Menlo Park, California, USA – July 28, 2011. Pacific Media Associates, the global market information experts on front projectors, has announced their Buckaroo winners for best-of-show products exhibited at InfoComm International 2011. The Buckaroo award is named for the pioneering cowboys of the Great Basin country of the American West, which includes portions of California, Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon. These cowboys were known for fancy gear that displayed lots of silver ornamentation, so the name is particularly fitting as a recognition of products that produce the best-looking pictures. The Buckaroo Awards recognize those products in the front projector category that lead the herd by enabling projection of attractive images in a broad range of situations.
Although data-capable front projectors using digital imager chip technology such as 3LCD, DLP, or LCOS date from 1994, the industry has made giant strides in technology, yielding giant improvements in brightness, resolution, color gamut, and a host of other features and performance measures. Industry growth has attracted numerous major brands, further spurring innovation and continued improvements in price-performance that have led to market expansion. But as is typical of maturing markets, competitive pressures have forced manufacturers to take measures such as expanding the boundary of the key measure of performance–in this case brightness–and specializing in narrower and narrower segments. The high-tech market information company Pacific Media Associates (PMA), founded in 1992, has expanded along with the industry, creating a worldwide team of projector experts to measure, analyze, and forecast the projector market. PMA currently divides our coverage of the market into three brightness ranges–New Era (sub-500 lumens), Mainstream (500-4999 lumens), and High-End (5000+ lumens)–each of which receives a significant fraction of our attention. In 2011 these three ranges turned out to be a handy way to look at the advances in technology, performance, and features of the products shown at this year’s InfoComm International trade show, and we picked a Buckaroo award winner from each of the three.
Optoma ML500 – In early 2006 PMA identified the emerging New Era projector range, which at that time comprised a few, mostly quite dim, models using LED illumination, but with a likelihood of evolving to become models that had the brightness, resolution, and other specifications to make them attractive for volume sales. Most of the industry leaders have been in denial for years about this sub-500 lumen range, but their performance has now reached a stage where they can no longer be ignored. Although there have been numerous models, with varying resolutions, using either DLP or LCOS imagers, the recently-introduced and cost-effective WXGA DLP chipset, combined with bright LEDs, has garnered most of the design wins. At InfoComm the PMA team was most impressed with the 500-lumen Optoma ML500 model. While a few other manufacturers have achieved this brightness level using this combination of technology, Optoma did so in a package weighing under 2 1/2 lb. that contains the power supply, and is so thin it can be tucked into a laptop bag nestled against the laptop or even in a large purse. Its comprehensive set of inputs (including HDMI) and supported media, plus its built-in Personal Media Player and MS Office document viewer, enable it to display a wide range of signals or content types. It is compact and offers a low carry weight. A lot of technology for a $699 list price.
Casio Laser & LED Hybrid Light Engine Signature, Pro, and Short-Throw Family – Casio earns a Buckaroo award for catching the “greenness” wave, by taking a risk with new technology and staying the course through a few initial bumpy months. PMA gave them an award last year for innovation, but this year they deserve another one for recognizing the nature of their initial success and rapidly expanding into a much broader line. How frequently most UHP-type lamps need to be replaced continues to be a subject for debate, but environmental-sensitive educators loved the IDEA of a long-lived alternative, and Casio moved adroitly to capitalize on that idea. Educators can now choose from a pair of short-throw models based upon hybrid illumination, and other types of buyers can choose from Casio’s expanded family of hybrid products aimed at the sweet spots of resolution and brightness (up to 3,500 lumens).
Sharp “SV” Series with AN-SV100T motorized swivel mount – Only time will tell how narrow the segment is for the new Sharp motorized docking station accessory that can accommodate either the 5000 lumen XGA model XG-SV200X or 4500 lumen WXGA XG-SV100W projector. This unique mount horizontally rotates the projector up to 360-degrees (180-degrees in each direction), and the motorized horizontal and vertical lens shift of the projectors enables a considerable range of screen sizes and positions to be used. Eight banks of memory-presets enable the projector to automatically swivel and project content. It seems to us that an ideal use would be in places like hotel ballrooms with movable partitions that have to serve a variety of group sizes in a relatively short period of time. But even if this product doesn’t fly off the shelves, it generated a lot of booth traffic at InfoComm and should boost Sharp’s image and mindshare in the longer term.
Congratulations to the winners of the InfoComm 2011 Buckaroo awards.
NOTE: This information may not be used for advertising or other promotional use without the express prior written consent of Pacific Media Associates.
About Pacific Media Associates
Pacific Media specializes in worldwide front projector market information, including New Era (sub-500 lumens), Mainstream (500-4999 lumens), and High-End (5000+ lumens) categories. Their Industry Service family of publications provides detailed worldwide quarterly updates (sell-in data and forecasts) on front projector markets, newsletters on new products and other key industry developments, and biennial Web surveys of North American dealers and end users (including organizations and individual consumers). Their Tracking Service family of monthly reports offers timely sell-through data and analysis on unit sales, true volume-weighted street prices, and inventories of front projectors sold by leading North American retailers, resellers, and distributors. Pacific Media Associates was established by Dr. William Coggshall, who was a co-founder of Dataquest (now part of Gartner) and helped start the syndicated high-tech market information business. The company headquarters is at 1060 Siskiyou Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Telephone +1 650-561-9020 www.pacificmediaassociates.com