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Market Research Report

2012 Solid State Projector Report: Forecasts, Human Factors, Technology and Market Factors for Micro Projectors with Solid State Illumination

Published by Insight Media Product code 230698
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2012 Solid State Projector Report: Forecasts, Human Factors, Technology and Market Factors for Micro Projectors with Solid State Illumination
Published: January 31, 2012 Content info: 240 Pages


The Need:

Microprojectors were first introduced commercially in 2005 with 15 lumen output and since then have been introduced by multiple additional vendors. For purposes of this report, a microprojector is small enough to fit in a laptop bag but uses enough power to require an AC power connection. The unit may or may not have an internal media player. Sales to date have been modest but respectable and significant growth in this market is expected in the future. Component suppliers, projection optical module makers, projector system makers and others need to understand the consumer and business needs in this market in order to provide products that sell in significant quantities. This report is designed to address this need.

Careful evaluation of the technology, markets and end-user needs are required to create forecasts that are realistic. This sober and independent evaluation is required to understand and plan for developments in the microprojector market, as well as the market for pico/micro projectors in general.

Report Organization:

The pico/micro projector market can be broken into seven market segments, as shown in the Table below. This report addresses two segments: Consumer Microprojectors and Presentation Microprojectors. Separate reports discuss the other segments, with the Smart Phone Handset, Digital Camera and Stand-alone Picoprojector reports already available. Insight Media expects to add a report on Projectors with Hybrid Illumination to this series.


Part 1 of this report covers the technology, human factors and market drivers that are common for all seven market segments. This common section has been updated and expanded from the common section used in Smart Phone Handset, Digital Camera and Stand-alone Picoprojector reports, to include new information that became available in 2011.

Part 2 of the report then takes a deep-dive into how this general information applies to microprojectors. Due to the strong crossover between consumer and business oriented microprojectors, this report covers both of these segments. Part 2 also provides optimistic, conservative and expected sales forecasts through 2016 for microprojectors for both consumer and business applications. These forecasts involve unit sales, revenue to the microprojector module manufacturers and overall industry revenue from retail sales.

Key Findings:

Some key findings of this report include:

  • The best way to group pico/micro projectors is by use-model rather than by technology.
  • There is no hard-and-fast line between a "Pico" and a "Micro" projector. Rather, there is a smooth gradation from lowest to highest in all properties, including resolution, lumen output, power consumed, size and price.
    • DLP currently dominates the microprojector industry. Some CS-LCoS projectors are also available. Scanning laser systems and CFA-LCoS are not seen as suitable for use in this market.
    • In the future, end-users will demand higher output microprojectors.
    • RGB LEDs currently dominate the microprojector market. RGB lasers will also be usable when the cost and availability issues with lasers are solved.
  • Most microprojectors are used for multiple application types.
    • Virtually all microprojectors are used at least part-time for entertainment content including both professional and user-generated. This includes video, still images and console gaming.
    • Most microprojectors are also used for presentations. These presentations can be made by "Road Warriors" with larger corporations; small businessmen or consultants; or individuals presenting for volunteer groups such as churches, food co-ops or the Boy Scouts.
  • Pico/micro projector manufacturers and retailers must compete directly with other mobile display technologies for the end-users' eyeballs.
    • In the microprojector market, the technology most in competition with microprojectors are mainstream projectors with lamps or large, non-mobile LCD or plasma displays.
    • Microprojectors are also in competition for the end user dollars, which can be spent on systems such as tablet computers. This may leave end-users without enough money for a microprojector, even if the user wishes to buy one.
  • End user's largest concern in the Microprojector and other pico/micro projector markets is the image size that can be made under various ambient lighting conditions.
    • Companies that claim very large image sizes from their microprojectors are doing themselves and the industry a disservice by setting unrealistic expectations among end users.
  • The range of forecasts for microprojectors (from our conservative to our optimistic) in the out-years of this study is fairly large. Insight Media sees three major factors contributing to this range:
    • Price and availability of large, direct view displays.
    • Lamp lifetime in mainstream projectors and availability of hybrid illumination systems with very long life.
    • Acceptance by the end user of projection technology. End users have shown a strong preference for direct view technology in the past, when projection and direct view were comparable in price.


Insight Media used a wide variety of sources of information for this report, including:

  • Evaluation of the technology, supply chain, market and costs of:
    • Components for microprojectors, including light sources, microdisplays, other optics and electronics.
    • Optical modules for microprojectors.
    • Microprojector manufacturers.
    • Microprojector brands.
  • Communications with a large number of individuals and companies involved in the solid-state projection market:
    • Company visits.
    • At Trade shows.
    • At scientific/technical conferences.
    • Via telephone and e-mail.
  • Press releases, white papers and other communications from companies in the business.
  • Websites of relevant companies.
  • Other news sources, especially including on-line news sources and blogs.
  • Published scientific, technical and business-oriented papers and conference proceedings.
  • End user feedback, mostly in the form of on-line reviews at sites like, Best Buy, Google, etc.
  • Formal product reviews conducted by Insight Media and others.
  • Historical and forecast unit sales data from other market research firms.

Note: the forecasts in Section 8 are exclusively Insight Media's and do not necessarily agree with forecasts from other research firms.

Forecasts were made by evaluating historical trends in mainstream, micro and pico projectors and comparing these trends with end-user requirements and the technology required to meet these requirements.

Insight Media forecasts show business and home markets separately. Because of the strong crossover between home and business markets, sales of a given model of microprojector would commonly be split between these two market segments.

This report does not sub-divide the forecast by technology. The market is currently nearly 100% DLP. Penetration of CS-LCoS into the market is modest but expected to increase in the future.

Who Should Buy:

Technology planners, marketing planners, business development managers, senior executives, engineering managers and researchers who are:

  • Manufacturers of optical, electronic and mechanical components for pico/micro projectors.
    • Including microdisplays, MEMS mirrors, LEDs and lasers for these projectors.
  • Manufacturers of pico/micro projector modules.
  • Manufacturers of picoprojectors, microprojectors and other systems incorporating solid-state illumination.
    • Including system component suppliers such as suppliers of media player chips and software or video interfacing technology.
  • CE brands with a current or potential interest in either microprojectors or technologies competing with microprojectors.
  • Retailers, both brick & mortar and on-line.
  • Technology development companies and organizations.
  • Research institutes and organizations.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1 Executive Summary

  • 1.1. Part 1: Common Section Executive Summary
    • 1.1.1. Market Segment Analysis
    • Technologies in Competition with Mobile Projectors
    • Developments Likely to Affect the Pico/Micro/Hybrid Market
    • 1.1.2. Pico/Micro/Hybrid Projector Human Factors Analysis
      • Achievable Image Size
      • Laser Safety
    • 1.1.3. Enabling Technology
      • Technology Combinations
      • Light Sources and System Efficiency
      • Power and Battery Technology
  • 1.2. Part 2: Microprojector Executive Summary
    • 1.2.1. Technology for Microprojectors
    • 1.2.2. Markets and User Feedback for Microprojectors
    • 1.2.3. Technologies Competitive with Microprojectors
    • 1.2.4. Microprojector Forecasts

2 Introduction & Methodology

  • Part 1: Common Section

3 Market Segment Analysis

  • 3.1. What are Pico and Micro Projectors?
  • 3.2. A Brief History of Pico/Micro/Hybrid Projectors
  • 3.3. Market Data Uncertainty
  • 3.4. Pico/Micro Projector Use Models
    • 3.4.1. Picoprojector Use Models
    • 3.4.2. Microprojector Use Models
    • 3.4.3. Hybrid Projector Use Models
  • 3.5. Market Segments for Pico- and Micro- Projectors
  • 3.6. Market Trends Through 2016
    • 3.6.1. Market Pull vs. Technology Push
    • 3.6.2. Lumen Output Increases
    • 3.6.3. Supply Chain Consolidation
    • 3.6.4. Focused Designs
  • 3.7. Milestone Roadmap
  • 3.8. Technologies In Competition with Mobile Projectors
    • 3.8.1. Low-cost Mainstream Projectors
    • 3.8.2. Direct-View LCD and OLED Mobile Displays
    • 3.8.3. e-Paper including Rollable and Foldable Displays
    • 3.8.4. Transflective Displays
    • 3.8.5. Head Mounted Displays
    • 3.8.6. Non-portable Displays

4 Pico/Micro Projector Human Factors Analysis

  • 4.1. Mobile Projector Colorimetry
    • 4.1.1. Wavelength Choice for LEDs
    • 4.1.2. Wavelength Choice for Lasers
  • 4.2. Projector Luminance, Image Brightness, Image Size and Contrast
    • 4.2.1. Helmholtz-Kohlrausch Effect
  • 4.3. Resolution
    • 4.3.1. Text Legibility
  • 4.4. Pico/Micro Projector Laser Safety

5 Enabling Technology Analysis

  • 5.1. Valid Technology Combinations
  • 5.2. Etendue and Power Limited Pico/Micro Projector Systems
    • 5.2.1. Etendue Limitations
      • Technical Description
    • 5.2.2. Power Limitations
  • 5.3. Image Sources
    • 5.3.1. Scanned Mirror Systems
      • Single Scanning Mirror
      • Two Scanning Mirrors
    • 5.3.2. Micromirror Arrays
    • 5.3.3. LCoS CFA
    • 5.3.4. Color Sequential LCoS
      • Micron
      • Syndiant
      • OmniVision (Formerly Aurora)
      • Himax
    • 5.3.5. Other Approaches to Pico/Micro Projection
      • Light Blue Optics (Phase Modulation Projection)
      • Display Photonics (Transmissive LCD)
      • ImagineOptix Polarization Gratings
  • 5.4. Illumination Sources for Pico- and Micro-Projectors
    • 5.4.1. Polarization and Collection Efficiency
    • 5.4.2. RGB LED Illumination
      • Converted Green LEDs
    • 5.4.3. White LED Illumination
    • 5.4.4. Laser Illumination
      • Laser Speckle
      • Focus-Free Projectors
    • 5.4.5. Hybrid Illumination Systems
  • 5.5. Power for Mobile Projectors
    • 5.5.1. General Power Requirements
    • 5.5.2. Batteries for Mobile Projectors
  • 5.6. Picoprojector/Source Connectivity
    • 5.6.1. Internal Connections
    • 5.6.2. Wired Connections
      • USB
      • HDMI
      • DisplayPort
      • Wired Interfaces Summary
    • 5.6.3. Wireless Connections
      • Wireless Connectivity to the Internet
      • 5GHz Band
      • 60GHz Band
      • Proprietary Interfaces
      • Other Wireless Protocols
      • Wireless Connectivity Summary
  • 5.7. Pico/Micro Projector Manufacturing Issues
  • 5.8. Hybrid Projector Manufacturing Issues

6 Other Applications

  • 6.1. Retail Use
  • 6.2. Automotive
  • 6.3. Aviation
  • 6.4. Industrial
  • 6.5. Medical
  • 6.6. Other Potential Applications
  • Part 2: Microprojector Market Segment

7 Microprojector Competitive Analysis

  • 7.1. Technology for Microprojector Systems
  • 7.2. Evolution of Microprojector Modules
  • 7.3. Competitive Analysis of Microprojectors
    • 7.3.1. Example Microprojectors
    • 7.3.2. Competition with Other Systems
      • Business Applications
      • Consumer Applications
  • 7.4. End User Feedback and Use Models for Microprojectors
    • 7.4.1. Optoma ML-500 and Similar 500 Lumen Microprojectors
    • 7.4.2. BenQ Joybee GP1
    • 7.4.3. AAXA M2
    • 7.4.4. End-user Review Summary
  • 7.5. Trend Analysis
    • 7.5.1. Application Trend Factors
    • 7.5.2. Technical Trend Factors
    • 7.5.3. Details on Selected Trends
      • Content Types
      • Wider Content Availability
      • Microprojector Connectivity

8 Forecasts

  • 8.1. Total Available Market Analysis
  • 8.2. Market Segmentation
  • 8.3. Penetration of Microprojectors into the Projector Market
  • 8.4. Existing Microprojector Market Analysis
    • 8.4.1. Home Projector Segment
    • 8.4.2. Corporate Projector Segment
  • 8.5. Microprojector Unit Forecasts
    • 8.5.1. Home Projector Segment
    • 8.5.2. Corporate Projector Segment
    • 8.5.3. Market Forecast Summary
  • 8.6. Microprojector Module and Projector Price Evolution
    • 8.6.1. Projector and module prices and price ranges
    • 8.6.2. Projector and Module Average Selling Prices (ASPs)
  • 8.7. Microprojector Revenue Forecasts

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Addressable Screen Sizes with an Off-White (0.8) Wall
  • Figure 2: Worldwide Microprojector Forecast
  • Figure 3: Microprojector Module Industry Revenue
  • Figure 4: Finished Microprojector Industry Revenue
  • Figure 5: Four Sample Picoprojectors from CES 2008
  • Figure 6: Five Sample Picoprojectors from CES 2009
  • Figure 7: Sample Pico & Micro Projectors from CES 2010
  • Figure 8: Sample Pico & Micro Projectors from CES 2011
  • Figure 9: Hybrid Projectors
  • Figure 10: Pico/Micro Projector Market Segments Expected Usage Profiles
  • Figure 11: Mainstream Projector for Under $400
  • Figure 12: Direct-View Displays In Competition with Pico & Micro Projectors
  • Figure 13: iPad Connected with a 3M Picoprojector
  • Figure 14: Amazon Kindle e-Book Readers
  • Figure 15: Qualcomm Mirasol 5.7" display at CES 2011
  • Figure 16: Flexible OLEDs
  • Figure 17: Stretchable OLED from UCLA
  • Figure 18: Transflective Pixel Qi Display
  • Figure 19: Transflective Pixel Qi Display as an External Display Module
  • Figure 20: Example HMDs
  • Figure 21: Large Screen Displays at Lower Price Points than Projectors
  • Figure 22: Colorimetry of RGB LED and Laser Projectors
  • Figure 23: LED Optical Power Required as Red Wavelength Varies
  • Figure 24: LED Power Required as Green Wavelength Varies
  • Figure 25: LED Power Required as Blue Wavelength Varies
  • Figure 26: Laser Power Required as Red Wavelength Varies
  • Figure 27: Laser Power Required as Green Wavelength Varies
  • Figure 28: Laser Power Required as Blue Wavelength Varies
  • Figure 29: Addressable Screen Sizes with a High-gain (2.2) Screen (10:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 30: Addressable Screen Sizes with a Matte-White (1.0) Screen (10:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 31: Addressable Screen Sizes with an Off-White (0.8) Wall (10:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 32: Addressable Screen Sizes with a Darker (0.5) Wall (10:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 33: Addressable Screen Sizes with a High-gain (2.2) Screen (40:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 34: Addressable Screen Sizes with a Matte-White (1.0) Screen (40:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 35: Addressable Screen Sizes with an Off-White (0.8) Wall (40:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 36: Addressable Screen Sizes with a Darker (0.5) Wall (40:1 Contrast)
  • Figure 37: Brightness Enhancement of LED vs Lamp Projectors
  • Figure 38: Laser Safety Evaluation Geometry
  • Figure 39: Laser Safety Evaluations
  • Figure 40: Etendue Definition
  • Figure 41: Etendue with uniform cone angle
  • Figure 42: Etendue conservation with a simple lens
  • Figure 43: MicroVision Bi-axial Mirror Scanner
  • Figure 44: Two Scanning Mirror System from bTendo
  • Figure 45: Funai Picoprojector with Nippon Signal Module
  • Figure 46: Eco Scan Two-Mirror Pico Module from Nippon Signal
  • Figure 47: Members of the DLP Pico Family of Microdisplays
  • Figure 48: Himax CFA LCoS Design
  • Figure 49: Himax CFA LCoS Products
  • Figure 50: Pulse Width Modulation
  • Figure 51: Micron Imagers
  • Figure 52: Products in the Syndiant Suite at CES 2011
  • Figure 53: Syndiant Microdisplays
  • Figure 54: Himax Color Sequential LCoS Panels
  • Figure 55: Himax Color Sequential LCoS Designs
  • Figure 56: Layout of a Light Blue Optics Projector
  • Figure 57: Hologram, Subframe and Frame in a LBO Projector
  • Figure 58: LBO Demonstration Projectors
  • Figure 59: Transmissive LCD Panels for the Display Photonic Systems Architecture
  • Figure 60: Block Diagram of Display Photonic Systems Architecture
  • Figure 61: ImagineOptix PG-Based Pico Module
  • Figure 62: Polarization Recycling in the MM200 Module from 3M
  • Figure 63: LED Recycling from Wavien
  • Figure 64: LED Light Collection with a Color-combining Prism from Syndiant
  • Figure 65: LED combiner from Optoma PK-101
  • Figure 66: Two Channel illumination path
  • Figure 67: Typical Non-Linearities of LEDs
  • Figure 68: Phosphor vs Conventional Green LEDs from Osram
  • Figure 69: Spectra of the Osram Oslon LX Series
  • Figure 70: Citizen LEDs Compared to Other Lamp Types
  • Figure 71: White LED from 3M MPro 110 Picoprojector
  • Figure 72: Red Light Increased by Recycling
  • Figure 73: Efficiency of Blue, Green and Red Lasers
  • Figure 74: Pico/Micro Projectors With Direct Green Lasers
  • Figure 75: Laser Speckle Reduction with FLC Cell
  • Figure 76: Focus-Free Microdisplay-Based Laser Projector
  • Figure 77: Hybrid Illumination Systems From Casio
  • Figure 78: Block Diagram for a Himax Picoprojector Module
  • Figure 79: Pico/Micro Projectors with iPod Docks
  • Figure 80: PicoPix 1020 from Philips/Sagemcom
  • Figure 81: USB 2.0 A/B sockets
  • Figure 82: Video and Power via a USB 3.0 Connection
  • Figure 83: 3M MPro 180 Projector with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Figure 84: Mobile Connectivity with WHDI and Amimon Low-Power Chips
  • Figure 85: ViewSonic Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • Figure 86: IBM's Vision of a 60GHz Wireless Home Network
  • Figure 87: WirelessHD Wireless Video Area Network ("WVAN") Example
  • Figure 88: Proposed Usage Models by the WiGig Alliance
  • Figure 89: Example Pico/Micro Projection Modules
  • Figure 90: Two Modules from Asia Optical
  • Figure 91: Light Blue Optics Projectors used at a Restaurant
  • Figure 92: BrightSign Digital Signage Display
  • Figure 93: HUDs Based on MicroVision PicoP Module at CES 2011
  • Figure 94: F-35 and Virtual HUD
  • Figure 95: Structured Light for 3D Contour Capture
  • Figure 96: Examples of Structured Light for 3D Contour Capture
  • Figure 97: VeinViewer from Christie Medical Holdings
  • Figure 98: Example Microprojectors
  • Figure 99: Are These Microprojectors or Picoprojectors?
  • Figure 100: Amazon Reviews of the Optoma ML-500
  • Figure 101: Amazon Reviews of the BenQ Joybee GP1
  • Figure 102: Amazon Reviews of the AAXA M2
  • Figure 103: Projector Market Development and Forecast
  • Figure 104: Projector Market Development and Forecast
  • Figure 105: Comparison of Market Segment Breakdown for Americas and the World
  • Figure 106: Projector Penetration Curve based on WXGA Market Introduction
  • Figure 107: Trial Microprojector Forecast Based on WXGA Market Penetration
  • Figure 108: Price Trend for Home Projector Market Segment in the Americas
  • Figure 109: Market Data of sub $1,000 Projectors in the Home Projector Market Segment
  • Figure 110: Brightness Trend in the Home Projector Market Segment in the Americas
  • Figure 111: Price Trend for Corporate Projector Market Segment in the Americas
  • Figure 112: Brightness Trend for Corporate Projector Market Segment in the Americas
  • Figure 113: Weight Trend for Corporate Projector Market Segment in the Americas
  • Figure 114: Microprojector Forecast for the Home Market
  • Figure 115: Microprojector Forecast for the Corporate Market
  • Figure 116: Worldwide Microprojector Forecast
  • Figure 117: Conservative Worldwide Microprojector Forecast
  • Figure 118: Expected Worldwide Microprojector Forecast
  • Figure 119: Optimistic Worldwide Microprojector Forecast
  • Figure 120: Microprojector Module Price Range
  • Figure 121: Microprojector Price Range
  • Figure 122: Microprojector Module Industry Revenue
  • Figure 123: Finished Microprojector Industry Revenue

Table of Tables

  • Table 1: Pico/Micro/Hybrid Projector Market Segments
  • Table 2: Technology Combinations for Pico/Micro/Hybrid projectors
  • Table 3: Microprojector Module Price and Performance Evolution
  • Table 4: Pico, Micro and Mainstream Projector Differentiators
  • Table 5: Projector Market Segments for Projectors with Solid State Illumination
  • Table 6: Pico/Micro Projector Market Segments Expected Usage Profiles
  • Table 7: Lumen Increases Through 2016 for Pico and Micro Projectors
  • Table 8: Roadmap of Events Expected to Affect Mobile Projector Sales
  • Table 9: Advantages/Disadvantages of Competitive Technologies vs. Micros/Picos
  • Table 10: Advantages/Disadvantages of Competitive Technologies vs Hybrids
  • Table 11: Specifications for the Vivitek Model D510
  • Table 12: Properties of Various Color Gamuts in Figure 22
  • Table 13: Optimum and Acceptable Peak LED Wavelengths for Displays
  • Table 14: Optimum and Acceptable Laser Wavelengths for Displays
  • Table 15: Luminance Limits of Projector Categories
  • Table 16: Illumination from Various Sources
  • Table 17: Resolution Requirements for Pico/Micro Projectors
  • Table 18: Minimum and Target Resolutions for Various Market Segments
  • Table 19: Text Character Counts for Various Display Resolutions
  • Table 20: Text Character Counts for Various Display Resolutions and Projector Lumens
  • Table 21: Technology Combinations for Picoprojectors and Microprojectors
  • Table 22: Example Etendues
  • Table 23: Comparison of Microdisplay/Scanning Device Suppliers
  • Table 24: Micron Microdisplay Specifications
  • Table 25: Syndiant Microdisplay Specifications
  • Table 26: Himax CS Microdisplay Specifications
  • Table 27: Laser Category Definitions
  • Table 28: Availability of Different Laser Categories
  • Table 29: Laser Wall Plug Efficiency
  • Table 30: Approaches to Speckle Reduction
  • Table 31: Picoprojector Power Consumption Categories
  • Table 32: Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Wired Formats
  • Table 33: 60MHz Bandwidth Allocation
  • Table 34: Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Wireless Formats
  • Table 35: Pico/Micro Projector Module Components
  • Table 36: Pico/Micro Projector Module Manufacturers
  • Table 37: Factors Affecting the Design of Hybrid Projectors
  • Table 38: Use of Technology in Microprojectors
  • Table 39: Consumer Microprojector Module Evolution (Cost Optimized)
  • Table 40: Business/Home Theater Microprojector Module Evolution (Performance Optimized)
  • Table 41: Advantages/Disadvantages of Competitive Technology in the Business Market
  • Table 42: Advantages/Disadvantages of Competitive Technology in the Consumer Market
  • Table 43: Use Models for the Optoma ML-500
  • Table 44: Application Trend Factors for Microprojectors
  • Table 45: Technology & Application Trend Factors for Stand-alone Picoprojectors
  • Table 46: Microprojector Content Types
  • Table 47: Microprojector Interface Types & Sources
  • Table 48: Breakdown of Market Segments by Application
  • Table 49: Breakdown of Corporate Market Segments
  • Table 50: Module and Projector Prices used in the Revenue Forecasts
  • Table 51: ASPs for Modules and Projectors in Home and Corporate Markets
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