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2004 Predictions: Mid-Year Review

How well did Gary do? By Gary Kayye, CTS

It's that time of year again. The year is half way over and it's time to review my 2004 predictions.

Each December I write a "crystal ball-style" article that addresses products, technologies and trends that I believe will make an impact in the upcoming year. And, each year, about half way through the year, I take the opportunity to review the year's predictions and see how well (or badly) I'm doing so far.

So, here it goes: The 2004 Predictions

The DLP systems projector and the shortage of LCD: They're here. DLP systems projectors are now available from virtually every DLP projector manufacturer and, believe it or not, there is a trend toward putting in $2,500 DLP projectors in the ceilings of meeting rooms. Although the shortage of LCD hasn't yet materialized, there is no question that it is still a concern. And, prices are not falling at the high-end systems segment of the market at the rate that they were in 2002 and 2003 - some of this could be due to the economy but most is due to availability. Supplies aren't short, but manufacturers are selling just about all they can get, quickly. However, at the low-end of the market, they are - more on that later.

The $1,500, 2000 ANSI lumen projector: We are just about there. So far, InFocus and Boxlight are the closest with a $1,699, 2000 lumen projector and the so-called education market has a few already available to them at that price, but the mass market won't see that price point for the 2K lumen projector until November.

The bright 16:9 projector: Until the end of 2003, the only 16:9 aspect ratio projectors you could find were for the home and were not that bright (averaging 1100 lumens). But now, with Christie, InFocus, Runco and Sanyo leading the pack all with 2200-plus lumen, 16:9 aspect ratio LCD and DLP projector available for BOTH the HomeAV and the ProAV markets, that's no longer an issue. And there are more coming - watch for NEC, Sony and Mitsubishi all to ship 2000-plus lumen wide-screen projectors by year's end.  

More integrated systems from projector manufacturers: Crestron with MediaManager, Extron with MediaLink, SP Controls, Smart Technologies, 3M, Dukane and now Sony all have room systems targeted at either the ProAV market of the HomeAV market. This trend will continue to grow in 2004 with more projector manufacturers heading that way.

50"+ LCD Monitors: Well, they're here. We finally have 50"-plus LCD monitors, albeit selectively. So we will soon see a battle ensue between LCD and plasma like we have not had yet. So far, plasma has dominated the flat-panel display market with LCD taking a portion of the 40" market, but limited availability, cost and size have been factors inhibiting applications. Now with a plethora of 50"-plus LCDs available in Q3 of 2004 and more coming in Q4 and in 2005, there is no question that next year we will see prices that are comparable between the two technologies. But another interesting market that I didn't predict last year has been the surge of thin DLPs that are now so popular in the HomeAV market making their way into the ProAV market. Companies like InFocus, Clarity and even Zenith/LG have introduced 6" thin 60"-plus DLP rear-screen projection systems that are suddenly a hit. Watch this trend closely as it will be replicated.

Wireless DVD and Video: This is not yet ready for prime time, totally. Come November of this year, you will see a couple of main-stream networking companies introduce wireless video signal transmission systems for both computer data and system video applications. Right now, systems that convert all signals to Cat5e are becoming very popular due to their simplification of signal routing and distribution, but when this stuff is available wirelessly, this market will change, drastically - as we all know. Note: Although wireless data and video are not yet ready for primetime, signal control of those players via a network is. This is something that will hit the home market this summer and the pro market later in the year.

The Pocket Projector: Although not totally pocket projectors, InFocus is dominating this arena with an InFocus-branded product, an ASK branded and a Proxima branded sub-2-pound projector. All are DLP, of course, and boast a light output of about 1000 ANSI lumens. Though not a pocket-sized projector just yet, it's all up to TI to push this design into a finished product that would near the 1-pound marker.

The newest AV manufacturers: 2004 has brought us a wave of Chinese and Korean made products that have pushed prices down, again, and should be watched carefully. And it happened with a few key well-known brands. Dell, Gateway and HP all have Chinese or Korean made products in their line-up and there's no question that, at least in the case of Dell and Gateway, these brands are having an effect on price - at the low-end of the market.

Finally, I predicted that 2004 would be a growth market for the ProAV market and that the early majority buyer would dominate the purchases of everything from boxes to systems. Well, this is definitely the case. Technology and the results of new technology (the buying trait of the early adopter) are not the leading buyer traits any longer. Now, buyers are not buying based on technology or because of technology, but because of need - early majority buyers. What this means is that other things sell products and systems - other than technology. Things like size, weight, simplicity, packaging, and availability - not necessarily quality. Sure, we care about quality, as we all want something that works, but something that works good enough, is easy to use and is affordable is what leads the buyer to buy ProAV gear now. It's all changing.


Gary Kayye, CTS is Chief Visionary at Kayye Consulting, Inc., a Chapel Hill, NC-based marketing consulting firm that serves the ProAV and Home Theater markets. In addition to strategic marketing consulting, Kayye Consulting, Inc. is also a training development company. Gary can be reached via e-mail at gkayye@kayye.com or through his Web site at www.kayye.com.

Reprinted with permission from Sound & Communications magazine.


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Gary Kayye, CTS is Chief Visionary at Kayye Consulting, Inc., a Chapel Hill, NC-based marketing consulting firm that serves the ProAV and Home Theater markets. In addition to strategic marketing consulting, Kayye Consulting, Inc. is also a training development company. Gary can be reached via e-mail at gkayye@kayye.com or through his Web site at www.kayye.com.
Related Keywords:ProAV, Gary Kayye, CTS, crystal ball, products, technologies, trends, predictions, DLP, 2000 lumens, LCD monitors, Wireless DVD, pocket projector

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