Projecting InfoComm…

Projecting InfoComm…

As we reported last issue, development of the “high end” staging projection systems didn’t slow down as the recession hit, although we heard less about them because of the manufacturer’s shift in marketing to lower-cost models. As we head to InfoComm 2010, we’ve come off a year-long period since InfoComm 2009 where a lot of the new activity in terms of new projector offerings was in the mid-lumen range, as some combination of price break and new features were being pushed into the market for a recession year.

OK folks, the recession is over. Staging activity is up. Tom Stimson, who conducts the business and marketing sessions at our Rental & Staging Roadshows, is already talking about the new (growing) business environment this year. It’s time to start adding new gear to your inventory. If you procrastinate until your 3-year-old projectors die on the set of a big event, it will be too late.

InfoComm 2010 promises to offer us up the best crop of new projectors we’ve seen in years. On the low-lumen/low-power consumption side, many manufacturers are now releasing conventional mercury lamp projectors with “eco” modes for greatly improving lamp life and lowering power consumption. “Green” equipment trends affect the mid-range more than the high end, and we’ll see plenty of greenslanted projectors at InfoComm. (One prominent manufacturer has put a “Carbon Reduction Meter” on a unit that calculates and displays the amount of CO2 emissions reduced from operating in Quiet Mode…it may seem silly, but don’t underestimate the importance of green initiatives as governments and institutions start mandating energy efficiency.)

The LED-light engine projector solves the lamp replacement problem for applications on a tight budget and where high-lumen projection is not needed. LED-light engine projectors are getting brighter, but there is really nothing in this category yet that achieves more than about 2000 lumens. But they are getting better and brighter all the time, and at InfoComm 2010 we’ll see a variety of LED-light engine DLP projector available now. (And note that there is one laser and LED hybrid light source projector being marketed now, the Casio GREEN SLIM Projector.)

WXGA is also, finally, available in a whole new crop of projectors. The market has been asking for this for years, but as 1080P was on most manufacturers’ minds, WXGA took a back seat — until enough manufacturers’ marketing folks started clamoring for more lower-priced widescreen format options.

On the high end, in the realm of the big guns, will we see a new generation of 15-30K lumen projectors at InfoComm? I wouldn’t bank on a completely new generation of products. I will be expecting to see more manufacturers enter the category, including non-DLP manufacturers (closer to 15K lumen than 30) as LCD technology improves its ability to deal with heat generation issues. And from the DLP big-gun camp, expect to see a variety of innovations on the image processing front, and in energy efficiency.

Whatever’s on your shopping list at InfoComm, this show will offer more than you can probably take in one week in June. We’ll be following up with post-show coverage.