Skip to main content

CES 2011–Solid State Projectors Challenge Flat Panels

  • David Keene– It’s lock and load time, as the CES 2011show kicks off in Vegas. The biggest trend in video projection, as we kick off 2011, at the CES show? Solid State projectors. And, the logical conclusion of this technology trend: Solid State Pico projectors. All you pundits obsessed with flat panels, time to wake up and smell the coffee– new gen projectors are going to cut into the ‘digital signage’ market in a big way moving forward.
  • The solid state revolution promises (threatens?) to do to large swaths of the video projection world what the transistor radio did to HiFi in decades past. Or what the iPod did to the CD market… you get the idea: it’s a major revolution, and it’s here to stay. The days of squeezing more lumens out of big-footprint video projectors that use mercury lamps, are numbered (as numbered as the days of squeezing more and more horsepower out of push-rod V8 engines for cars). Going forward, innovation in projection will be about Solid State projectors– and this trend is most obvious in the proliferation of tiny “Pico projectors”.
  • Solid State projectors:
  • Are lampless… and so, can be made with a much smaller footprint
  • Feature “Instant On”
  • They are Green. No mercury lamps to replace. And they use less power to light up. For a lot of customers, that’s the one and only story, and a compelling one.
  • Pico projectors installed in mobile phones: where all the trends merge… including the more “social” than technical trend of consumers wanting “personal” technology (like smartphones) solutions, not big pieces of gear tethered down in their living room or office.
  • Pico projector models are exploding in number, as stand-alone tiny projectors, and more interestingly, they are being integrated into mobile phones. Why? Because cell phone carriers are looking, more than ever, to generate more revenue from things like "data services" (as with the iPhone, for example) that position the cell phone carrier in a better position than just having to compete on price of basic phone and text message services. This is merging with the technical trend of the ability, today, to install technology other than just tiny LCD screens in phones, including installing video projectors in cell phones. Pico Projectors-equipped mobile phones, are here now, and they enable a cell phone user to actually project photos or videos, or text (or any content) onto any surface. Instead of having people gather around your tiny cell phone’s built-in screen to view photos, or a web page, or a movie clip, you can actually project the image onto a wall, a screen, the ceiling, the table you’re sitting at with friends, colleagues, customers– anything. This technology exists today, and cell phone providers are jockeying to adopt it, to allow them to improve revenue from each customer.
  • These Solid State projection and Pico projection trends will be visible everywhere at CES 2011– from all the world’s top consumer electronics suppliers. DLP-technology Pico projectors have a big lead, in market share, right now. Not “coming” products, but products shipping now. According to TI, the following companies are showing DLP-based Pico projectors at CES 2011: Acer, Adayo, Aiptek, BenQ, Brightboxe , Cinepic, Cirago, CoStar, Dell, Fujitsu Mobile, GE, HP, Hite, iGo, Kaga, Megapower, LG, NTT DOCOMO, Optoma, Sharp, Samsung, ViewSonic, and WowWee.
  • … More on this Solid State/Pico trend, as CES progresses.