There’s been a flurry of early spring activity in the industry, starting off with a Barco Rental partner meeting in Colorado in mid-March, and then the first Rental Staging Roadshow of 09, in Orlando on March 25th. And, oh yes, in-between, Electrograph’s DTE (Digital Technology Experience) event in Dallas on March 24th.
At the Barco event, some of the country’s top stagers gathered to see the latest from the company that now includes not just high lumen video projectors and LED units, but now of course with Barco’s acquisition of High End Systems–lighting as well. Or best said: lighting, and lighting/video hybrid devices.
But it’s easy to get ahead of my self here. In this crazy year, it’s hard to sort out the business marketing challenges, from the technical product evolution. What’s being rolled out when, why, and how? Are new product rollouts going full steam ahead, in this recession year? Is the demand there, as well as the supply?
Oddly enough, from the three seemingly unrelated events I attended in the space of three weeks, there was a lot of overlap in themes.
It’s no secret the big marketing wars, in the video projection market, are taking place in the mid-lumen range, let’s say from 8-12K lumens. This is where most of the cap ex spending will take place this year, because this is the main area where new products–significantly new products with some combination of price break and new features–are being introduced. On the low lumen end, and on the high lumen end, there is always new product, but not a lot has changed this year on those ends of the spectrum (OK, hold your fire…in high lumen video projection, 3D is up and coming. And in low-lumen range, single-chip DLP keeps getting better.). Back to the chase… in the fixed install market, the new kid on the block is WUXGA (16x10). WUXGA has been in the wings for several years, and the demand has been growing, because this is of course the format of most new PC’s. So look to most major projector manufacturers to bring out new WUXGA units this year. (Canon, who was one of the first to introduce WUXGA a couple years ago, raised eyebrows at that time, because: Canon had not much been in the commercial projector space, and at that time 1080P was all the rage.)
For Barco’s part, they are banking a lot on their CLM series of projectors. The CLM is Barco’s answer in the mid-lumen market. It puts out 8K lumens, with a single-chip DLP light engine, not an easy feat. It accomplishes this by having a pretty sizable white segment on the color wheel. But it also has a feature where by the user can “dial out” the white segment to get back to more saturated color (and slightly fewer lumens). Also, note that the CLM can be controlled by DMX. Yes, LD’s are controlling video projectors. Get over it. While LD’s won’t completely take over the realm of AV in staging, it’s inevitable that the two worlds are now joined at the hip.