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Kayye's Krystal Ball for 2005

Prodigious prognosticator first reviews his 2004 predictions By Gary Kayye, CTS
Its back.

Welcome to my sixth annual Krystal Ball feature article about predictions for the upcoming year for Professional AV technology, trends and products. If youre a regular reader of this column, then you know that each year I actually start by reviewing my predictions from last years column. Then, after the humbling experience of taking the time to rate how I did in predicting the trends of 2004, I will jump into my predictions for 2005.

Lets get started?

A Review of 2004

The DLP systems projector and the shortage of LCD: Well, there wasnt a shortage of LCD in the US, only in Europe and Asia. I predicted this shortage because of Sonys announcement that they were only going to make raw LCD solely for their own company, but in mid-2004, they backed off that claim and production of LCDs continued for almost all their partners. Still, the DLP systems projectors are certainly a hit. Prior to 2004, the systems market was dominated by the 3-panel LCD projector, and it all started with Proximas original ProAV line. That continued with LCD products from NEC, InFocus, Sanyo and Christie. But, here come the DLPs. Virtually every projector manufacturer in the market either already has a systems projector using TIs DLP technology or is readying one for introduction. The best ones out there right now are from HP (who, unfortunately and for the most part, is not selling via ProAV dealers), NEC, and InFocus, and this trend will continue. There is no question that the market share of LCD in the systems market will start to erode in 2005.

The $1,500, 2000 ANSI lumen projector: 2004 brought us a plethora of sub-$1000 projectors, but more importantly, the sub-$1,500, 2000+ ANSI lumen projector made its debut Dell. In fact, Dell is currently rated as one of the worlds top projector manufacturers/resellers by most of the market analysts. But thats not all. In fact, although the MSRP is in the $1,700-$1,800 range for more than 15 models of 2000+ lumen projectors out there, the real selling price is averaging less than $1,400. So, Dells not alone in this. InFocus, Boxlight, Canon, HP, Megapower, Toshiba and ViewSonic all have 2000-2300 ANSI lumen projectors that sell for well less that $1,500.

So, what does this all mean? Well, the message here is that the projector is no longer something that the ProAV systems integrator can hope to be the breadwinner. Its done. Its dead. The systems projector is now what the box-sales projector has always been a commodity. But, not all is doom and gloom -- the message is clear. They can sell them on the Internet, you can buy them on the Internet but the Internet cant hang them or connect them and certainly cant control them. 

The bright 16:9 projector: Finally! I have been begging for years for a bright 16:9 aspect ratio projector for meeting rooms and home theaters, and 2004 was THE year for that. We started the year with a few 1100 ANSI lumen 16:9 meeting room projectors and we are ending it with almost 20 of them! And, for those of you who read the point I just made above, heres the Holy Grail for projector integrators these bright 16:9 projectors are all still chock full of margin. The average MSRP of these 16:9 projectors is well over $15,000 and there are viable, sellable reasons for integrating 16:9 projectors instead of 4:3 projectors in almost every meeting room application on earth not the least of which is that every computer manufacturer has already said that their standard graphics outputs will be 16:9 within a few years. So, if youre integrating what you think are future-proof systems today with 4:3 projectors, think again.

More lens-less projectors: NEC introduced the industrys first, and still the only, lens-less projector back in late 2003. Whats the big deal? It can project a 100 diagonal image sitting less than 24-inches away from the screen! It didnt ship until 2004 and maybe thats the reason that no one else has emulated it yet, but I am truly dumbfounded by this one. Sure, there are a host of rear-screen enclosures with shallow-depth projection systems the best known being InFocus 61 diagonal projection system thats less than 7 deep. But, why no front screen? Well, in checking with all the projector companies out there, three admit they are working on them and expected to have them in 2005. But, seven companies said they are working on large-format, thin rear-screen systems.

More integrated systems from projector manufacturers: 3M started this in 2003 with their WallDisplay technology that incorporates a projection system and whiteboard all in one. Dukane jumped in as well. Now, Dell with their self-anointed, prepackaged Educational Systems. As margins on projectors continue to erode, watch as many projector manufacturers jump on this in 2005. 

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Related Keywords:Gary Kayye, predictions 2005, DLP, projectors, ProAV, InFocus, NEC, Krystal Ball feature article, Professional AV technology, trends

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