Projector People InfoComm 2009 Review – New Tiny Bright and 3D Projectors

InfoComm has come and gone once again. This year we don’t have any real earth shattering stories to report, but some progress has been made with some cool newer technologies. Here’s our quickie round up for projectors at InfoComm 2009.

LED Projector Light Sources

Micro portable projectors are now hot on the scene. Unfortunately, the projectors that slip easily into your pocket still have some maturing to do before they can replace their big brothers. The pocket projectors use LED technology, so they produce good color. They also require less energy to operate which means they can run on a battery for an hour or two. Their only real drawbacks are their limited connectivity, lower resolution, and their brightness – or rather dimness. They are just not realistically bright enough for many practical applications. Most hover at somewhere between 10 and 20 lumens.

However, the slightly-bigger-than-pocket palm sized LED projectors have reached more impressive lumen ranges of up to 100-150 lumens. Resolutions are also improved in the palm sized units. There are now XGA (1024×768) resolution products coming to market sometime this year.

[ Edited Oct. 2, 2009 ]

There are also clear intentions toward entering LED projection into the home theater market with a widescreen resolution optimized home theater LED projector. LED technology in home theater projectors is an exciting proposition because users would benefit from longer ‘lamp life’, lower power consumption, and a nice accurate color space.

LED home theater projectors look to be a few months out at least, and will probably have a significant asking price. Call it an early adopters tax.

3-D Projectors Coming Soon

3D Projectors

Speaking of early adoption, one of the big pushes at InfoComm this year was 3-D projection. Mitsubishi has released several TVs this past year with 3-D technology built in, and that technology is also coming to projectors.

So is your dream of 3-D becoming a reality? Maybe not just yet. For starters, the manufacturers seem to be targeting the Education market for this new technology. Probably because the technology isn’t quite mature enough for the demanding consumer. Additionally, buyers will need to purchase a set of 3-D glasses to enjoy the action. Not the kind you get free at the IMAX theater, or the kind you get from a cereal box (do they still put toys in cereal boxes?) but rather a special pair that will cost you somewhere between $125 to $300. That might be doable if you wanted to watch your 3-D alone, but of course you would have to multiply that by the number of people you like to get motion sickness with. Only kidding. The technology is really very cool, and 3-D might be to HDTV what color was to black and white. And it might also be a great tool for educators, particularly in the Arts and Sciences.

If you want to get yourself some 3-D, you shouldn’t have to wait too many more years. There were a number of manufacturers promoting the technology which should keep things progressing. We will be sure to get some 3-D projectors to review if we can so we can take some 2D video of it and share it with you!

Other Projector Stuff

There were a few other potentially exciting developments, but we still don’t have enough details to post anything yet. But we will keep you updated when we know more about new products coming out for fall – and on any other developments in home and business projection.

Fun Picture

Here’s a graphic that made us chuckle at InfoComm this year. We took a picture so you could take proper safety measures.

Projector Funny

Note that the graphic is placed directly next to the lens in small pictures. The message is not immediately evident, so you might expect people to lean in to figure out the message… which is telling you not to look into the lens.

Thanks for reading! As always, we are welcome to suggestions and comments!

More InfoComm 2009 Roundups

Projector Reviews

Art has sorted through some of the thumb drives he picked up at InfoComm and is sharing his perspective with you here.

Epson Ensemble HD Home Theater : Literally Everything You Need in One Box!

Epson Ensemble HD home cinema package

Some kids like doing their homework, some kids copy their friends work, and still others charm their way into good grades. The latter is the category where you might put the ideal buyer of the new Epson Ensemble HD Home Theater Systems. The Ensemble is a truly charming – and totally put-together – package for any buyer who doesn’t want to do their homework – but really wants to succeed.

It’s Easy

If you’re technically minded, putting together a home theater system is probably sounds like fun. But if you either don’t have time to understand all there is to know about HD home theater, or you really just want the HD experience without all the work involved, then there is an Epson Ensemble HD package that is just right for you.

One of the great benefits to purchasing a package is that you get most of all that you need in one purchase. But even with a good package, there may be some things that are not included. A subwoofer cable tripped me up over the holidays, as I was setting up my new Tannoy speakers. Who knew that wouldn’t be included in the box? So I had to wait till I got back to the electronics store to hear Rock Band at full volume.

It’s Fast

But with the Epson Ensemble HD systems, they have thought of everything. Each cable is included, and is packaged together for each step of the project. The speakers are integrated into the screen, so once your screen is installed your front and center speakers are mounted too. Also, your rear speakers are housed in the projector mount, and the speaker and projector can be powered by the (included) power cables that connect to the subwoofer. No additional power outlets are required. And all your cables can be hidden away in special molding that has a peel and stick adhesive and sticks right to your ceiling. So you have a solution for hiding cables, complete power to your system, and everything you need is shipped together.

Since everything is included, it is possible that you could have all of the electronic components installed for a home theater in one weekend, without leaving your house!. In fact, the remote control is pre-programed, so it’s ready to go when you open the box. There is even an installation video to help you piece together all the parts if you don’t like to read manuals. We have it online here.

It’s Cool

HDMI 1.4 Release

As if a 100-inch image with HD resolution and surround sound isn’t cool enough, the Ensemble system includes an AM/FM tuner and an iPod input built in to the receiver and more. The receiver also includes a PC card slot for quick and easy viewing of photographs, and you can listen to the music without dropping your screen for an impromptu dance party.

It’s Included

The Epson Ensemble HD system takes the ‘everything’s included’ concept to the next level. The pallet of boxes shipped to you includes all the screws, cables, nuts, bolts, components, wire covers, that you need to do the entire installation. Here is what’s included in the Epson Ensemble HD Home Theater System :

  • Your choice of three HD Epson projectors (Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB, 6100, or 720)
  • One (1) 100-inch electric screen with integrated speaker (center, right, left)
  • One (1) custom 5.1 surround sound system with 10-inch subwoofer
  • One (1) AV controller with dual HDMI inputs, built-in progressive-scan DVD player with 1080p upconversion and AM/FM tuner.
  • One (1) pre-programmed remote control with LCD display.
  • All mounting brackets, cables and wire management tracks.

It’s Easy, Fast, Cool and Included

Technically, I suppose you actually are doing your homework by reading this article, but now you’re pretty much done. If you have been waiting to purchase till you had all the info you need for a killer Home Theater, your work is done here.

We Have Video!

Take a sneek peek into our Epson Ensemble HD home theater system training. You can watch our complete, slightly edited for time, Ensemble HD training session with Epson’s National Training Manager. The video includes an overview of each of the ‘pieces parts’ included in the system. Give your self a half hour to watch the complete video. It is available on YouTube (in 3 segments) and Vimeo.

Watch our Epson Ensemble HD Home Theater system training Video

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a Projector Expert? Of course you have! And now you can. Sit back and watch 20 some minutes and learn all there is to know about the new Epson HD projector packages. Watch and learn below.

Epson Training Session : Epson Ensemble HD Home Cinema Systems June 2009 from Projector People on Vimeo.

New HDMI 1.4 Standard : Set to Stun?

HDMI 1.4 Release

A new standard for HDMI cable technology has just been announced. HDMI version 1.4 ups the performance of version 1.3 but there are multiple ‘catches’ to the new face of HDMI.

What’s Great About HDMI 1.4?

There’s a lot to be excited about with the new HDMI 1.4 release. First off, it’s a smaller connector than version 1.3. But, more importantly it includes HD cabling for ethernet, 3-D content and even a cable for your automobile. But what might catch many buyers off guard is what they have to know before making the upgrade. Essentially, there are several HDMI 1.4 options and they all do something different. Here are the new features taken directly from the HDMI.org’s website press release on HDMI 1.4.

The HDMI 1.4 specification will offer the following enhanced functionalities:

HDMI 1.4 Release HDMI Ethernet Channel

The HDMI 1.4 specification will add a data channel to the HDMI cable and will enable high-speed bi-directional communication. Connected devices that include this feature will be able to send and receive data via 100 Mb/sec Ethernet, making them instantly ready for any IP-based application.

The HDMI Ethernet Channel will allow an Internet-enabled HDMI device to share its Internet connection with other HDMI devices without the need for a separate Ethernet cable. The new feature will also provide the connection platform to allow HDMI-enabled devices to share content between devices.

Audio Return Channel

The new specification will add an Audio Return Channel that will reduce the number of cables required to deliver audio upstream for processing and playback. In cases where HDTVs are directly receiving audio and video content, this new Audio Return Channel allows the HDTV to send the audio stream to the A/V receiver over the HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an extra cable.

3D Over HDMI

The 1.4 version of the specification will define common 3D formats and resolutions for HDMI-enabled devices. The specification will standardize the input/output portion of the home 3D system and will specify up to dual-stream 1080p resolution.

4K x 2K Resolution Support

The new specification will enable HDMI devices to support high-definition (HD) resolutions four times beyond the resolution of 1080p. Support for 4K x 2K will allow the HDMI interface to transmit content at the same resolution as many digital theaters. Formats supported include:

3840×2160 24Hz/25Hz/30Hz
4096×2160 24Hz

Expanded Support For Color Spaces

HDMI technology now supports color spaces designed specifically for digital still cameras. By supporting sYCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601, HDMI-enabled display devices will be capable of reproducing more accurate life-like colors when connected to a digital still camera.

Micro HDMI Connector

The Micro HDMI Connector is a significantly smaller 19-pin connector that supports up to 1080p resolutions for portable devices. This new connector is approximately 50% smaller than the size of the existing HDMI Mini Connector.

Automotive Connection System

The Automotive Connection System is a cabling specification designed to be used as the basis for in-vehicle HD content distribution. The HDMI 1.4 specification will provide a solution designed to meet the rigors and environmental issues commonly found in automobiles, such as heat, vibration and noise. Using the Automotive Connection System, automobile manufactures will now have a viable solution for distributing HD content within the car.

Sound awesome, right? But, here’s the catch. To get all these features, you would have to buy five different cables. What? There will be five cable options for HDMI 1.4, and they will each have a different set of capabilities. Oooh, and it’s not going to be compatible with your current HDMI components. Womp womp waaaaaah. More from the HDMI.org website :

Consumers will have a choice of the following HDMI cables:

  • Standard HDMI Cable – supports data rates up to 1080i/60;
  • High Speed HDMI Cable – supports data rates beyond 1080p, including Deep Color and all 3D formats of the new 1.4 specification;
  • Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet – includes Ethernet connectivity;
  • High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet – includes Ethernet connectivity;
  • Automotive HDMI Cable – allows the connection of external HDMI-enabled devices to an in-vehicle HDMI device.

So, when the new cables are released, be prepared for confusion in the marketplace, and be ready for some serious upselling at your local electronics stores. Our advice is to be prepared about the standard before you make a purchase. Cables are expensive! Except our cables, of course.

When will you see HDMI 1.4 on the shelves? Sometime after June 30th manufacturers will be able to download all of the technical information need to manufacture the new cables.

Read more from About Home Theater here : Run Down on Features of HDMI Versions 1.0 – 1.4

(source : Robert Silva, About.com Home Theater)

New Epson Projector Rebates!

Epson Instant Coupons and Rebates

Projector People is now offering exclusive rebate savings on select Epson PowerLite business projectors. Also, Epson Home Cinema and education rebates have been extended into July!

Epson PowerLite Business Projector Rebates

The following Epson projectors have Projector People exclusive rebates from 06/10/09 – 07/10/09. Take advantage of these special reduced price offers while they last!

These Projector People exclusive rebates above are valid from 06/10/09 – 07/10/09

Epson Home Cinema Projector Rebates

Epson Home Theater projector manufacturer rebates have been extended. As has our exclusive offer on the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB – get a 25 foot HDMI 1.3 cable, and universal projector ceiling mount through 7/15/2009.

See all Epson projectors and details on all available rebates and promotions on our Epson Projectors list page:

As always, you can call a Projector Expert between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday – Friday for advice on which projector is best for you, for package pricing, and any of your projector related questions.

InFocus Projectors and Content Over USB

Is DisplayLink the Missing Link (to an easy presentation)?

InFocus is on the move with some great new projector technology in their latest line of portable projectors. The IN3100 line (see short list below) includes one of the cooler new technologies to come to projectors in years – DisplayLink. You might also hear this referred to as “content over USB”. So why is this technology cool and how is it the Missing Link to easy presentations? Read on… or watch our video with Benjamin Joy from InFocus discussing DisplayLink.

Watch and learn about InFocus DisplayLink technology.

Travel Lighter

If you travel with your projector, you know that while cables are small, they can still add some bulk and weight to your carry bag. And the largest cable most Road Warriors have to travel with is the old standard VGA cable. It may not weigh a full pound, but it’s pretty bulky as cables go. With new DisplayLink technology, you can leave the big VGA cable at home and replace it with a much smaller and lighter USB 2.0 connector. It’s the same kind of USB cable you use for many digital cameras or PDAs with the smaller end connecting to the projector, and the larger end coming out of your computer.

InFocus Content Over USB

Even More Pluggier and Player

Beyond traveling lighter, you also get some improved usability with DisplayLink products. When you plug in your USB cable into the computer and projector, the DisplayLink technology is smart enough to determine the best matching resolution automatically. It also magically determines how to mirror the content on laptop and projector when possible. That question alone, according to Ben Joy, InFocus Product Manager, accounts for about 80% of their tech support calls. And here at Projector People, we get that question all the time too. So, if you’re a projector rookie, this is a feature that will spare you some first-time frustration.

Is It Tricky to Set Up?

It doesn’t seem to be. The software for the DisplayLink technology is loaded on the projector, so all you do is plug in the cable and the software comes directly off the projector to your laptop. You can get the software on as many computers as you want, there is no limit as there sometimes is with wireless software. And, with multi-display capability, you can connect up to six projectors at once from one computer. This feature also allows users to present content from multiple sources during meetings, making it very handy for videoconferences and collaborative meetings where two or more inputs need to be shown simultaneously.

Now Mac Compatible!

In January of 2009, InFocus announced that their DisplayLink technology is now Mac compatible. That’s a good thing since many tech support teams don’t know how to troubleshoot for Apple computers.

[ See all InFocus Projectors here» and a selection of InFocus projectors with DisplayLink below ]

So, DisplayLink looks to be about as Plug and Play as you can get. And since it’s built-in to the new line of InFocus portable projectors, just about any new InFocus portable should have it. Ask your Projector Expert for details.