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Barco lends its expertise on the future of projection

Leading visualisation technology developer Barco has outlined three important trends in projector market. Goran Stojmenovik, product manager and Bram Dieryckx, director product management, took the opportunity to jointly answer the questions we put to them on the topics which include solid-state laser/hybrid projection technology and where the most profitable verticals lie.

Projector technology is evolving with laser/hybrid light sources, in what verticals are lamped projectors still dominating and how are lamp-based projector manufacturers responding to the laser/hybrid technology? Are they adding value in any way?

Lamped projectors are currently dominating in every vertical. Globally speaking, laser projection is still in its infancy and is only starting to make inroads on the projection market this year. Depending on the product implementation (but not by default), solid state illumination could bring the benefit of constant brightness, long lifetime, higher uniformity, better colors, lower power consumption etc. These are the values that lamped projectors have to fight with. Next to possible lamp price decrease, we expect lamp suppliers to continue increasing lumen output and efficiency. However, taken the long history of lamps, the improvements in lamp quality would probably only be small and stepwise. So there is a real opportunity for laser projection, and we still have to see how the cost/benefit equation will play out in favor of laser projection.

What trends do you see developing in the projection technology landscape?

One of the trends is solid-state illumination. LED-based illumination has made inroads several years ago, but still has to prove it can provide higher lumen levels. Laser-based illumination has also existed for several years, but only this year have we seen a heightened level of product announcements and potential increased market footprint. There is still a long way to go however.

A second trend is higher resolution, for example 4K or UHDTV. While 4K projectors have existed for some years, primarily for the digital cinema and technical markets, fueled by the consumer electronics’ drive to UHDTV, there is renewed interest in 4K projectors and we will see 4K projectors coming out on the market. A third trend is increasing levels of interaction and connectivity with the projector – in terms of collaboration, video over IP, or control. All of these trends together are bound to bring a more immersive professional environment where projectors are used: better, sharper and more realistic picture on one side, and seamless integration with intuitive collaboration tools on the other side.

What’s the most buoyant market for projector sales currently – geographically and by vertical?

One of the major markets for projection in Barco has been the Digital Cinema market. Although this is a declining market with the conversion from analog to digital being completed, it is still a very important market for us. Over the last 5 years, we have managed to capture the majority of the digital cinema market, capturing more than 50% of the market in 2013 and making us global market leader in this segment. We have been expanding our portfolio with a complete new range of installation projectors in the 4.000 to 10.000 lumen segment with the Present-series and are also expanding the range of compact, high resolution projectors with the F-series and we believe we can substantially expand our sales in these segments.