Projectors at CES

Last week I discussed Casio’s startlingedit-fig1-0110 announcement that they were going to end production of projectors with mercury lamps and exclusively build projectors with a hybrid laser/LED/phosphor light source. By no means was that the only projector news from CES, other companies presented their new projection products as well. These included picoprojectors, mini-projectors, toy projectors, home theater projectors and mainstream business projectors like the ones from Casio.

Take, for example, the Samsung 3LCD projector, designated the F10M, with LED illumination from Luminus devices. This XGA unit has 1000 lumen output and 30K hour LED life, topping the 600 – 800 lumens possible in a single panel DLP system with the same PT-120 chipset from Luminus. The reason this high output is possible is in a 3LCD projector the red, green and blue LEDs can each be run continuously. In a single-panel DLP projector where the LEDs are run at the same average power, the duty cycle is about 33% for each LED and the LED must be run at a peak power of 3x the average power. Due to the non-linearities in all LEDs, including ones from Luminus, this higher power density reduces the lumens/watt and therefore the total system output. Samsung hasn’t said what the price of this projector will be but Insight Media believes it will be somewhere in the $999 – $1499 range.
Another interesting projector came from LG. This system is actually two 3-panel SXRD projectors designed into a single projector chassis and internally combined to have a single projection lens. Each projector has its own lamp, presumably a UHP-type. The two engines can generate two independent images, i.e. a left eye and a right eye image for 3D. The two images differ by polarization and a polarization-preserving screen and passive glasses are needed. A built in camera assures the two images match each other for color and brightness. This projector will reportedly be available to home theater customers in June at a price of $10K. In the 2007 Insight Media 3D report, I had suggested that a dual-engine projector would be a cost-effective approach to 3D so I am glad to see this approach has been take by LG. 

Pico- and mini-projectors at CES are almost too numerous to mention. In addition to the Light Blue Optics and ImagineOptix projectors I mentioned last week, numerous pico and mini projectors were shown from a wide variety of companies. Butterfly, an ODM company from Shenzhen, China and formerly known as OMT, had a booth with no less than 9 pico- and mini-projectors on display. These Butterfly projectors had panels from three of the major microdisplay manufacturers, Micron, Syndiant and Texas Instruments. A QVGA panel was used in the Butterfly 3 lumen

LO2 module, said to be the “World’s lowest cost micro projector Module, perfect for embedding into electronic toys, mobile phones and digital media players.” The module was demonstrated embedded into a Butterfly-made cellphone. While the gentleman at the booth told me the LO2 module contained a Syndiant panel, they don’t make a QVGA panel so presumably this module used a Micron panel. I suspect it was the 1280×720 GO2 projector from Butterfly that contained a Syndiant panel.

I have run out of space in this Display Daily column but I have by no means run out of projectors and projector technology at CES to write about. For more details on these projectors, other projectors and other display technologies at CES, see the upcoming issues of Mobile Display Report, due out on the 15th of January, and Large Display Report, due out the 1st of February.

 

Matt Brennesholtz is an analyst at Insight Media. Reach him at matt@insightmedia.info