televisions specifically have had numerous issues with their circuit boards, on top of the short life of their expensive bulbs. I'm sure nobody will miss these DLP units.

DLPs are awesome, dude. You can get yourself a 80 or even 90 inch TV for relatively cheap. And honestly, screen size is the single most important feature in a TV. You can debate how deep your blacks are all day long, but put a bigger TV next to your previous best choice, and it automatically feels like it's nicer.

Re:Good riddance (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 2 years ago | (#42157343)

Are huge TVs a US thing? I never saw a DLP TV in anyone's home, only at trade shows.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157495)

Everyone I know has a > 38 inch screen. I knew one person that had a small screen, but they upgraded to a 38. Everyone else I know has at least 40, even my grandparents.

Re:Good riddance (1)

zwede (1478355) | about 2 years ago | (#42158555)

Are huge TVs a US thing? I never saw a DLP TV in anyone's home, only at trade shows.

Bigger rooms, bigger TVs. I grew up in Europe before moving to the US and living rooms were much smaller than typical US living rooms. A 50" TV is pretty much the minimum around here.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42158607)

Despite the other replies, it's not as if every single American owns a super-large TV. I get by with only a 32" LCD. Where it sits in my apartment, I could probably go up to 40" before it would start looking out of place. But until my current 4 year old LCD drops dead (and it shows no sign of trouble at all), I have no plans to replace it.

Re:Good riddance (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42158665)

Are huge TVs a US thing? I never saw a DLP TV in anyone's home, only at trade shows.

Maybe so. I don't know a single person with less than a 40" with the exception of my father. He's still using a 19" tube.

Re:Good riddance (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#42159553)

Yes, big TVs are a big deal in the US. Size Matters over everything else. That means that some people even buy TVs that are too big for their room.

But size was one reason DLP was never on my list of choices. The footprint for a 42" TV is something like 8 square feet of floor space, and I just don't have that big of a house. A flat panel hangs on the wall, nicely out of the way.

Re:Good riddance (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 2 years ago | (#42163039)

That means that some people even buy TVs that are too big for their room.

Eh. Actually most guides for TV size overstate the distance to the TV based on TV size.

Start watching TV in the center seat. If you can see anything outside the TV without turning your head, your TV is too small for the room. There is such a thing as too big for a room, but that's only if you have to turn your head in order to follow what's going on at the edges of the screen.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157975)

Relatively cheap? Dude... You can usually find these curb shopping! (As in free - if you can take it!) Either somebody upgrades to a not-so-bulky flatscreen, or they lost the manual (or didn't RTFM) and the projector bulb burns out in which case they still replace their "broken" TV with a newer flatscreen. It's even better if they leave the remote with it when they chuck it.

Provided it didn't get all smashed up when dumped at the curb, most you'll need to do is replace the projector bulb. If you're lucky the bulb won't be proprietary and you can find your replacement at the office supply store in the aisle where they keep projectors. That way you can get up and running in the same day. Otherwise it's a bit of shopping online.

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42158179)

Pure FUD. One model had a bad color wheel and that was 5 years ago, every manufacturer has a dude now and then. The bulbs are $99-109 shipped directly from Mitsubishi parts department and they are rated for 5000 hours. I swapped my original bulb after 8500 hours only because it was getting noticeably dark. When properly setup, the quality on them is awesome. I paid $1150 for my 73in three years ago, an equal sized LCD or plasma would have set me back about $10-15k. A 50in or a 60in of any type of TV tech is not even close in size and experience.
If you have the room for them, the newer models were awesome.

Re:Good riddance (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 2 years ago | (#42158253)

> on top of the short life of their expensive bulbs

WTF are you talking about? I have a Mitsubishi WD-62627 (62", bought in early 2008). It's still on its original bulb, but I finally bought a spare 2 months ago just so I wouldn't have to wait for a replacement when the day finally came. I paid about $40, and got it from Amazon.

Putting it in perspective, my "fragile and expensive bulb" with allegedly-short life has lasted about twice as long as roughly 1/3 of the LCD TVs my friends and family members have purchased over the past 4 years. Most of the LCD TVs sold in America are total and complete garbage, made with parts that die and fail within 2-3 years, and can't be meaningfully repaired because everything in them is proprietary, specific to one or two models, and probably costs more as a replacement part than an entire comparable new TV.

Re:Good riddance (1)

toddestan (632714) | about 2 years ago | (#42159803)

Most of the LCD TVs sold in America are total and complete garbage, made with parts that die and fail within 2-3 years, and can't be meaningfully repaired because everything in them is proprietary, specific to one or two models, and probably costs more as a replacement part than an entire comparable new TV.

Actually, I've had pretty good luck repairing LCD TVs. More often than not it's a bad capacitor. Usually the hardest part is getting the things apart without marring the case too much as most are clearly designed to never be serviced. I won't disagree that the quality is still garbage - having leaking capacitors on 3-4 year TVs in 2012 is inexcusable, and Samsung is a huge offender here.

We already don't miss them (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 2 years ago | (#42159435)

The first Air-Traffic Control Tower simulator I helped build used 9 73" Mitsubishi rear-projection DLPs. They weren't our first choice, but we didn't get the funding we asked for so it was either settle or get nothing.
They were awful for our purposes, except in one key factor: price. The image quality was bad: fuzzy, low contrast, inconsistent colors between displays. Their mirrors were fragile! I think we lost two displays to broken mirrors eventually. They were also prone to bending, and not well calibrated, often with significant overdraw, meaning we had to hand-tweak view frustums for each display to line up the image. And if a display was ever moved or jostled, we had to do it again.
I've seen people claim (in these comments!) that off-center viewing was better on these DLPs than on LCDs... They must have been using some other brand, because the Mitsubishi sets were just as bad as any LCDs we own. In addition, the image became darker and unfocused if you got closer to the televisions than 10ft, which was completely counter-intuitive for Controllers who were new to the system...
Like I said, though, the price couldn't be beat. We built a 270-degree system with 9 displays, at a price of something like $2400/display. Even five years later, when we built a new system out of bezel-less LCD panels, it took 24 60" NEC LCD panels at a price of $5-6k/panel to build a 288-degree system comparable to our original setup.
The NEC panels look a hell of a lot better, though, there's no comparison there...

Re:We already don't miss them (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42159731)

It'd have been cheaper to put up a cylindrical screen and point a couple projectors at it. You can get a heck of a bright system for the cost of those LCD panels...

Re:We already don't miss them (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 2 years ago | (#42170183)

Projection systems require space for throw-distance, or expensive first-surface mirrors. That adds cost. And they're a maintenance nightmare. Plus the cost of a good screen. Good, bright projectors are also usually in the $20k-$50k range.

Really, projectors weren't an option. There is literally only one inch of clearance between the wall and two of the screens in the room we built the first system in. We had to build something that fit in the space we had been provided.

At the end of the day, we got nine "acceptable" displays for less than the price of one good projector, mirror, and screen.

Hmmmm (1)

blackicye (760472) | about 2 years ago | (#42157137)

Why make rear projection TVs when you can just omit all the bulky injection molded plastics and just manufacture HD DLP Projectors! :D

Re:Hmmmm (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#42157595)

The market for putting a box in the corner of the room is far larger than the market for people who build a dark projection room or people who can tolerate a contrast ratio in the double digits.

Rear projection TVs never had a perfect diffuser. If you sat in front of them they were far brighter than any normal projector would ever be. You could actually watch them during the day while direct sunlight was shining on the TV. There's a hell of a lot of houses where a projector would be absolutely useless during the day.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#42158211)

I have an old Sony CRT rear projector. Off axis viewing was greatly improved by removing the shiny smoked plastic front layer in the diffuser.

And I think the thing about DLP front projectors is that you can shove a lot more light through them than you can LCD projectors, or the old CRT projectors.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#42166745)

The old CRT RPTV can still produce the best picture in terms of colour and motion blur as long as they are calibrated properly. The idea of removing the protective screen is basically, everything has a life and if you damage the screen, meh, it's time for a replacement anyhow. I have a Philips on it's last legs, can't remember how old it is more than five and less than a decade, although it is likely close to the decade mark.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#42174791)

Yeah, there aren't any kids in my house, so the screen was a no-brainer. As for picture quality, I agree. It is a bitch to get calibrated even close to correct, and you can never get it to pixel-perfect, but the tradeoff is that you can't see a lot of the digital noise in a lot of content. It's much more film-like. I have no complaints. I will be disappointed when it finally gives up and I have to drag it out to the curb. I have a feeling getting something good to replace it will be a challenge.

Open the door. (0)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#42157257)

Get on the floor.

Re:Open the door. (0)

matty619 (630957) | about 2 years ago | (#42157285)

Everybody do the Dinosaur!

Re:Open the door. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#42157335)

WALK

Easiest setup in history...

crap televisions, anyhow (2)

XaXXon (202882) | about 2 years ago | (#42157313)

Many of mitsubishi's TVs had horrible electronics. I knew about a year after I bought my modle 52525 that it wasn't going to last more than about 3. Sure enough, within 3 years it was broken and mitsubishi wasn't being proactive about fixing the bad control boards.

Why companies need to save a few bucks on capacitors on a $2000 television will never make sense to me.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42157399)

Why companies need to save a few bucks on capacitors on a $2000 television will never make sense to me.

The manufacturers take cheap components that they use in cheap products and design expensive products with them. Those components, like capacitors, are often purchased in large volume. An engineer sometimes doesn't even have a better part in the database. Often the engineer doesn't even know what part will be purchased for this or that position - as long as they are all similar the buyer will make that decision. When the time comes to buy parts the PHB will always point his finger at a mountain of compatible components that is already in the cage instead of going out, researching and negotiating a new set of prices on a new part - which may have its own problems.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157739)

Basically it - think of anytime you've needed to make something in the office, and made it from what was at hand.
Add someone saying "But if we buy this part from here, we save $x".
Don't forget to add PR and lawyer area to handle the warrenty/return excueses.
Now find the balance between cost of production, and people returning products - there is a point where cheap parts (with a predicatable failure process/rate) end up making a better profit.

Hey presto, you now have either a product that could have been good failing early or a proven product suddenly turning crap.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (3, Informative)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42158131)

Now find the balance between cost of production, and people returning products - there is a point where cheap parts (with a predicatable failure process/rate) end up making a better profit.

There are many reasons why that would be the case. For example:

  • One person buys, another person witnesses the failure. Common with gifts and products installed by others.
  • Warranty documents are lost. Who saves a store receipt for three years?
  • The extended warranty scam. The customer finances the manufacturer for the failure of an item. Failures follow the bathtub curve: high in the beginning, low in the middle, high in the end. Extended warranty sells you the warranty for the middle of the curve, where the device is least likely to fail. But if it fails early the manufacturer gets paid.
  • "I must have been holding it wrong, it's all my fault!"
  • Customers who are too busy or too disorganized to timely file a warranty claim.
  • High shipping costs make warranty claims on sub-$100 items unprofitable. Cheaper to scrap the device and buy a new one.
  • The fault attributed to, or hidden by the natural wear and tear. Crack the plastic case, get no warranty even if the failure is unrelated. Other reasons to not honor the warranty.
  • Poor handling of warranty repairs. Microsoft was famous for receiving an Xbox with RROD and shipping it, without looking, as a replacement unit to another customer. Eventually some of them got thrown out of a window - sale!1!
  • Accounting tricks that use returned products to justify better tax rates.
  • Management who is only concerned with Christmas sales, no matter what happens in January.
  • Cheap parts and cheap processes that save more money that is lost on warranty claims.
  • Fly by night manufacturers who cannot be found for warranty claims.

That's just the most obvious scenarios. One could, of course, wonder why manufacturers don't want to maintain their good name. But that's because who makes TVs - LG, Sony, Samsung and a handful of other players. You are stuck with them no matter what, and they all cheat this way. You may get angry at Viewsonic and buy LG, but another customer is angry with LG and buys Viewsonic. It's like airlines - there are too few of them and they are all bad. Smaller Chinese companies simply don't care, there are enough customers for them in the world. They can also sell under any trade name you want, even if the device is made at the same factory.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42159743)

I don't know who you call a "buyer", but in any sane volume electronics manufacturing company, you'd actually have an engineer do part qualification prior to ordering anything that reaches the customer. I don't know what kind of a dysfunctional company your experience comes from, but man, if you design stuff without having a clue what exact parts will end up in the shipping product, you've got some serious organizational problems. Your production operations director or whatever that position is called should be fired ASAP.

Besides reliability, the obvious issue is that whatever compliance testing you've done on your prototypes is null and void if you do part substitutions outside of the engineering process. Usually a design subject to compliance testing is furnished with a list of acceptable substitute parts -- parts that should have been qualified for their purpose by the component engineering dept. If you deviate from that, you'll fail your UL audit/inspection.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42163087)

I don't know who you call a "buyer"

Well, here is an example. [talentvelocity.us]

you'd actually have an engineer do part qualification prior to ordering anything that reaches the customer

If the product contains 1,000 components and each can be bought from just three vendors, how many combinations do you need to test, and will the Universe be still habitable by the time you are done?

The engineer just says "100 pF, 5%, C0G, 0603, 25V, no special RF requirements." The engineer cannot possibly know where this part will come from - there are thousands of vendors who offer these parts. Price, volume, terms - they are all different. The buyer takes your requirements and buys parts that fit. He may talk to you about some rare or special components, but common passives are not what you'd want to be bothered with. What can you possibly say for Stackpole vs. Panasonic? Do you plan to open a scientific research into the differences? I don't know where you work so that the engineer does the parts, but in companies that I worked for this is plain impossible.

whatever compliance testing you've done on your prototypes is null and void if you do part substitutions outside of the engineering process

The BOM is a part of engineering process, and any competent ERP will give you a list of substitutes. They will all conform to the requirements, on paper. The EMC testing does not ask for substitutes; haven't done the UL testing, can't say what they want.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42170723)

Some components are more critical than the others. What you do is have a gold set of parts, and then some substitutes, and you should in fact build it at least with all the substitutes put in all at once. Suppose that for all parts you have up to 3 substitutes. You build 3 different boards, and all three go through all the testing. You don't necessarily have to test all combinations unless you have a good reason to. Everything depends on volume and liability, of course.

Of course EMC testing doesn't ask for substitutes, but it's up to you as a design engineer to understand what parts may affect EMC performance and qualify them -- either through component-level testing, or through system-level testing. If you have a bunch of decoupling caps on the board, you'd probably want to run them and the substitutes on a component/network analyzer and make sure their as-shipped performance is in the same ballpark. You also probably want to ensure that by good luck the self-resonant frequency of "current" capacitors doesn't fall right on top of something nasty. The replacements may not give you such luck anymore. That's just one example. There are parts where the "special" requirements are not about RF, but, say, about leakage, or switching characteristics, etc. Some of them aren't even put down on paper: the circuit works fine with one part, you substitute something else (say "same" semiconductor but from a different vendor), and it turns out it doesn't work or works poorly or doesn't work over the entire temp. range, etc

Sure if you have rather rigorous design process, you make strides towards the circuit that does not depend on unspecified properties of the parts. But there's only so far you can go in that direction, there's a point where you have to test alternatives.

It's not good engineering to just stick to the minimum legal requirements. If it were so, lawyers could do the job :) There's a big chasm between minimum requirements and good engineering.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42171141)

Everything depends on volume and liability, of course.

This is a very important factor. It costs me more than $10K to make a production run. There is no way I will be spending this money for an experiment with generic capacitors.

If you have a bunch of decoupling caps on the board, you'd probably want to run them and the substitutes on a component/network analyzer and make sure their as-shipped performance is in the same ballpark.

It's not easy to even test a capacitor. You need to build a test fixture for it, with a 50 Ohm port, and to qualify that fixture alone. Sure it's possible, it's not something that an EE graduate can't put together with some parts from Minicircuits. But it's work, and in about 100% of the cases it's a wasted effort if the parameter that you are after is in the datasheet.

I had to look for special parts several times. For example, components in PLL loop filters must be not microphonic... and most ceramic capacitors are, very much so. But that is a problem that an engineer understands at the design phase of the circuit because you cannot take a mica or a film capacitor and squeeze it into a 0402 footprint of a ceramic multilayer capacitor. Generally most of those mistakes that we are talking about here stem from poor selection of parts. Ripple current is one example - it can destroy the capacitor over time if the part is not rated for the abuse. Derating for higher or lower temperatures is frequently ignored. Operating at the edge of temperature range (esp. for commercial parts) is common. I have a network switch here with a failing power supply. Want to know the reason? The inductor in the buck switcher is heating up so much that I cannot touch it. Something else heats up... and here you are, a dead power supply. It doesn't help that they have a few cheap aluminum electrolytic caps just next to the red hot inductor.

Mistakes like that happen when parts are either poorly selected to begin with, or selected with razor thin margins, or not sufficiently specified by the engineer, or replaced by a less suitable part later. There are other scenarios. Remember the failures of Fujitsu drives? Someone else, an IC manufacturer, changed their process - and the drives started dropping dead like flies.

Sure if you have rather rigorous design process, you make strides towards the circuit that does not depend on unspecified properties of the parts. But there's only so far you can go in that direction, there's a point where you have to test alternatives.

If you look at older receivers, made with early semiconductors, you will note how resilient their designs are against variations in the characteristics of transistors. Each stage had smaller gain, but it was very stable, DC and AC wise. But today many designers prefer to depend on known, more stable parameters of parts. Note that the redundancy in the design costs real money. Many PHBs - who hold the purse strings - tell the engineers to make it simpler. That's where the minimum requirements come from. Add to that the fact that a modern design cycle is extremely short, and even the lifetime of a product is often under a couple of years. You simply don't have calendar time to do aging tests, even accelerated ones. Your first real data about aging comes from the customers, when the whole production run is sold and you are working on a 3rd generation of the device, with all new components because parts are getting obsolete faster than you can find them on Digikey.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42180607)

Above post should go as a Community FAQ question/answer pair onto electronics stack exchange ;) Well done.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42161965)

A capacitor is a capacitor, yes, there's room for capacitors going off spec, but people here are complaining about TVs that stop working after three years, rather than a few days - if the problem was "cheap capacitors" (ie a serious quality control problem at the plant leading to significantly off-spec capacitors) methinks we'd be see complaints about an entirely different issue.

What this sounds like, to me, is a design flaw that's causing capacitors to get overloaded (or something similar) - it's easy for a group of engineers to push this onto an anonymous "PHB" somewhere involved in the buying/selling chain, but design flaws happen, and they seem to fit this instance more than a quality control issue at a supplier.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42170151)

A capacitor is a capacitor, yes, there's room for capacitors going off spec, but people here are complaining about TVs that stop working after three years, rather than a few days - if the problem was "cheap capacitors" (ie a serious quality control problem at the plant leading to significantly off-spec capacitors) methinks we'd be see complaints about an entirely different issue.

What this sounds like, to me, is a design flaw that's causing capacitors to get overloaded (or something similar) - it's easy for a group of engineers to push this onto an anonymous "PHB" somewhere involved in the buying/selling chain, but design flaws happen, and they seem to fit this instance more than a quality control issue at a supplier.

There are plenty of good capacitor brands - Panasonic, Nippon Chemi-Con among others (note: Japanese). There are plenty of crap capacitor brands (e.g., CrapXon, er, CapXon) that make crappy cheapass ones.

The thing is the electrolyte. An electrolytic capacitor gets its capacitance from an ultra thin oxide layer only a few atoms thick that exists on one of the plates (reversing the polarity dissolves the oxide and puts it on the other plate). It's a thin fragile layer so they put a paper separator with a high-conductivity electrolyte solution so the other plate can electrically connect ot the oxide layer. (A "low ESR" cap means the electrolyte is a bit more conductive). The other plate doesn't have much capacitance (remember capacitance increases with the inverse of the separation - make the separation smaller, the capacitance increases, and why electrolytics get high capacitances because of the thin oxide layer).

The cheap crappy caps have lousy electrolytes that can boil and dry off, which is why the capacitance decreases, and while the ESR increases. (And also why your electrolytics have easily a +20%/-50% tolerance).

As for why they're used, easy - you'll find them almost always in the power supply section (where you need high value, low ESR caps). The power supply is almost always designed by a third party company (many common ones like Jet, MeanWell, etc.) to the customer's specs. So the engineer simply asks for a power supply that provides +5V @ 5A, +12V @ 30A etc, the power connector and form factor/mechanicals. The company goes off, designs the supply and comes up with an initial BOM and quote for production. The company often negotiates the price downwards and cheaper parts get used as a result.

One ought ot note that the per-unit price of the wall-warts ranges anywhere from 50 cents to a few dollars, and that's the price the company purchasing htem pays. A built-in power supply board can also cost a few bucks to a few tens of dollars, while really high end equipment may pay much more for top-notch parts.

Equipment where the performance of the power supply is paramount (e.g., audio gear, including A/V receives) often have inhouse designed supplies and you'll very often find much higher build quality as a result (and higher spec parts - audio gear often uses a linear supply (bulky, heavy, inefficient) because a switcher can have switching harmonics that extend down into the audio band that cannot be eliminated.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42160347)

Why companies need to save a few bucks on capacitors on a $2000 television will never make sense to me.

For the same reason printers don't include a usb cable - the retailers demand it. If a brand puts quality material in their product it won't break down as soon and the retailers won't get their repeat sale. They want a churn of products failing so they get a repurchase or at least an expensive extended warranty.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#42161823)

I always thought printer makers just figured I had a USB cable left over from my previous printer.

I mean seriously, printers don't come with USB A-B cables, but everything else does. I probably have ten of them in the ratsnest behind my desk. (A whopping one of them is actually in use, on an external hard drive.)

I really ought to clean up that cable mess, but it frightens me.

Re:crap televisions, anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42161529)

Here, here. I and one of my buddies both had the 62525 models and had the blinking green light of death due to bad capacitors. I was fortunate enough to have purchased mine at Costco in late 2005 and took it back in January 2010 for a full refund. Think it was close to $3000 when I bought it. I had always heard people sing praises about Mitsubishi products but I will never buy another one. Mitsubishi refused to own this quality problem. My buddy bought his from a high end electronics store and wound up paying someone to haul it off and he's also sworn off Mitsubishi products.

This is a bummer... (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about 2 years ago | (#42157351)

Honestly? I think this is a real shame! A month or so ago I took some friends tv shopping. After going through Costco and ogling the tvs we we t to a shop that was selling these Mistu sets, I'd been hoping to show them a good PJ honestly. I was stunned at how good these things looked and the cost of an 83inch unit was incredible compared to the 60 and 70 inch LCD we'd already looked at. They weren't all that thick and I was very surprised at how far to the side I could stand and still get a terrific picture! I specifically tested this having experienced problems with this with other DLP. In the end I was truly impressed but my friends just couldn't make up their mind and there was no sale made. Now that I'm hearing this I'm glad they waffled but I truly think that had others gotten a good look at these they would've sold better. Well that and less pushy sales guys, the one we had at The Big Screen Store was an ass...

Re:This is a bummer... (1)

skids (119237) | about 2 years ago | (#42163653)

It is a bummer. They are also hands-down the most ghost-free best quality 3D source.

The technology was never very reliable (1)

big_e_1977 (2012512) | about 2 years ago | (#42157359)

There are too many failure prone components. There's a UHP bulb (wear item), high voltage ballast, color wheel (moving part, highly failure prone), optics (heat from bulb causing the infamous samsung shadow problem), DMD chip (intense heat, plus over a million microscopic mirrors that move) and multiple fans (moving parts+dust). Samsung switched to using LEDs to get rid of the color wheel and bulb, but were driving the LEDs too hard causing premature failure. They exited the DLP market soon afterward.

Warmer, brighter pictures (3, Funny)

rueger (210566) | about 2 years ago | (#42157377)

I'll stick with my good old analogue television. I just don't like the brittle, compressed pictures on these new "digital" TVs.

Of course I'm still trying to figure out where to find some of that good, old, warm, analog TV signal to feed it.

Re:Warmer, brighter pictures (2)

517714 (762276) | about 2 years ago | (#42157483)

VHS tapes can be had for $.25 apiece locally, and the players aren't much more.

Re:Warmer, brighter pictures (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42158693)

That's a blast from the past! I think I got rid of my last vcr in 2003.

Re:Warmer, brighter pictures (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#42158559)

Ditto. I still prefer CRT monitors and TVs even for digital stuff. :(

Crap, no more LaserVue? (1)

Whatsmynickname (557867) | about 2 years ago | (#42157565)

I'm assuming this means the LaserVue line is dropped as well? [mitsubishi-tv.com] This sucks as I wanted one of those TVs someday... I've seen the picture on these and they are awesome! I thought this would be an alternative to Plasma...

Re:Crap, no more LaserVue? (1)

matthelm007 (1392603) | about 2 years ago | (#42157687)

Alternative, heck, these are about 3 times better picture!!!!! Over course, they were even more expensive than even Plasma! Maybe pick one up, like the writer of the story is planning, if the prices drop.

Re:Crap, no more LaserVue? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42159761)

$3k for a 75 inch screen is expensive?!

DLP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42157789)

Because everyone wants to pay 125 bucks for a new lamp every year. sometimes twice.

Just upgraded (1)

grumling (94709) | about 2 years ago | (#42158071)

I bought an LCD projector a few years ago after my trusty old 25" studio monitor died. I considered DLP at the time, but they gave me a headache. Bulb prices quickly went from expensive (over $100) to dirt cheap (less than $40) for my Sony, so I have to think they all came down in price over the years.

But with more devices wanting HDMI inputs and wanting a bigger 1080p display this year I decided to upgrade to a 50" plasma. Didn't even consider a projector, mostly due to problems with black levels and washout in bright rooms. The difference is astounding, although I'm sure a lot of it is just due to evolutionary progress overall. However if I were going much larger than 55" I would consider a projection system. Many of them can be set up for RP if you have a box and mirror available.

The dinosaur (1)

speedlaw (878924) | about 2 years ago | (#42158217)

Back before I learned the hard way not to buy Sony, I bought an RPTV. It was fun as the NYC stations were still experimenting with ATSC. Time went on, and a Plasma is now the main TV. We still use the Sony, though, and while it has eaten one projector bulb, it soldiers on....of course, the $2500 it cost back then is now $399.

Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42158545)

Texas Instruments would cry now. They are the one supplying the chips for DLP.

Lancer Evolution Owner! Go Mitsu! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42159635)

Just bought a 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Grand Sport Rally. Already modding it and tuning it for more power!

I don't have any Mitsubishi TVs but I do drive their cars. Absolutely freaking love their Evolution line. I swear their 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder is more responsive to modification and easier to make horsepower than my previous 32 valve DOHC American V8 in my Mustang Cobra.

For comparison my Cobra's 4.6 32 valve V8 made 300 horsepower at 5800rpm and 300ft/lbs of torque at 4800rpm.
My Mitsubishi 2.0 liter 4 banger makes 340ft/lbs at 3200rpm and 360 horsepower at 4900rpm and has AWD to boot.

If you haven't checked out one of these cars please do. It's actually faster than than the Domestic V8's but people have no clue what these cars are because they are four doors.

Even better the stock ECU is hackable! You can run custom assembly on the stock ECU to flash the check engine light upon engine knock for instance. Adjust variable cam settings for fuel economy tunes to net around 30mpg highway (the car is rated for 23 but it's a joke of a stock tune, gets 25+ with a proper tune)

It's basically the only OpenSource freely tunable ECU besides some of the Subaru's. Show some love and go test drive one!

(Car Geek)

Re:Lancer Evolution Owner! Go Mitsu! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42159889)

Compare apples to apples. I assume you are talking about a 96-98 Cobra based on your numbers. Check the Evo in that same time frame, it was making about 275/275 and it was a turbo. My minivan has roughly 275/275 now in 2012.
I see Evo and scoobies at the track all of the time, fast but not many are going much faster than low/mid 12's in the 1/4. They can and do but that's where it takes big money and the a larger risk it's getting towed home.

If you haven't checked out one of these cars please do. It's actually faster than than the Domestic V8's

Maybe the Dodges but not the Camaro or Mustang. I like all cars but your assessment and comparisons are not apples to apples.

Re:Lancer Evolution Owner! Go Mitsu! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#42160527)

These cars are not really designed purely for the quarter mile... They are designed to be able to handle round a track or a rally circuit rather than just go for straight line speed.

Re:Lancer Evolution Owner! Go Mitsu! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42171869)

Maybe but C&D did a test on a track with other cars and the 2012 Mustang had better much better lap times over the 2012 Evo. The EVO may "handle" better but in the end when the rubber mets the road and you are no longer racing on paper and theory, the Mustang still crossed the line first.
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/best-handling-car-for-less-than-40000-370z-vs-evo-mustang-gt-gti-miata-mini-jcw-feature [caranddriver.com]

Re:Lancer Evolution Owner! Go Mitsu! (1)

shiftless (410350) | about 2 years ago | (#42163265)

lol my Mustang SVO would fucking destroy that tin piece of shit.

Go shill your jap crap elsewhere

I just bought a dinosaur? Latency kills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42160713)

One thing I was looking for when buying a new display was latency. It seems as if the DLP models were always 30-50ms faster than non-DLP.

Am I just delusional about that? It seems kind of nonsensical given the whole spinning wheel nature of DLP.

that slide show was horrendous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42161973)

funny how it starts out with an actual sound system, then ends up higher quality using the shitty built in speakers. what a waste!

Huh?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42166179)

I thought these things have died out 10 years ago!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>