Which Front Projectors Will Be Big in 2012?

PMA says that laser, LED, hybrids and other projectors will be big for the year.

Which Front Projectors Will Be Big in 2012?
3M's MP220 pico projector has 1GB of built-in storage.

Think this is your year to add a projector? You’re not alone.

Research firm Pacific Media Associates (PMA) just announced the results of their latest quarterly projector industry forecast updates, and it’s looking good for the front projector market. That said, some categories within the category will see more growth than others.

For this report, the PMA divides the front projector industry into three brightness ranges: New Era (sub-500 lumens), Mainstream (500-4999 lumens), and High-End (5000+ lumens).

New Era projectors are expected to see a 40 percent increase this year. These are the smaller models, such as pico, personal and toy/game projectors, which all use LED light engines. The PMA forecast says that 720p units will ship in 2012, with 1080p units expected in this market by 2013.

Mainstream models use Laser and LED illumination. These will see the biggest increase this year, with about 50 percent more sales expected. WUXGA (1920 x 1200 pixels) and Above-WUXGA should grow by more than 30 percent and by more than 70 percent from 2011, respectively.

According to PMA, hybrid projectors, which use both laser and LED technologies, should “grow modestly this year,” with a 40 percent increase coming between 2013 and 2015. Laser illuminated units will start in 2013 with the high-end and d-Cinema ranges. In 2014, PMA expects to see this area jump a whopping 80 percent.

The quarterly forecast also predicts growth for fairly inexpensive, medium-throw projectors—the ones with a throw ratio (the 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 of <0.38) is still very promising, 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,” says Michael Abramson, PMA’s VP of projector research.

Those medium-throw projectors should see a 20 percent increase every year between 2012 and 2014, with the street prices expected to drop more than 50 percent by 2016.

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