This list will be an overview of the rear projection category by listing the advantages and disadvantages for each TV type. I will note if a certain type of rear projection goes against the advantage or disadvantage it is listed under. This means that what could be an advantage for one could be a disadvantage for the other and vice versa.
- Screen Size: Rear projection screen sizes begin where CRT direct view televisions stop. By far they exceed the largest of flat panel screens. Widescreen models are much like a smaller scale of a movie theater screen. Rear projection models begin at the 42" screen size and go up from there.
- Picture Quality: Generally, rear projection televisions produce a very good to excellent picture when displaying DVD quality to High Definition images. The only drawback to rear projection televisions is when displaying regular cable/satellite signals or low quality VHS footage because the screens are so large any low resolution image can look blemished or pixilated.
- Note: CRT rear projection has the lowest picture quality of any rear projection television. This doesn't mean that the picture is bad, but CRT rear models don't jump out at you visually when compared side by side to a LCD, DLP or LCoS.
- Burn-In: Playing video games or watching movies on a screen the size of a small wall is cool. Being able to use a TV as a PC is a great convenience. Luckily, most rear projection televisions aren't susceptible to burn-in, which is when a static image stains the screen.
- Note: CRT rear projection because static images can burn into the screen if left for long periods of time. This isn't something to worry about if watching TV, but do worry about it if using this type of TV to play video games or as a computer monitor.
- FCC Mandates: According to the Federal Communications Commission, As of July 1, 2005, all new televisions over 36" must have a built-in ATSC digital tuner. This is a good thing.
- Note: It is important to note that units made before July 1 are not affected by this FCC measure. Also, be on the look out for rear projection 'monitors', which are essentially televisions without a built-in tuner (ATSC, NTSC or QAM). While they are rare, it is possible to see them in the marketplace before long because monitors are not covered by this FCC mandate. This is probably more likely to happen in flat panel models.
- Durability: CRT rear projection televisions have been around for a long time, but LCD, DLP and LCoS are relatively new. Still, durability should never be an issue with any television if a manufacturer wants to stay in business. While all models have fragile features, expect them to last 15-20 years with normal use.
- Lamp Replacement: This is the biggest detraction to rear projection televisions because lamp replacement can be expensive. A typical replacement lamp for DLP, LCD and LCoS costs at least $200. Most rear projection owners will have to replace a lamp every 3-5 years. Owners of CRT rear projection have an added disadvantage in that when one of the three guns (red, green, blue lamps) goes bad, it is recommended to replace all three to keep the colors balanced. Replacement of those lamps is even more expensive because a professional technician is likely needed to install and calibrate the lamps.
- Price: Prices for some 40-50" rear projection models are creeping below $1000, which means that buying a big screen for the family room won't necessarily put anyone in bankruptcy court. However, prices for DLP, LCD and LCoS start at around $1500. Sizes above 50" can cost thousands of dollars. Generally, it is safe to assume that the higher the price the larger the screen size.
- Note: CRT rear projection because prices can be as low as $700 depending on whether or not the model is HD compatible.
- Overall Size: Rear projection televisions are big, which is why some people call them big screens. They are generally large, heavy and occupy a lot of floor space. If they don't fit on the floor then they'll need to sit on a table of some sort, which will take up floor space. This can be an issue when trying to change cables, rearrange furniture or fit in small spaces. A good rule of thumb is to expect at least one foot of thickness up to �e length of the TV. Some of the larger models can occupy 8-15 square feet of floor space depending on the screen size.
- Note: While CRT rear projection models are the largest of models, the top of their casing can be used to store TV components like a set-top box, DVD player, surround sound system, etc.