Next week (Sept. 6-9, 2017) is the time this year for the largest home theater oriented trade show in the USA – CEDIA Expo 2017. This year, and next, CEDIA Expo is being held in San Diego, CA. It’s also that time again for the largest consumer electronics show (including Home Theater products) in Europe – IFA (Berlin, Germany) that will be wrapping up just as CEDIA Expo begins. Traditionally video projectors and related products have been introduced at one or both of these annual trade shows. This blog discusses what new home theater projectors (with a focus on 4K compatible models) we expect to see announced and perhaps demo’ed at CEDIA Expo 2017.
The information provided in this blog is a combination of officially released information, rumors from generally reliable sources, and some educated speculation.
The major home theater projector manufacturers are expected to be well represented at this year's CEDIA Expo. However, some of the more budget brands, notably Optoma and Benq, do not have their own exhibit booths at the trade show. However, it's possible that these manufacturer's new models may show up in exhibits booths of distributors or manufactures of complementary home theater products. So for now we know that Epson, JVC, Sony, Sim2, Digital Projection, Vivitek, Dreamvision, Barco, Hisense, and Runco gave exhibit booths and I expect all of these to have projectors on display. Also just about all of the major screen manufactures, at least those marketing projection screens in the USA, will be there.
Below is a collections of what we may see from some of the projector manufacturers. This is based on a combination of pre-show press releases, rumors from usually reliable sources and some speculation on my part.
It been a long time (6 years in fact) since Sony announced its first native 4K consumer projector at CEDIA Expo 2011, the model VPL-VW1000ES which shipped in 2012 and was replaced a year later by the VPL-VW1100ES ($27,999), which was a upgraded version of basically the same projector. Over the intervening years Sony has brought out less expensive models (the VW3xx and VW6xx series) as well as a more expensive model (e.g., VW5000), but the VW1100ES was still keep in Sony's projector line-up. Feature-wise the VW1100ES has fallen behind the more recent Sony models as it does not support either High Dynamic Range (HDR) nor Wide Color Gamut (WCG), as offered on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and certain steaming video services. There are strong indications that Sony will be announcing a replacement for the VW1100ES at this year's CEDIA Expo. The new model is expected to be priced somewhere near the price of the current VW1100ES (e.g., near $30,000) and not only offer support for HDR and WCG but also employ a laser light engine. This would be a similar, but less bright version of the light engine already be used in the VW5000. According to the rumor mill Sony is also expected to introduce a new entry level 4K projector to replace the current VW365ES while adding features such a dynamic iris. There are also rumors that the Sony will upgrade the HDMI inputs on all of their 4K projectors to support the full 18 Gbps capabilities allowed by the HDMI 2.0 standard.
Last year JVC made big new at CEDIA Expo by introducing their DLA-RS4500 native 4K projector that uses a laser light engine. Last year that just about the only news from JVC because they held off on announcing upgrades to their existing eShift projector line-up until a few months later. For this year the rumors coming out from usually reliable sources in Europe indicate the eShift models will receive another incremental upgrade for the next generation of models. I wouldn't rule out JVC springing a surprise with a flagship eShift model using a laser light engine, but that's pure speculation at this point as JVC is very good at keeping news of new projectors under wraps until the show opens (i.e. or at least until IFA opens just before CEDIA Expo).
Epson projectors have been evolving every year or two and there has been no reliable information that I have seen as to what new true home theater class projectors Epson my announce this year at CEDIA Expo. However, in the less expensive class of projectors intended for living rooms, mixed use entertainment rooms, etc., Epson has already announced several new models including the following Home Cinema models (click below for more info):
660, 760HD, 1060 (link is HERE for announcement)
At this point it unknown if Epson will announce upgraded or replacement models for their LS10500 pixel shifting 4K-lite projector with laser light engine or perhaps upgrades or replacement for their popular Home Cinema and Pro Cinema 4xxx, 5xxx and 6xxx projectors (all lamp based). Epson is generally good at keeping new models under wraps until the show begins.
Hisense is a fairly high volume Chinese manufacture of flat panel TVs. For this year's CEDIA Expo Hisense will be introducing a ultra short throw 4K DLP projector with a laser light engine. Their brief announcement says: "Combining a laser light source, DLP Chip movie theater technology, HDR and UHD upscaling, the 100” Hisense Laser TV is specifically designed to maximize viewing experience and is as easy to install as hanging a painting on the wall."
Sim2 and DP -
I expect both of these high-end projector manufactures to be demo'ing 4K DLP projectors. They had engineering models (just short of prototypes) last year and should have production, or pre-production, units being demo'ed this year.
I may be posting an update to this blog after the IFA show opens in Berlin and next week I plan on posting blogs from CEDIA Expo starting on Wednesday evening, Sept 6th.