Article/Blog: "Where Have All The New Projectors Gone?" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 10-11-2013, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I just thought I'd call attention to this post on Art's blog at projectorreviews:

Where Have All The NEW Home Theater Projectors Gone – Long Time Passing?


http://www.projectorreviews.com/blog/2013/10/08/where-have-all-the-new-home-theater-projectors-gone-long-time-passing/

Any thoughts here on why this is happening?

Less choice for us projector lovers is never a good thing.
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post #2 of 33 Old 10-11-2013, 06:58 PM
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I'm not particularly worried. Several manufacturers (DLP) are releasing inexpensive projectors throughout the year and don't seem interested in spending the time and making the effort to attend trade shows that cater to installers. These manufacturers sell most of their product over the net anyway. Sony, JVC and Epson all have new products and these three dominate the $2,500 and above sales. I guess the big disappoint for some is the lack of interest shown by Panasonic this year. There's been a culling going on for several years now -- it was inevitable. Ten years ago projectors were expensive compared to the prices today for a lot more performance, but then the same can be said about flat panel T.V.s. The difference is that the flat panels sell in the millions while HT projectors don't.
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post #3 of 33 Old 10-11-2013, 11:38 PM
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post #4 of 33 Old 10-12-2013, 05:22 PM
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It is really slowing down to a crawl.  And Mitsubishi has announced their exit from the front projector business.

 

http://www.projectorcentral.com/projector_news.cfm?2013-10-11-Mitsubishi-Closes-Projector-Division&entry_id=651

 

Too much supply and not enough demand I guess.

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post #5 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 09:24 AM
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hopefully they don't think 120" LED panels are going to steal away the projector market...

maybe they are preparing for UHD. there's not a lot of point for most of these manufacturers to over-develop 1080p panels that may soon be relegaded to the bargain models, nor is there much of a market for 20k UHD projectors with practically no UHD content available. financially speaking, it does seem to make sense to keep producing current models while they wait for something to happen with UHD

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post #6 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 06:44 PM
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Well I've got a couple thoughts (though I didn't make it all the way through the blog), in no particular order:

4K is coming, it's "almost" here, but not yet. It's not unreasonable to expect that manufacturers have started pumping their R&D into 4K, and have sort of given up on 1080p machines, leaving nothing new for this year.

Second question is what do we really expect to see at the low end? Nothing has really changed for the last few years technology wise. Same similar imaging devices, same resolutions, same sources, same connections. So what are people expecting from new machines? Often there's a modest increase in specs, but often nothing to really write home about (the HW55 sounds little different than the HW50 for instance. JVC "had" to go add a DI this year to make for some newsworthy improvement to their machines.

CEDIA Expo, the show for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, note the "Custom" and "Installation", the internet is killing installers and B&M's especially at the low end. The high end is still somewhat safe due to distribution agreements and the fact that people at the high end often look for more of the work to be done for them (I'm guessing at least), but at the low end who wants to go to a B&M these days and pay retail (or negotiate) when they can just buy something on Amazon or the like, for prices B&Ms can't even compete with. I was in my local shop a while ago to pick up some parts for my equipment rack, and after a customer walked out they made a comment about them being an "internet shopper" (or something to that effect), someone who came in just to see the machines in person and then go order it online. In this situation, if your CEDIA members can't sell low end machines, why would you bother taking the time/effort/cost to display at a show like CEDIA.

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post #7 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

hopefully they don't think 120" LED panels are going to steal away the projector market...

maybe they are preparing for UHD. there's not a lot of point for most of these manufacturers to over-develop 1080p panels that may soon be relegaded to the bargain models, nor is there much of a market for 20k UHD projectors with practically no UHD content available. financially speaking, it does seem to make sense to keep producing current models while they wait for something to happen with UHD

You seem to be saying that manufacturers of cheap projectors have exited the market place so they can come back with cheap 4K projectors? to me, I just can't accept this as a real scenario. A lens that can resolve 8 milliom plus pixels in any sort of a quality manner can not be cheap. until we get to true laser light sources. Then it might be possible to approach the cost and quality of the lenses on cheap 1080p projectors. But if you think true laser light souces can be done for a cheap projector, I would say Huh? Don't take this as an attack. I just don't accept your reason for the exits.

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post #8 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Well I've got a couple thoughts (though I didn't make it all the way through the blog), in no particular order:

4K is coming, it's "almost" here, but not yet. It's not unreasonable to expect that manufacturers have started pumping their R&D into 4K, and have sort of given up on 1080p machines, leaving nothing new for this year.

Second question is what do we really expect to see at the low end? Nothing has really changed for the last few years technology wise. Same similar imaging devices, same resolutions, same sources, same connections. So what are people expecting from new machines? Often there's a modest increase in specs, but often nothing to really write home about (the HW55 sounds little different than the HW50 for instance. JVC "had" to go add a DI this year to make for some newsworthy improvement to their machines.

CEDIA Expo, the show for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, note the "Custom" and "Installation", the internet is killing installers and B&M's especially at the low end. The high end is still somewhat safe due to distribution agreements and the fact that people at the high end often look for more of the work to be done for them (I'm guessing at least), but at the low end who wants to go to a B&M these days and pay retail (or negotiate) when they can just buy something on Amazon or the like, for prices B&Ms can't even compete with. I was in my local shop a while ago to pick up some parts for my equipment rack, and after a customer walked out they made a comment about them being an "internet shopper" (or something to that effect), someone who came in just to see the machines in person and then go order it online. In this situation, if your CEDIA members can't sell low end machines, why would you bother taking the time/effort/cost to display at a show like CEDIA.

It not a question of deciding not to show at Cedia. Its an issue of not developing anything new or just exiting the market for HT or even a broader exit.

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post #9 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 08:24 PM
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I don't think that it's a coincidence that the three big names in the under $10000 projector market engineer, manufacture and refine their own display panels. Those three being Sony, JVC, and Epson. This does two major things for consumers. The first is that they can bring their product to consumers as cheap as possible. Without having to outsource a chip they can stay competitive in retail pricing and earn a lot more profit to fund future endeavours. The other is that because they're the ones engineering the chips they know that technology best and should be the ones making refinements and should be the ones producing a projector based on that technology because of the level of understanding.

The former brings a big issue to companies who want to bring a high quality DLP projector to market. They are at the mercy of TI who places huge price demands for their top tier graded DMDs. I think DLP would be SOOOO much better if it were in the hands of a company who not only produced the chips but also produced the end product that consumers bought. It would force them to continue R&D to find refinements such as higher contrast which DLP desperately needs to stay competitive. If you look at the companies who've recently left the home theater projector market they've all been ones who did not produce their own chips. Mitsubishi, Samsung, InFocus and Sharp were all largely producing DLP projectors, most of them producing entirely DLP. SInce TI has not come out with any sort of refinement in their enthusiast .95" DMD line of DLP chips in 7 years this left them struggling to try and stay competitive while 3LCD and more importantly LCOS gained a lot of ground through R&D and has been refined on a yearly basis to the point where it can outperform DLP in many key areas. This left companies producing DLP projectors the option to go to the only other segment where TI was putting R&D into; the smaller, far less enthusiast .65" DMD line of DLP projectors which has FAR more competition. There are dozens of manufacturers who compete in this typically under $3000 market. This would mean profits would be less per unit sold because to play in this price segment a company needs to price their product aggressively. They also had the option to do what Mitsubishi tried to do and licence LCOS from another company like Sony. But like I said earlier Mitsubishi didn't engineer SXRD and had to rely heavily on their own research and help from Sony engineers to understand the technology to make it work. They had to make it work at a price point that would be competitive with Sony and JVC. Their first attempt was good, but not great. Maybe if sales were slightly higher they could've come out with a MKII 9000D and it maybe could've been more successful in that venture.

To sum this up I think TI is to blame for the lack in front projector offerings this year. Unless TI puts some effort into R&D for their 4K/UHD DMDs this could very well be the end for manufacturers looking to produce DLP projectors. If they can't compete in picture quality companies will not want to buy from them. The lack of competitive picture quality will hopefully offset sales TI is expecting and force them to fund R&D for an enthusiast grade 4K DMD that many are looking for.
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post #10 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 09:08 PM
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I agree with your statement. I don't finger the blame on TI completely because their only duty is to make money and they feel they would lose if they invested in further DLP research and development and production for the HT market. Further, if they made the same 4K chips available to the HT market as they do for the commercial theater market, they would have to substantially lower prices for the HT market and this I think would force a lowering of prices for the commercial market with a loss of a great profit maker in that market. Maybe they could sell pout to somebody who thought they could make money by addressing both markets. I am sure a conglomerate of manufacturers could get together and make some sort of offer TI couldn't refuse if they felt the economics were there. I doubt however the economics would be favorable.

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post #11 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

You seem to be saying that manufacturers of cheap projectors have exited the market place so they can come back with cheap 4K projectors? to me, I just can't accept this as a real scenario. A lens that can resolve 8 milliom plus pixels in any sort of a quality manner can not be cheap. until we get to true laser light sources. Then it might be possible to approach the cost and quality of the lenses on cheap 1080p projectors. But if you think true laser light souces can be done for a cheap projector, I would say Huh? Don't take this as an attack. I just don't accept your reason for the exits.

no not at all. i'm saying that progress is always made from the top down. and if they aren't revamping the top of the line, then nothing progresses all the way down the line.

if we use JVC as an example(only because they have a pretty simple and straightforward line up), nothing changed with the entry level x35 this year, and I have to believe that's because very little changed with the x95. if all of a sudden a companies cheapest projector is the same as it's mid level stuff, that's just not going to work.

i'm not saying benq is going to have a 1500 dollar UHD projector next year, not even trying to hint at it. i'm just saying companies that aren't comfortable making ultra expensive projectors to 'test the UHD waters' are probably in a stall period to see what their next move should be. it wouldn't make sense to dump a ton of money into getting an extra 5% contrast out of a 1080p projector if 1080p projectors are going to be viewed as obsolete soon. for the time being, it makes sense to make small advancements, and fewer new products until the market decides to adopt UHD or not.

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post #12 of 33 Old 10-13-2013, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

I agree with your statement. I don't finger the blame on TI completely because their only duty is to make money and they feel they would lose if they invested in further DLP research and development and production for the HT market. Further, if they made the same 4K chips available to the HT market as they do for the commercial theater market, they would have to substantially lower prices for the HT market and this I think would force a lowering of prices for the commercial market with a loss of a great profit maker in that market. Maybe they could sell pout to somebody who thought they could make money by addressing both markets. I am sure a conglomerate of manufacturers could get together and make some sort of offer TI couldn't refuse if they felt the economics were there. I doubt however the economics would be favorable.

It doesn't need to be the same chip, just one that outperforms the .95" DC4 DMD. Obviously though the DMD has little to do with overall contrast. More importantly the lamp, light path and optical design play a far more important part in the overall contrast potential. What TI could do is put R&D into a full light path/optical design and sell them much like they do DMDs. They could tier the designs like they do with graded DMDs with their highest native contrast design being the most expensive. TI has put out several white papers on what light path and optical designs perform best. So they've obviously done a little bit of homework on this front already. If they could design something with 6000-8000:1 native on/off that would be amazing. This is about what Sony's SXRD designs do natively. Sim2 has proven this to be possible with current 1080p DC3 and DC4 light path and optical design. A new slightly higher performing DMD could make those on/off numbers a much easier reality. The manufacturer from there could focus a lot more of their R&D money into DI algorithms. A good DI that boosts contrast 3-4x would yield anywhere from 18000-32000:1 on/off contrast. That tied together with with very high ANSI contrast, great motion resolution/performance, and flawless 3D that DLP is known for already would make the technology VERY competitive again.

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post #13 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 04:55 AM
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It not a question of deciding not to show at Cedia. Its an issue of not developing anything new or just exiting the market for HT or even a broader exit.

I was thinking of the likes of BenQ and Optoma, IIRC they were basically no-shows at CEDIA, but they've had new models out this year already, and will probably have more to come. But neither company really caters to the CEDIA market anymore, they are more focused on the internet/mail order business, so why would they chose to spend time/effort/cost at a "big" CEDIA presence.

FWIW, this all sort of reminds me of Louis C.K.'s comments, everything is amazing and nobody's happy wink.gif

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post #14 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 05:16 AM
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BenQ I don't think ever shows at Cedia. I have seen Optoma at Cedia perhaps once or twice. Nothing recently. To exhibit like a big boy at Cedia is very very expensive. A small table doesn't accomplishment much. Most dealers of Optoma HT projectors get them from distributors like AVAD.. Optoma occasionally has demoes for dealers at AVAD.

Cedia has very much become a show for press and crashing consumers. There are dealers attending but there numbers are small compared to consumers and press. Many of us here are press without press credentials. This is our rag, AV Science Forum, and our posts are its columns.

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post #15 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 06:49 AM
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My take on the topic...

 

  • State of the art is now a commodity. With high performance 1080p and 3D regularly under $900 it's compete on price not features for mainstream buyers.
  • What little market there is for multiple times more expense projectors (with little relative gain in performance) will only justify the additional expense after research and finding the best.

 

Manufacturers who can't offer the lowest price and those who can't produce the best for a higher price end up without any market... they simply can't compete. Now I realize the BenQ W1070 isn't state of the art although at the same time it offers a level of performance few can justify spending more. Those willing to pay more performance wins over pricing and only a few models can be the best. Even before the number of projectors have been reduced the related threads on AVS had been reduced to the perceived best performers. If I'm going to pay a premium I'm getting the best...

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post #16 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post
 

My take on the topic...

 

  • State of the art is now a commodity. With high performance 1080p and 3D regularly under $900 it's compete on price not features for mainstream buyers.
  • What little market there is for multiple times more expense projectors (with little relative gain in performance) will only justify the additional expense after research and finding the best.

 

Manufacturers who can't offer the lowest price and those who can't produce the best for a higher price end up without any market... they simply can't compete. Now I realize the BenQ W1070 isn't state of the art although at the same time it offers a level of performance few can justify spending more. Those willing to pay more performance wins over pricing and only a few models can be the best. Even before the number of projectors have been reduced the related threads on AVS had been reduced to the perceived best performers. If I'm going to pay a premium I'm getting the best...

 

I think this is closer to the truth; "State of the art is now a commodity."  You get a lot of projector for your dollar today.  Two or three thousand dollars spent on a projector today will best what you could get for ten to fifteen thousand dollars ten years ago.  And ten to fifteen thousand dollars today will fully equip (screen, speakers, receiver, etc) a home with a reasonably good home theater experience.

 

The margins are probably just not there for a good many CE companies to spend time and money competing.

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post #17 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 09:53 AM
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at the end of any competition, only the strongest remain.

maybe that's just what we're seeing. the weak are being eliminated. like many have said, the competition for a 'good' projector in the 1000-1500 range is very strong right now. an ok projector won't cut it at that range anymore. if the 1070 is the budget measuring stick, why would anybody buy a projector that cost more than that unless it delivered noticeably better performance. so companies can either release a better projector for the same or less money, or just give up.

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post #18 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 11:36 AM
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Sounds like you found your projector.

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post #19 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 11:44 AM
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A new slightly higher performing DMD could make those on/off numbers a much easier reality. The manufacturer from there could focus a lot more of their R&D money into DI algorithms. A good DI that boosts contrast 3-4x would yield anywhere from 18000-32000:1 on/off contrast. That tied together with with very high ANSI contrast, great motion resolution/performance, and flawless 3D that DLP is known for already would make the technology VERY competitive again.

We already have that. It's called a Lumis Solo 3D. It's just not in a price range most people can afford. eek.gif

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The new Super Lumis now has an MSRP of $60K with a T1 or T2 lens.

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post #21 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 12:52 PM
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It's only money - you can always make more ! smile.gif

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post #22 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 01:14 PM
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Its time for you to upgrade to the Super. We drum up enough interest here and I sure we could do an old fashioned power buy. Remember those days?

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post #23 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 01:34 PM
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We are doing a DPI M - Vision Cine 1000 LED power buy Mark ! wink.gif

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I'd rather have a Super Lumis and so would you. If you get one, I will get a CA divorce attorney I know to handle your divorce for pennies on the dollar because that would be all you would have left after the divorce. smile.gif

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post #25 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 01:49 PM
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I would be willing to 'slum it' with a plain old 3D Solo... cool.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #26 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 01:55 PM
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I'm in the tent city with my 1000ES.

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post #27 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 02:07 PM
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I've always been amazed that massive companies like Sony and Panasonic ever cared to go after the very niche HT projector market, even if the margins can be fairly high.

With JVC, I get it. Then there are companies that basically only make projectors, like Optoma, that can leverage their expertise in just generally making projectors to cater to the niche markets.

Has Sharp announced anything new? If not, I have a feeling they could be next to go.
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post #28 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 02:09 PM
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I think they are already gone from the HT market.

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post #29 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 02:59 PM
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If a company is going to release a projector this day and age it has to be sub $1500, or $5000 and be damn near perfect for its technology.
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post #30 of 33 Old 10-14-2013, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombie10k View Post

I would be willing to 'slum it' with a plain old 3D Solo... cool.gifbiggrin.gif

I take you want Craig's hand me downs. smile.gif

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