According to market research company Pacific Media Associates (PMA), the worldwide front projector market grew 13% in the first calendar quarter of 2011 from its level in the first quarter of 2010.
PMA divides the front projector industry into three brightness ranges, each associated with its own set of buyer types and applications: New Era (under 500 lumens), Mainstream (500 to 4,999 lumens), and High-End (5,000 or more lumens). Each of the three experienced very different year/year growth rates during the first quarter, reflecting their relative sizes and ages: the newest and smallest in revenue terms, New Era was up an impressive 95%; the oldest and biggest, Mainstream was up only 3%; and the intermediate High-End was up 29%.
But, says PMA, even though the Mainstream range as a whole grew slowly, there was considerable change in the product mix within it. “The hottest part of this range in recent quarters has been short-throw projectors – including the emerging interactive models – used heavily in education classrooms,” said Dr. William Coggshall, president of Pacific Media Associates. “And within short-throw, it is the ultra short throw range – that is, projectors with a throw ratio less than 0.38, that are growing the fastest. The ultra-short-throw segment doubled its share from 2010’s first quarter to 2011’s first quarter.”
PMA also found strong Mainstream growth in the widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) WXGA resolution, as it increased from just under 10% to 13.5% of the market. “This is a significant change in a mostly slow-changing range,” said Coggshall. “It came at the expense of the more traditional 4:3 aspect ratio SVGA and XGA resolutions. With its greater number of pixels it gives users a better viewing experience, and with its higher prices it benefits manufacturers.”