By Steve Sechrist
Editor/Analyst Insight Media
Editor’s Note: While some of this article generously contributed by Insight Media is oriented to ProAV, there is much to be learned for HomeAV as well.
Business, marketing, and technology leaders from all levels of the big screen display value chain gathered again this year for the seventh annual Projection Summit Conference, held June 16 & 17 in conjunction with InfoComm, at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel adjacent to the Convention Center. The Summit offered a unique opportunity to learn about the technology and market forces that are shaping the ProAV and consumer markets. The executive-level conference gave attendees access to the industry’s movers and shakers targeting matters that influence business at all levels of the AV industry. The sessions and follow-up panel discussion focused on key industry trends and issues including:
LED and Laser devices look unstoppable — LEDs will power pico and pocket projectors, but did you know they will soon power home theatre projectors? 700-900 lumen LED projectors will arrive in 2009. Laser projectors for TVs arrive this year, and will start to power projectors from pico to large venue in 2009. At the Summit, we heard from Luminus Devices, Sypro Optics, 3M and Osram Opto Semiconductors, as the group kicked off the Projection Summit talking about advances in ultra-high brightness LEDs and how solid state sources can be used in compact projection systems.
Since these companies are some of the key leaders in development of Pico and Pocket Projectors, they will provided a very good understanding the current state of the market and the roadmaps for development that will help enable this new and very exciting class of projection system. For example, speakers like 3M’s Mike O’Keefe hinted of a “Q3 launch” of a cell phone “accessory projector” for that company with a live demo of working prototypes (and we have pictures.) We also heard how to get there from cell phone accessory pioneer, Drew Osterman, now a QPC Laser vp, who worked to bring the first CMOS camera technology to Nokia cell phones.
The Image Quality session featured 3LCD and Texas Instruments squaring-off, each with profoundly different views on how to measure and judge image quality in projection systems. Participants heard a lively (and at times heated) discussion from experts in both camps on how they see image quality improving going forward and ways that end users might be able to quantify (measure) this image quality—or not. THX speaker Michael Rudd was also on the agenda with his company’s take on the viability of gray vs. white screens in improving contrast in the Image Quality.
This is cutting edge.
On the screen side, we also heard from AccelerOptics who developed a new projection screen technology that can be very effective in a digital signage environment. This can enable very large displays at much lower price points than flat panel alternatives.
Wavien believes that lamp life is an issue, especially in the growing education market. Fortunately, they have developed a solution that can greatly extend lamp life and you will want to hear about. And, Wavien can use this technology to create a bright 3D display too.
Barco presented in the Large Venue Projection Systems session describing how LCoS technology is alive and well, serving the demanding needs of the simulation market. And in the Digital Signage session we heard from Sanju Khatri, principal analyst for projection and large screen displays at iSuppli, who presented her analysis of different signage markets and Peter Gamby editor of Display Monitor who analyzed the various corporate players in this application by display size, technology and geographical region. What’s clear is that signage is become a growth engine for the ProAV community. New products are emerging and better system integration and easy to use system platforms making it simpler to operate even complex systems. We also see some savvy manufacturers adding 3D into the product mix making them a hit in attention-getting advertising venues.
And Corning joined Insight Media and Pacific Media Associates to close out the conference talking about the Pico/Pocket Projector Opportunities. There are many opinions on the viability of these segments and all three companies presented analysis that included a Corning presentation on new metrics for evaluating microprojectors, details on the recent Insight Media pico projector forecast, and a review of the demand side of pico/pocket projectors by Bill Coggshall of Pacific Media Associates.
But beyond the sessions and discussion, for the first time the event also featured three technology showcase areas. These technology exhibit areas included the cutting edge in – Pico- Pocket-Projector Showcase, Light-rejecting Screen Showcase, and the Short-throw Projector Showcase. The showcase areas were open to all Projection Summit and InfoComm registered attendees and media.
There were six projectors shown in the Pico- and Pocket projector showcase at Projection Summit, from various manufacturers. “These new classes of projectors are generating a lot of excitement in consumer and professional segments, and having a collection of them in one place, before the start of InfoComm, to facilitate viewing and interaction with developers offered a great value to attendees and exhibitors alike,” said Chris Chinnock, President of Insight Media, the organizer of Projection Summit.
Projection Summit also featured its first ever Light-rejecting Screen Showcase. The screen is a critical factor in determining the quality of a front projected image, and this showcase provided an industry first, the opportunity to see in one location the latest light-rejecting screen products and technologies. The exhibit presented the screens under realistic and similar conditions to give attendees a realistic basis for comparison.
The Short-Throw Projector showcase was also a first for Projection Summit. “The recent and substantial commercial success of this class of front projector products makes this showcase both timely and important.” Chinook said. The short-throw projectors were presented side by side and under similar conditions, allowing visitors to see all the latest products and technologies at one time and in a single venue. The space is also getting wide and deep. Last year we saw a few dipping their toes in this solution, but this year, Hitachi, 3M, Sanyo, NEC, Smart Technologies and BenQ were at InfoComm and/or at the Short Throw Showcase Pavilion to show off their wares. This segment is growing and the products offer a real value proposition.
Projection Summit featured a mix of speakers from leading technology developers, major branders, and market research firms with the latest insights on new technology, markets, applications and competitive issues covering the display industry. The thought provoking sessions produced understanding of the key drivers that shape the future supported by ample question and answer sessions that brought concepts down to face the market realities.So if you missed is Summit, don’t worry, Projection Summit proceedings are available now (Click Here).