What’s in store for the projector market? We break it down for you.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is always a good indication of what we can expect to see in the projector market. Here’s an overview of the coming trends for 2020 and what technology break throughs we can expect.
Lifestyle projectors are becoming a class onto themselves with a surprising range of products out there. At the high end are those full package projectors offering 4K Ultra HD resolution, ultra-short throw projection along with the ultra-short throw lens, high brightness and sharp color accuracy. Their price tags reflect this state-of-the art technology ranging between $3,000 up to $10,000.
Some companies are experimenting with bringing the HDR experience to lower resolution projectors to prevent sticker shock. This involves sending the HDR data to any 1080p projector with at least 2,000 lumens so it can scale the image down. The current 4K projectors support HDR 10 but newer models will be handling HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) as well as improving the Auto Tone Mapping — both are needed for streaming the full range of 4K content.
Despite the introduction of this new technology, there still isn’t a projector that handles it all. Projector needs are still based on the content being displayed whether it’s data, film, photos or games. Business projectors are best at handling data-centric visuals such as PowerPoint or Excel slides, documents or PDFs. Home entertainment projectors for the consumer are best at displaying video, film or photos. The fastest growing niche are gaming projectors which tend to be smaller with a lower input lag.
Still way to go
We’re going to see more mini projectors coming to the consumer market. The obvious benefits with the Pocket and Pico projectors are the price and size. But despite the claims of 2,500+ lumens and high resolution, projectors priced $200 and lower still have issues with resolution and lag time. The technology still has a way to go to so offer the same brightness and resolution as a 1080p full sized model. Despite manufacturer’s claim, you can still expect the same picture quality as DVDs from the 1990s. Do your consumer research before buying and don’t believe all the hype.
LED vs Lamp
With a focus on longevity and being more eco-friendly, there is a shift towards long lasting LED and laser projectors. However, lamp projectors not going anywhere soon. They are still the most affordable projectors available. With the introduction of “eco” mode and two lamp projectors, there are now DLP projectors offering lamp lifespans of up to 10,000 hours or more. These projectors are still popular with classroom, small churches and venues using their projectors for brief periods rather than hours of streaming or gaming.
For consumers into frequent streaming or industries needing continual projection in hard to reach locations (think ceiling mounted), LED projectors will become more appealing as there are going to be some better choices. LED’s appeal has always been longevity (20,000+ hours), little maintenance aside from changing filters and less heat generated. But the downside was the poor picture quality which made the higher price tag hard to justify. This year the industry may deliver that unicorn LED projector with 4k resolution, 3,500 lumen output and ultra-short throw.
Remember to do your needs assessment and budget before buying your projector. Despite all the upcoming promises, the more traditional DLP projector may still be the way to go for the time being.