Home Theater Projectors – Action at CES -Panasonic Projectors
Time to fill you in, re what I learned at CES about home theater projectors. As someone pointed out, the last blog mostly focused on pico projectors. (Hey, they may not be “home theater” but they are “portable” theater, and techically, with some pushing 300+ lumens, they are as bright as some of the home theater projectors we’ve reviewed (at least their best modes).
No, I’m not recommending trading in your Epson or Panasonic home theater projectorsor JVC or Sony projector, or any others, for a nice little pico, but remember, millions are expected to end up watching TV and movies, and internet, and who knows what else, on the 10s of millions of pico projectors expecting to be sold in the next 2-3 years.
The entire US home theater projector market is about 110,000 units a year – or less than 1% of LCDTV sales.
But, onto the home theater projectors: I’ll start with Panasonic, and add a blog entry for each brand.
Panasonic – was one of my first meetings. I’ve been trying to get some straight answers from them since CEDIA. Are they staying in the market, are they exiting…? Remember, the PT-AX200U – (it’s almost identical predecessor, the AX100U was the best selling home projector in its day – before 1080p dominated), is now end of life…
Not so, however, the PT-AE4000. Panasonic is still shipping those and they will be around almost certainly until the fall, when… ta-da…
Panasonic will introduce it’s first 3D projector. Now, I’m not sure about the “fall” aspect, but darn sure you won’t be seeing it this spring. From what little I learned, I’m figuring it will show at CEDIA, and ship shortly thereafter. But, you never know…
And yes, it will be 3D, and no, I don’t know the price, and yes, I suspect it will be in the $5000 or up range, and no, I am not sure, I could be completely wrong, and it could be $1999, or $2999, but I would really, really be surprised, especially in light of the competition.
I expect it will appeal to 3D gamers as well as 3D movie fans, and those just wanting to enjoy high quality 3D content from various sources.
The other good news is that Panasonic does have a 2nd projector in the works, And folks, it was like pulling teeth. That is all I learned. I asked 50 questions, and got nothing more than “there will be a 2nd one” no idea when, or the price. I’m hoping sooner than the fall, but, considering how tight lipped, who knows. (So, I’d just not worry about Panasonic projector #2, since we have no clue as what or where, or how much, or why). (It could be a 720p, it could be an all-in-one – unlikely, it could be something unique and amazing, or mostly a retread of the PT-AE4000. I could speculate all day, but with nothing to go on, it’s futile.
Next of interest would be Mitsubishi who again showed its 3D projector, but this time it worked better… (That was a very early engineering sample.) I know a lot more about the HC9000, than I do about new Panasonic home theater projectors. -art