@Airion, projectors that work all day and night are not happening. I'm sorry, it just isn't. Any surface that's reflective enough to display the image is reflective enough to display the light in the room. This is not some inconvenience that will be overcome. I'd be curious, but I doubt most people would find even a 10,000 lumen projector to be adequate as a TV on a Sunday afternoon with some sun coming in, etc. Get a screen and things change. Get an exotic screen and they change more. (Even basic screens can limit angles of reflection.)
I think your belief that there's a market for people to buy $500 projectors for their dorm rooms is amusing. Maybe such a market exists at order of magnitude 100k units/year. I doubt it, but maybe.
@dovercat, at no point in this conversation did I even suggest that (1) 152" panels were ever going to be mainstream anywhere (2) current technology is what we should limit our discussion to (if we did that, we could rule out projectors forever). I suggest you actually read my post. I also suggest you note that today's 65" plasma weighs less than my 5 year old 50" plasma. Today's 70" LCD weighs less than today's 65" plasma. There is actual, real progress there. Not fictitious progress, which is mostly what LEDs are "delivering".
The fact that a viable 75w LED standard bulb is still not on the market (coming this fall, allegedly) speaks volumes about how fast the theoretical progress is vs. what's actually happening. As eat meat says, there's a disconnect between hype and reality. I really don't care what you all think is going to happen any more than you care what I think is going to happen. My prediction is out there, a prediction that's 10x as high is out there.
When DLP started to die off in RPTV, the DLP people desperately tried to recast it as a gaming solution, with twin-view displays for two gamers. Then it was 3D. The projector people do the same thing. What's old becomes new again -- and again. It's pretty funny. I found an item from 2001:
"InFocus has stated that in 2001, 1.1 million business projectors will be sold worldwide, but only 70K to 90K front home theater projectors will sell in this same period. Almost all of these sales are going into expensive installations....
What will open up the home theater, or Living Room Theater market, is the big question that everyone is asking now. After talking with many players in this field, there is consensus for three things:
1) The price of projectors needs to be less than $3,000
2) Ordinary consumers need to be educated about living room theater and its benefits
3) Consumer distribution channels need to be established to move systems into homes
If this can happen, the prize could be huge. InFocus sees 2002 as an introductory year for lower-price products targeted for a mass market, but by 2003, 500K units could be sold, growing to 1 million units by 2005. If that happens, the home theater market will be as big as today's business projection market. That's why so many companies are scrambling to figure out a strategy to capture market share.
The $3,000 price point is believed to be the point where middle-income consumers begin to look at front projection systems seriously. This price is toward the high end of the sweet spot in big screen rear-projection TVs, so the idea would be to offer an alternative solution.
The benefits of a front projection solution include a much larger screen size and no big TV system taking up valuable floor space. The potential down side is the cabling and set up that can be required and the need for an expensive screen.
Clearly, ceiling mounted systems that require digital video feeds and power are beyond the comfort level of most consumers. A coffee table solution is preferred, but cabling is still an issue. Wireless solutions are being discussed and may come to market. But these will add cost.
Educating consumers about Living Room Theater will be challenging too. Most consumer stores that sell big-screen TVs today are not well suited for displaying and selling front projection systems. In the home, the room is darkened where the projector is used, which is not the case in large electronics stores. So how can it best be demonstrated - in specially built living room showrooms? Perhaps, but this has been the territory of the high-end AV dealers and custom installers.
How to bring home projectors to market is another question. Business projectors are sold through the PRO A/V and PC channels. Home theater products through specialty AV and custom installer channels, and big screen TVs through electronics super stores and other outlets. Direct sale via the Internet is also becoming viable.
If Living Room Theater is to be a mass consumer market, many think it will likely have to be sold the way big-screen TVs are. The problem is that most manufacturers of projection products have little presence in these distribution channels. If companies come to market using some of the specialty AV dealers, it will take a lot of manpower to manage these small-scale outlets. But using distributors quickly stacks up margins. Solving these issues will take time."
Boy, does it ever take time. First of all, the price blew through $3000 (1). As for (2), education, I think people know the stuff is out there -- they just don't care. As for (3), well, TVs are sold on the internet, in specialty retail, they have no problem selling. Projectors are there, but, again, no one cares.
So how did thinks materialize in terms of home use matching business use? I'm so glad you asked! It's been 10 years since the above report, so what's news?
"According to Quixel Research, the projector industry will experience a 6% drop in revenue this year - but there are some bright spots.
Opportunities Dot Slowing Front Projector Market
By Greg Tarr -- TWICE, 6/20/2011
NEW YORK — So far this year, the market for hometheater- focused front projectors, like many other CE categories, is growing at slower-than-expected levels, but analysts and manufacturers are seeing pockets of new opportunities emerging in certain markets, namely the highend market and the low-end combo DVD market....
Quixel said the home-theater projector market last year shipped 150,899 (units) for $306 million in factory dollar value. It is forecasting dollar volume to drop 6 percent to about $287 million in 2011...On the home-theater projector side, Tamaryn Pratt, Quixel Research principal, said unit sales are up about 3 percent over 2010 levels at this time.
That article goes on to talk about LEDs, and "significant adoption" if LED hits $6000-7000. So by "significant adoption", they mean 10s of thousands of units, of course. While I'd be foolish to say today's $8000 LED projector can't be $800 in 5 years -- heck, I showed the 97.5% price declines for plasma -- it's worth noting that average selling prices for projectors haven't fallen nearly as far and it's pretty clear a good part of the reason is that lower prices don't meaningfully stimulate demand.
So in 10 years, the market for home theater projection has doubled. It currently represents <1/2% of the U.S. TV market and if we were to include those college kids watching TV on their laptops, that percentage would be smaller still. (Aside, the dollar value of the home theater projector market has declined every single year since 2006.)
Could this market share double to 1% over the next few years? Yes, I'm sure it could. I've said it could. Of course, sales are currently going in the opposite direction. "Home-theater sales are going down" said Frank Romeo, Casio's Vice President for projectors. Quixel had sales up 3% year over year, which is better than a kick in the pants, but over 5 years, even 5% compounded is <30% over 5 years. The trends don't look favorable.
Epilogue: Before going bankrupt, Infocus was taken private in 2009 for $39 million. It has ~110 employees at this point and is a tiny shell of its former self. The non-emergence of the home projector market did not help matters, obviously.
Epilogue 2: It appears sales spiked up a bunch, unit-wise, in 2010 when lower-cost 1080p became available. Since there is no follow on this year, it's reasonable to conclude a lot of those sales are replacements for dedicated rooms/spaces with permanent mountings. So unit growth softness from here is not entirely surprising. I'd say 2012 data would be interesting, but it really won't be unless for some reason there is a breakout to the upside of 30%.
Epilogue 3: From Display Search, "the pocket projector market is currently dominated by stand-alone devices, which can be connected to other devices, and allow for additional integrated functions. DisplaySearch forecasts the stand-alone pocket projector will reach 45 million units and $8.9 billion in 2018." Good news! $200 projectors will sell tons of units worldwide in 2018 according to people who also predicted great things for other technologies that failed to happen... But wait. Are these TV replacements? I suppose some of them could be. Not many, but some.
Epilogue 4: But wait, Pacific Media seems to think Display Search is onto something (not clear exactly what): "PMA estimates that the 8.5 million units sold during 2010 will increase to more than 39 million units during 2015. The forecast includes all projectors, from tiny pico projectors used as companion devices for mobile gadgets to the brightest projectors found in high-end corporate settings, home theaters, and digital cinemas."
"PMA divides the industry into three brightness ranges, each associated with its own set of buyer types and applications: New Era (under 500 lumens), Mainstream (500 to 4999 lumens), and High-End (5000 or more lumens)."
"The Mainstream range comprises models of types that have been used for many years in classrooms and corporations. These projectors range in size from ones small enough to be carried by road warriors to ones that are mounted on a ceiling or a wall. This range also includes the fast-growing interactive projectors and ultra-short-throw projectors The Mainstream range is expected to grow from about 7 million units in 2010 to about 11.5 million units in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 10%."
D'oh!. Clearly sub 500 lumen units are not replacing TVs. Again, I'm not saying that market is zero, but it's asymptotically approaching zero (you want 100k units annually? I think you're nuts, but I'll give it to you). Too bad the mainstream units are only growing 10% and that includes all sorts of non-home uses.
One real takeaway from these overly optimistic forecasts by DisplaySearch and PMA (they get paid by mfrs. so they often overstate massive markets, especially when using such small starting data), no one is talking about a TV replacement market. There are scores of projector mfrs., several market research firms, big juicy future forecasts (well, some, the home-theater forecasts could only be described as bleak) and yet no one is talking about replacing TVs.
Clearly, though, the above analysis continues to prove two things:
a) I have no idea what I'm talking about and I engage in nothing but wild speculation
b) Nothing that's happened over the past decade backs me up
There's a saying about "everything in moderation". If only it was applied to well, you know...