PMA Announces InfoComm 2011 Projector Winners

And the winners are… it’s time again for the Buckaroo Awards, those annual InfoComm best-of-show awards from Pacific Media Associates.

The Buckaroo award is named after the pioneering cowboys of the Great Basin country of the American West (parts of California, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon). These cowboys were known for fancy gear that displayed lots of silver ornamentation, so the name is fits as 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.

Says PMA: “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 force manufacturers to take new measures such as expanding the boundary of the key measure of performance – -in this case brightness — and specializing in narrower and narrower segments.”

PMA currently divides coverage of the market into three brightness ranges: New Era (sub-500 lumens), Mainstream (500-4999 lumens), and High-End (5000+ lumens).

From this year’s InfoComm, PMA picked a Buckaroo award winner from each category.

New Era: Optoma ML500

“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 lbs. 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.”

Mainstream: 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. 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 3500 lumens).”

High-End: 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.