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Lasers, LED will continue to grow as projection light sources

Projectors using innovative and/or hybrid light sources such as Casio's XJ-M255 (pictured) will become increasingly commonplace, according to the latest forecast.

Projector market researcher Pacific Media Associates (PMA) has released its latest quarterly projector industry forecast updates. These, says PMA, are enhanced versions of its previous quarterly reports, as they include the industry’s first detailed illumination forecast (for all product ranges) of the projector industry and shows how they are affected by the different types of solid-state illumination technologies coming to market.

PMA divides the front projector industry into three brightness ranges, each associated with its own set of buyer types and applications: New Era (sub-500 lumens), Mainstream (500-4999 lumens), and High End (5000+ lumens).

In the New Era range (pico, personal and toy/game projectors), use of LED light engines is expected to grow by 40% this year and next. In the Mainstream range, use of laser and LED illumination is expected to increase in unit sales by more than 50% in 2012. Shipments of laser/LED hybrid models are forecast to grow modestly this year, and then are expected to grow by more than 40% each year during 2013-2015. Shipments of laser-illuminated units are expected to begin in 2013 for the High-End and d-Cinema ranges. In 2014, PMA anticipates a growth rate of more than 80% for the High-End laser models and nearly double for the Digital Cinema laser models.

PMA’s quarterly forecast also identifies the anticipated growth of relatively inexpensive, medium-throw projectors (i.e., ones with a throw ratio¬ of lens-to-screen distance divided by the screen width ¬of 0.38 to <0.75).

“While outlook for ultra-short-throw projectors – i.e., ones with a throw ratio less than 0.38 – is still very promising,” said Michael Abramson, PMA’s VP of Projector Research, “there are a lot more medium-throw projectors coming to market that allow big-screen viewing from up-close distances — in the office, in the classroom, and even in the home — all at budget-friendly prices”.

Unit shipments of medium-throw projectors are expected to increase by nearly 20% each year during 2012-2014, while the average street price for these projectors predicted to drop by more than 50% by 2016.

The PMA forecast also anticipates a different shift in resolution mix for each of the three brightness ranges in the coming years. For New Era projectors, 720p units are expected to start shipping in 2012, with 1080p units expected to ship in 2013. For the Mainstream range, 2012 shipments of WUXGA (1920×1200 pixels) and Above-WUXGA are anticipated to grow by more than 30% and by more than 70% from 2011, respectively. PMA also forecasts solid growth in 2K and 4K resolutions for the High-End range (non- Digital Cinema).