The $500 Projector

The one product story that jumps out at me this month is the $500 projector from Ben-Q. This is a major milestone for our market – heck, I remember when Clint Hoffman and I were sitting around a bar one night at InfoComm talking about the day when projectors might be under $1000 and what impact that would have on our market – could traditional AV dealers compete?

Answer: Heck yes!

In fact, the advent of the $1,000 projector has become a marker for tremendous growth in the AV market – Home and Pro alike. Sure, it meant that projectors showed up in Office Depot and Staples and eventually Best Buy, but it also mean exposure for a market that badly needed it – us!

This new level will surely mean that we will soon see front-screen projectors appear in Wal-Mart and Target, but could it also become a marker for the next wave of growth? Won’t this expose a whole bunch of people to a technology they’ve really needed for years but were too worried about the costs of it to take the plunge? Take a look at the educational market, for example. There’s still less than 15% penetration in K-12 classrooms that use projection technology to enhance the learning process — NEC, this month, also took aim at that with an all-new VT series to debut in December. The thousands of overcrowded classrooms with little, tiny 20” TV’s can now enter the AV market for not much more than the cost of a digital camera.

I am not at all worried about the $500 projector – BUT, I will keep you informed when and WHO decides to sell them through the box-houses – so you can decide where your loyalty should fall…