A LOOK BACK AT PROJECTORS IN 2016
The projector industry in 2016
To have a good idea what is going on in the projector arena we will have to go back to Infocomm International 2016, the annual trade show of the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA), is the event of the year for projector manufacturers. The show was held in June in hot Las Vegas. This year’s competition produced loads of innovation and plenty of breakthrough product announcements especially with laser projectors. Some industry pundits have already declared 2016 as the year of the laser projector. Dramatic technological leaps, as well as Price, value, cost of ownership, and services were the hottest talking points.
Today’s projectors are based on one of four imaging technologies: DLP, LCD, LCOS, and laser raster. Most manufacturers are working on increasing the lumens of the projector. They are also planning for multimedia interface by installing flexible features such as Auto keystones, Corner Fit etc. The most important thing is, users can display any video source, including HDMI v1.4a and VGA. They will be amazed with the life-like images exploding off their home theater screen. Basically, a DLP projector has the capability to easily show any 3D content on the big screen.
Technologies like Miracast, which wirelessly connects multiple devices and mirrors their display content, have seamlessly integrated projectors and monitors without the hassle of physical connections. The interesting thing is these technologies are available in all segments.
Home theatre projectors
Basically, there are three new trends; laser moving to the 4k resolution space, a move to higher brightness, and a move to more affordable projectors. At the high end of the market both Sony and Epson are offering up WXGA, WUXGA, and 4k resolution projectors with brightness that range from 5000 lumens to 12000 lumens. In this range we will be looking at home theatre projectors within a reasonable price point. Sony calls its version the VPL-FHZ65 with a market price just below $15,000 and Epson, which is the world’s biggest projector company, has the Epson 1505U which goes for $22,000 but they are essentially the same projector because they both utilize the 3LCD technology and functionality is pretty similar but there are few other differences besides price. The major difference is that the Epson is designed to cater to large venue solutions as well and therefore has a brightness of 12000 Lumens (with a native resolution of 3840×2160), and Sony's unit supports a brightness of 6000 lumens (with a native resolution of 1920×1200). Both projectors have ultra-short throw lens. The projectors are on the pricey side as far as home theatre is concerned, but the quality of their images is good enough for the 3LCD chip at their core to get some respect.
High lumens (5K & above) demand has been increasing in IT/ITES, corporate and hospitality where features like HD-Base-T, corner projection, vertical projection, geometrical correction and edge blending are used to becoming customer requirements. BenQ have a whole range of home video projectors with consumer benefits like 2D to 3D conversion, horizontal and vertical lens shift, MHL connectivity, inbuilt speakers, side projection cinema/stadium like experience with hassle free installation. BenQ is also world’s no.1 home video full HD projector brand.
LCD and Laser/LED hybrid projectors
In the mid range of the market there we find laser, as well as hybrid projectors which combine both laser and LED solid state light engine. This is the most dynamic segment of the market because it caters to both business and consumer needs, and in doing so strikes a balance between low maintenance cost and superior technology. With decent brightness that ranges from 2000 lumens to 5000 lumens and android/iOs interactive UI, consumers applications are usually business presentations, home theatre and gaming. Technical specifications matter most in this segment because you always find that the projectors have similar prices but the quality of their performance is at two opposite ends. The light technology utilized in this segment is wide and varied, apart from laser and laser/LED hybrid we also find DLP, LCD and LCOS (liquid crystal on silicon) projectors. It will be good to mention here that the LCOS projectors give the best quality images in this category but a generally bigger than LCD and DLP projectors, as well as more expensive. Even though the market continues to shift towards laser technology, still LCD projectors are maintaining their position due good quality projection, lower power consumption and heat generation compared to DLP. The education industry still continues to be the biggest buyer in this category but the past 5 to 6 years has seen increased patronage from mid-size and small businesses. There are over 20 brands in this category of the market. Prices range from $5000 to $10,000.
Today customers are not using projectors just for official use, the interest in new level of projectors have changed the customers mind-set to use it at home, office, school for leisure, work, studies, and so-on. This new change in users is giving a new picture to the projectors trend. With increasing popularity of watching sports on a large screen, many consumers have started purchasing projectors specifically for enjoying a game of tennis or football with friends and family. In fact, young consumers are more inclined to purchase high-end products like video projectors to have their own movie screening experience in a special home theatre room. 3D projectors are also making this category more attractive due to an increase in 3D gaming and entertainment.
For years the mantra of the projector industry was “lighter, brighter and cheaper”, it finally achieved that in this segment of the market. Pico projectors are not just evaluated based on the lumen count or solid light technology they are powered by, but also size and weight. These projectors typically weigh not more than 3lbs, have a brightness of between 10 lumens to 100 lumens, and run on internal batteries. They are designed to be ferried like mobile phones and because of that they are packed with features such as; wifi, LCD displays, Android/iOs interface, and speakers. This is a growing segment that has so far been dominated by lesser known brands that are trying to cash in such as; Glyph, AXAA, Beam, iCodis, CooCheer and many more. Pico projectors are known by different names in various markets; pico, portable, mini, or mobile projector. Prices in this category are less than $2000 with some selling for as low as $199.
Projector Market by Region
Global mobile projector market can be segmented into seven regions which includes, North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East and Africa. Out of all these regions, present global interactive projector market is dominated by North America and Western Europe Region in terms of high usage rate of interactive projectors. High technological developments in countries such as U.S. and UK, consumer awareness and increasing government funding and support to education sectors are some of the factors driving the growth of interactive projectors in North America & Western Europe. Furthermore, Asia-pacific region is expected to grow rapidly during the period of forecast due to increasing consumer awareness, gradual increase in government spending on education sector and development of education sector. However, price will play important role in this price sensitive region.
· Asia Pacific
· North America
· Latin America
· The Middle East & Africa
Key players of global projector market Epson, Sony, BenQ, Texas Instruments Inc., Optoma Corp., NEC Corp., Acer Inc., Viewsonic Corp., Delta Electronics, Inc. and others.
In this crowded market, Epson is the undisputed market leader having seen its market share in North America, which is the biggest projector market, soar to 48% in 2015. China and India are also showing strong growth with BenQ reportedly being the number selling brand in India according to Future Source consulting report).
Today Projectors have become a must have for small businesses and digital homes. As we have seen, projectors are not only a business tool but they are also an essential component of the education system as well as an option for home entertainment and gaming. The projector market has seen considerable growth with latest trends. As per the estimate by Grand View Research consulting in 2016, the projector market has grown at a rate of 8 per cent in volume terms year-on-year. In 2017, we hope to see WUXGA and 4K resolutions come mainstream.