Source of light

There are manufacturers who have adopted solid state illumination, manufacturers who will be adopting it in the near future and manufacturers who still reserve judgement. Hurrairah bin Sohail talks to the industry players to see if one light source is definitively better than the others.

Projectors have always been an important segment of the display market. But in recent times, they have faced competition from flat panel displays which are vying for business in a number of applications that were considered solely the projector’s domain. However, its seems that, due to their specific features and characteristics, projectors have been holding strong.

Siew Jin Kiat, who is the general manager for inkjet & laser printers and visual instrument division at Epson Southeast Asia, comments on the advantages of projection over flat panels: “In some market segments for certain applications, a 40-inch flat panel screen will suffice. But for any display up to 60-inch or greater, on an image per area basis projectors will be more cost efficient. The benefits of projectors over flat panel displays, which many think has negatively impacted projectors, include the ability to deal with reflections and the fact that they are easier on the eye. The projector segment is still quite healthy.”

Asia has also been variously pinpointed as a market that still represents much opportunity for projector manufacturers.

Richard Marples, strategic marketing director for venues and attractions at Barco, says: “The Asian market is buoyant and if you look at the latest data coming from people like InfoComm and Pacific Media Associates or other forecasting agencies, they all show a healthy market. In fact Asia is now bigger than the American market for projectors in total and has been very strong for the last few years.”

Numbers don’t lie and Alan Ang, who is the head of ITS, document solutions and new business product and solution marketing at Ricoh Asia Pacific, offer more: “As we see in FutureSource’s projector market demand forecast emerging countries in Asia, including China, India and others, are leading the growth for demand by around 5 percent to 30 percent as we proceed towards 2017. China’s demand is expected to grow from 1,760,000 units in 2013 to 1,870,000 units in 2017. India’s demand is expected to grow from 216,000 units in 2013 to 291,000 units by 2017.”

In addition to the growing demand from emerging markets, developed markets too are fertile ground for projector manufacturers. Lawrence Tang, senior manager and head of presentation display department and visual presentation solutions marketing division at Sony, says: “The projection and display market has been growing with Asia’s robust economic strength especially in developed markets where customers are investing in projectors that are able to deliver higher resolution images and brightness.”

The important part to note is the demand from developed countries for projectors able to provide higher resolution images and higher brightness. Since their inception, projectors have functioned with the help of a built-in lamp, a mechanic that they still employ. According to Gordon Tay, vice president of Digital Projection Asia: “Traditional lamp based projectors command at least 95 percent of total global sales as it is a tried and trusted illumination technology that has been around for many years.”

Marples from Barco gives similar reasons as to why lamp based projectors are popular: “The lamp is a very well-known technology. It has been around since the invention of projectors and it is what we have always used until now. Relatively, it is also very cheap especially when you go towards the lower end of brightness levels where you can use the typical UHP lamps.”

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