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Projector Boom 2004: Market Growth Of 50%

Supersize Your TV for $300: Build Your Own XGA Projector!

Very few segments of the electronics market are developing quite as quickly as projectors, as they make the final switch from a niche market to large-scale business. 2004 is expected to see growth in the market of up to 50 percent. Incentives for the purchase of projectors include sporting events such as the Olympics and Formula 1 racing and, increasingly, DVD films.

That said, projectors of whatever type are still not take-home products. With prices starting at $500, starter models come with a low VGA resolution, coupled with low contrast and brightness and a steady loud hum. Devices with SVGA resolution are available from $800, in a few cases in cutting-edge 16:9 format. Prices for projectors with XGA resolution - like our homemade system - start at about $1,300. Good high-end devices with contrast ratios of 5,000:1 will set you back more than $2,500.

At the same time, household projectors are becoming hugely popular. They are replacing the classic TV, with home-cinema fans fixing devices to the ceiling and setting up a separate movie room.

The huge drop in prices of accompanying peripherals such as DVD players, digital TV tuners, combined with the first showings of HDTV programs, is stimulating equal demand in both the business and home-cinema segments. At the same time, a dramatic drop in the prices of DVD media has now greatly boosted their use and circulation.

Manufacturer Market share (as at Q2/2004)
Epson 9%
NEC 8%
Toshiba 7%
Sanyo 7%
Infocus 6.5%
Sharp 6.2%
Sony 6.2%
Hitachi 6%
BenQ 6%
Philips 5.9%

There are basic differences in the display technology offered by different manufacturers: DLP and LCD. The latter is marketed and developed by Epson, the current market leader in projector sales. Texas Instruments developed DLP reflector technology, and many companies have recently started using it in their projectors. Intel is planning a quantum leap with its LCoS chip technology, taking on resolutions in HDTV format (1920x1080 pixels) right from the get-go. This technology is not, however, ready to go into mass production. In the end, we discovered that LCD displays with good picture quality can offer a competitive price/performance ratio.

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