Portability Driving New Growth In Digital Projector Market

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While 1080p projectors are an emerging trend, there aren't many switching to 1080p in the education market, according to West Martin, director of sales for Classroom Technology Solutions.

"While people are starting to pay attention to 1080p projectors, I don't see the switching to 1080p completely for schools from K-12," said Martin. "They are looking to have HDMI connections and are satisfied with 720p."

Instead, schools are looking more for quality projectors that can last more than a couple years, said Martin. With budget cuts in the education market, Martin believes that both education clients and companies are forced to become savvier with what they purchase and what they offer.

"It's a significant purchase in one single budget year," said Martin. "We're treating it like an infrastructure upgrade by consulting with customers to help them make sure cabling and parts will be replaced easily and lamp life will continue for years."

Although there is a shift toward solid-state projectors, including laser and LED, the majority of projectors are still lamp-based, states Keith Yanke, NEC's senior director of product market. However, turning to an alternative light source such as solid-state provides a cheaper yet efficient solution.

"Solid state is still in its infancy, but over the next 12 to 18 months moving towards solid state becomes cheaper," said Yanke. "The total cost of ownership and maintenance is the reason for this shift. Instead of replacing a lamp every 1,000 hours, solid-state provides a light source of 20,000 hours or more."

With budget cuts, the education market remains cautious when it comes to making a purchase. Volpe believes they are acquiring projection technology at a massive rate because educators have the ability to use projection and interactive technology to enhance their classroom environments.

"Education requires projection in a very significant way," said Volpe. "It gives them the opportunity to improve learning, provide effective curriculum, interactivity and collaboration in the classroom."

According to PMA Research, sales of interactive projectors topped 20 percent of mainstream volume during the quarter. Sean Gunduz, product manager of corporate and large venue projectors for Epson, attributes this increase to the education market.

"Interactivity for the education market has been the strongest in terms of adaption curve; they still own the market at 80 percent," said Gunduz. "There is a difference between why the education market is successful and why the corporate market is lagging."

Gunduz believes that teachers have more of an everyday use for an interactive display projector, whereas in a corporate environment, it isn't used regularly.

"In a classroom, there is a fixed teacher and computer. Once they get trained on the interactive display projector, they feel comfortable enough to use it on a daily basis," said Gunduz. "In a corporate setting, people don't adopt the same technology because they don't use it so frequently, or they refuse to use it because they feel intimidated."

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