Projecting into the home

Projecting into the home

While the education and corporate segments are the favoured children in the projectors space, home theatre does have its attractions for the channel.

Projector resellers are an emotional bunch, or at least they should be if they want in on the home theatre segment. Unlike the corporate or education markets, where growth is healthy and buyers are spurned on by the Federal Government’s support for a digital education revolution, the home theatre segment often relies on the whims and fancies of users that might just opt for an LCD or plasma TV instead.

“It’s a lot different dealing with an end user who is buying a projector for home than one buying it for their company,” Mitsubishi Electric product manager visual information systems, Matthew Hanna, said. “Number one, they are spending their own money and number two, it is in their own house. So it needs to be something that is going to have the best possible picture quality and is installed perfectly in their own home.”

While the projector market sells – ahem – projectors, the industry maintains clear lines of separation between data varieties for the education and corporate segments, and video projectors for home theatre. So much so that many vendors, like Panasonic, have distinct business units covering both. And this is an approach many vendors advise their resellers to note.

“There is quite a line drawn in the sand. Going into a data projector, education/corporate market is a totally different game from working in the home theatre space,” InFocus regional sales manager, Sean Tobin, said.

“Any reseller who wants to target that space really needs to make an investment in displaying the product in-store. You are selling an emotional experience of a home theatre whereas the corporate/education is your traditional channel business where you are in there competing against a number of players.”

Worlds apart

Accordingly, the opportunities differ greatly. While 2008 Q1 figures for the overall projectors market have been flat because of the prevailing economic conditions, the education sector holds promise.

“If you compare first quarter 2008 versus first quarter 2007, the growth is declining four per cent,” IDC associate market analyst, Felipe Rego, explained. “If you look at the full year 2007 against 2006 it was still a growing market and 2008 is sort of declining.”

IDC splits the projector market into commercial and consumer.

“Education is a very important sector for projectors; it is around 25 per cent of the total market. It has been steady because there is a lot of demand coming in education, particularly now with Kevin Rudd’s promise around the digital education revolution,” Rego said.

This Rudd ‘revolution’ hype has not only built around the PC market but also digital cameras, data projectors and interactive whiteboards – all items highlighted in the government blueprint.

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