Is the Screen Business About to Disappear?
In the ProAV market, unless you’re blind (or just like to deny truths), you see the writing on the wall, LITERALLY (you’ll get that pun if you keep reading). The projection screen market is about to nearly die a somewhat rapid death.
Let’s look at the reasons why:
1. The flat screen monitor (LCD and LED) market are kicking-*ss in the meeting rooms. Nearly every integrator in the world is specifying flat-screen LCD’s instead of projectors in every install that calls for a display that’s smaller than 80”. Sure, the projection market still owns the 82” and above category, but, that won’t last — there’s a plethora of 84”, 90” and 100” LCDs and LED-lit LCDs on their way to the market — cheap and light. Note that I did NOT say the classroom market — that is DOMINATED by Epson right now and their BrightLink Pro as well as their inexpensive 3LCD projection line are keeping that world for themselves for a while — classrooms don’t switch out technology as often. So, that will dry up slower — but, keep reading as this doesn’t help the screen market one bit!
2. The Collaboration Board market is about to explode — Microsoft Surface HUB, Cisco Spark Board, InFocus Mondopad and soon to be, Newline Avocor, Jamboard and NEC’s InfinityBoard, are all going to beat the crap out of the projector. In any market where an 84″ (and smaller) projection screen would have been used, the Collaboration Board is going to head-butt them to the floor. These all-in-one room simplifiers are going to be LOVED by clients and “path of least resistance” will dictate that you will integrate them all over the place — not just in meeting rooms but in classrooms, hallways, huddle spaces, nooks, corners, etc., etc., etc.
3. And, now for the pun — the wall: The new generation of 4K projectors are all bright enough and high-resolution enough to NOT need screens. Instead, you’ll install projectors — in spaces that still need them (or want them) — that will project on walls. Yes, literally on walls. (Thus, the “writing is on the wall”, line above, haha). Wall color, texture, obstacles — none of that will matter. You’ll just color-correct and image-map that out of the projected display. And, the wall will become the screen. Nureva’s SPAN foreshadowed this.
So, no, the projection market isn’t going to die.
But the screen market is.
So, is there room for the big-five — the five big companies making screens? The screen will be around a lot longer in the home theater market, the portable projection market, the traveling presenter market and the large-venue market (well, that last one is also short-lived due to the incoming onslaught of large-format LEDs about to flood the ProAV space) but, those markets are simply not big enough to support five big screen companies.
So, while the rest of the ProAV market is about to see a sort of a second-coming of every display technology around, the screen market is about to become the prune of the ProAV space.