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The big picture

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DQW Bureau
New Update





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From being a niche segment in the peripheral space, the digital projector

market is opening up as prices go southward

The 'image' on the wall is clear. The digital projector, from being an

obscure boardroom device, has now become mainstream in the peripherals market.

Until a year ago, exorbitant prices had kept the digital projector market a

small niche in the peripherals space. But that's history now. With price

slides in the recent past, the 'affordability' factor has increased. Today,

all leading players have a slew of offerings in the sub Rs one lakh category.

The home segment has also come into the radar. Agrees AK Harish, Business

Manager, Projectors, Epson India: "The projector technology has evolved

over the years and, as a result, the picture quality has increased. At the same

time decline in prices has opened up the market in India."

Market dynamics



According to IDC the total market size for digital projectors was 21,152

units for 2004. The top three players were NEC, InFocus, and Epson. In value

terms, digital projectors garnered Rs 237 crore during 2004. In terms of

technology, digital light processing (DLP) constituted 34 percent and liquid

crystal display (LCD) accounted for the balance 66 percent. In the DLP space,

Toshiba was the number one player. Among the two major resolutions available,

SVGA constituted 47 percent and XGA 53 percent. Products in the digital

projector market are spread across three category of lumens: 1000—1500, 1500—2000

and 2000—2500. Weight is also a key criteria and the market is divided on

those lines also. For instance, the projector weighing 2-3 kg constituted 50

percent of the total market in 2004. The typical entry-level prices of DLPs were

around Rs 97,000 while LCD projectors vended at Rs 120,000 during 2004.

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According to Sanjit Sinha, Senior Manager, Hardware Research, IDC India,

"With overall IT spending on a high in India, projectors are expected to

quickly become a part of the IT infrastructure investments in both the corporate

and government segments." Vendors also expect a growing demand from the

education segment. While there exists a huge potential in the SMB and home

segment, the growth rate will be slow given the gradual adoption by the SMB

players. The concept of projector—based home theatre system is still in its

infancy. While ASP declines would be very crucial to address these two markets,

vendors need to look at addressing these segments through a mix of conventional

and unconventional IT distribution channels.

Vendor strategies



The digital projector market in India is a highly fragmented one with

estimates pegging it close to 30 players. In terms of market visibility, players

like Epson, NEC, InFocus, Sharp, and Toshiba occupy the top slots. HP's recent

foray into the projector space has also made the market more competitive. HP in

Q2 2005 came out with a slew of digital projectors aimed at various buying

segments. HP's vp and mp series of digital projectors are priced between Rs

75,000 and Rs 190,000.

HP has come out with value additions like built-in DVD players and in-built

flash memory, which enable users to store presentations and beam them without

the aid of a PC. Manu Sharma, Country Category Manager, Imaging Products, HP

India said: "We have an innovative range of digital projectors that come

with state-of-the-art mobility and wireless features. Verticals like education

are doing aggressive buying, apart form big corporates. The traction we are

seeing in the projector space is due to the shrinkage of end-user prices."

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Meanwhile, Epson is also aggressively addressing the market with its

projector offerings. Recently, Epson showcased its proprietary 3-LCD technology,

highlighting its benefits over the DLP technology. The 3-LCD projectors pass

light through LCD panels about the size of a postage stamp and then use the

projector's lens to expand minute details within the images. Thus the

projector is able to reproduce a wide gamut of colors. Epson has also come out

with a postcard-sized mini-projector, using an LED light source and a footprint

of 13.8 by 10.3 centimeters. The 500 gram prototype can fit into the palm of a

hand.

On the home side of things, vendors are targeting the upmarket and

techno-savvy professional who is tuned to a digital lifestyle. VP Sajeevan,

Senior Manager Marketing, Projectors and Consumables, Canon India said,

"Around five percent of   the total population has the power of

spending for high-value visual products at  home.  And this

population is the target audience for our home projectors. This is substantiated

by the fact that today, a consumer can use a Canon projector and connect to

television via a TV-tuner, besides accessing the DVD, digital camera, and

laptop. This makes usage easy and hassle free."

Clearly, digital projectors have outgrown their corporate-only image and

their volumes are increasing. Analysts see a buoyant growth path for the digital

projectors in the days ahead and, according to IDC estimates, the digital

projector market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27 percent during the next

four years. While the bigger market right now is LCD, in time DLP based digital

projectors will gain ground. At the large enterprise level, the crash in end

user price points will enable this segment to go for additional projectors,

equipping all conference rooms with a projector.

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As Epson's Harish sums it up, "The market in India will continue to

grow rapidly. Data projectors will become default in every office conference

room. Projectors will increasingly enter the home as a preferred cinema viewing

experience. Prices will come down further and picture quality will get better

even as projectors get smaller."

Shrikanth G

Projector Tech-Demystified

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Liquid Crystal Display (LCD): Projectors based on the LCD technology

have three LCD glass panels for red, green and blue-commonly referred to as

RGB. The image is beamed onto the screen as light passes through each of these

panels.

Digital Light Processing (DLP): Different from LCD, the DLP-based

projectors use a high reflective surface composed of numerous micro mirrors on

the DLP chip with each mirror taking up a single pixel. There is a lot of

inbuilt intelligence embedded on DLP projectors as the color is managed through

a spinning wheel between the chip and the lens that determine the colors hitting

the mirror surface.

Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS): Vendors like JVC and Hitachi having

already come out with LCOS based products. Experts define the technology as a

hybrid between LCD and DLP. LCOS combines reflective technology as well as LCD,

by applying liquid crystals on the reflective mirror. As light passes, the

liquid crystals open and close to create the image.

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