LEDs have already hit a wall. They aren't getting brighter, certainly not very much. The gap between the Philips 60w equivalent bulb (12.5w) original and the L-Prize one (10w) is tiny. And that pretty much reflects the state of things in LEDs. Sorry. (Part of the reasons is that LEDs in the lab are quite literally approaching the theoretical limit of efficiency
, as in, you will never be able to do any better because you are doing as well as is possible under the laws of this universe. The theoretical limit is around 263 lm/W, products in the marketplace are at about half that. You will never see products that are precisely at the theoretical limit.)
And in projectors it's worse, because etendue
doesn't go away. This means you can only place so many LEDs together to form a point source of light in a small space. Sorry, again, can't repeal physics.
None of this fixes screens either. Screens that are cheap reflect room light. Sony tried a non-room-reflecting screen a few years ago. Commercial failure and high cost. There was a Scandanavian screen that was gorgeous. High cost, too. You will not be able to make a cheap screen that reflects only your LED projector's light but not room light. Therefore, you will not have a high-contrast image and what makes LCDs so freaking great is that they offer a high-contrast image on a sunny afternoon, with the lights up, whenever.
Incidentally, projectors are continuing to sell pretty much not at all
to U.S. consumers, even though sales have bumped up a bit on the low-end vs. the dismal 2nd quarter. Here's a graph denominated in dollars.
While the cratering of Q2 is over, sales are still below where they were in 2011
! Oh, and we are talking about this size of a market: Last year was about $330 million, this year is on track to be smaller. This is for all projectors
, including the $30,000 models. So let's just take a ridiculous optimistic set of numbers and assume we are talking an ASP of $1500 (it's probably higher since if you think about it, even one $10,000 projector would pull up the average quite a bit). That's a total of about 220,000 units in the U.S. on the high end (again, it's probably more like half that). That's against 37+ million flat-panel sales for the U.S.
So this bogus trend is accounting for under 1/2 of one perecent
of TV sales and has managed this kind of number for the better part of a decade. It hasn't accelerated because of low-brightness, crap-quality LED projectors. Instead, 70" flat panels have broken the $2000 barrier
in 2012 -- not terribly far from what it would cost to buy a projector and a screen and have them installed in such a way to make them behave like a television.
As we deepen this thread, we continue to answer the question the same way we started it:
Will low-cost LED projectors displace LCD and plasmas???Resoundingly no