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Projection Roundtable

Nov 17, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

Experts from The Briefing Room sound off about current trends emerging in the corporate projector industry.


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For this year’s Projection Roundup survey of industry opinion, the editors of Sound & Video Contractor turned to experts from 12 companies that routinely communicate important announcements to the industry through the Briefing Room as our knowledge pool.

We also consulted with several industry experts to identify three major categories of corporate/business projectors of wide import to the permanent installation world, and devised a series of questions intended to present a reflection of the current state of the projection industry that would be of relevance to as wide a community as possible.

These categories are: large venue (defined as projectors producing 5000 lumens and up), conference room (defined as projectors producing 3000 lumens to 5000 lumens, typically designed to have computer inputs and intended for corporate installations in conference rooms, boardrooms, or training centers), and compact business (defined as portable projectors under 6 lbs. and sometimes called “pocket projectors”).

Naturally, many people could come up with variances on these definitions, but they were developed to form the basis of a working consensus.

Survey participants included 3M Projection Systems, represented by division scientist Ernie Rodriguez; Barco, represented by Peter Taylor, director of sales and national sales manager for houses of worship; Canon, represented by Ricardo Chen, senior manager of technical marketing and planning; Christie Digital Systems, represented by George Tsintzouras, director of product management, business products; Hitachi, represented by product manager John Glad; InFocus, represented by David Woolf, VP of corporate marketing, and Dave Duncan, product manager for home and installation; Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, represented by James Chan, senior director of product marketing, and Wayne Kozuki, product manager; NEC, represented by Keith Yanke, director of product marketing for projectors and large-format displays, and Rich McPherson, product manager for projectors; Panasonic, represented by Dan Meehan, national systems integrator sales manager, Projector Systems Company; projectiondesign, represented by Gary Plavin, president of projectiondesign Americas; SIM2 Multimedia, represented by Massimo Valcher, business manager for cinema applications; and Sony, represented by Sander Phipps, senior product manager, and Andre Floyd, marketing manager.

To put the industry’s condition in context, Sanju Khatri, principal analyst, projection and large screen displays at the electronics industry market research firm iSuppli, provided some statistics from that company’s worldwide Projection Market Tracker for Q3 2008. That report indicates that, in 2008, the overall projection market represented $2,566,200,000 in sales, which is predicted to decline to $2,377,239,000 by 2012, probably due to the increased popularity of other large-format display technologies.

Please keep in mind that the iSuppli report includes several categories—such as digital cinema—that are not covered in this corporate/business projector roundup. Therefore, sales figures for each of our categories will be included in their specific section of our opinion survey.

Although participants were chosen by our editors, the selection of the responses is the responsibility of this author. Not everyone answered all questions, and not all of the responses could fit allotted space. A few typos were cleaned up, grammatical quirks reconciled, and in cases of repetition, the most lucid answers were chosen. Responses that were composed by several authors within a single company were, of necessity, combined, and all answers have been listed in alphabetical order of the company name.

LARGE-VENUE PROJECTORS

ISuppli predicts sales for large-venue projectors will rise from $9,619,000 in 2007 to $34,265,000 by 2012.

What considerations should be paramount when choosing a large-venue projector?

Barco: There are many choices in the marketplace, and some lend themselves more toward video and some lend themselves more to data applications. Major factors to consider include screen size and ambient light. Brightness expectations have increased dramatically over the past 2-3 years as technologies like Plasma, LCD, and LED have become mainstream. Brightness is increasing by about 5ft.-6 ft. lamberts per year, and if these brightness expectations are not achieved, then the image is perceived as poor quality.

Another major challenge to consider is the projector’s feature set. For example, are you going to blend projectors? If so, can you adjust primary and secondary colors to color match the projectors? Are the projectors going to be controlled from a control system or over IP if a control system is not planned for? Can the projectors be serviced/repaired in critical applications or do they have to be taken down to be serviced? In a large church/auditorium with fixed seats, for example, this may be an issue especially if the projector weighs more than 120lbs., not uncommon in the very-high-brightness projectors.



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