Toshiba is looking to bring the projector market into the retail arena, launching new projectors that the vendor claims will rival large-screen televisions on both pricepoint and quality.
Projectors have typically been found solely in business domains, but products capable of reproducing digital images from DVD players, digital TV or games consoles are now making their way onto the market. Toshiba is now looking at the retail market as an alternate sales channel for the products.
"In the past, projectors have been seen as a boardroom accessory," explained Toshiba's corporate marketing manager, Justin White. "There is a huge change now; people want to move to a cinema-viewing experience in the home."
According to Toshiba, the take-up of DVD players has provided a catalyst to help push the products forward in the home market. Prices have also dropped to a more affordable level for the home user, although the $6000 starting price-tag confines the product to the top end of the viewing market. Nevertheless, White is confident the retail market will provide another avenue of growth for the sector.
"The problem with large-screen technology is it takes up a lot of real estate in the living room," he said. "And at $6000 to $12,000, they are at a similar pricepoint [as projectors]. So projectors are beginning to prove a very popular choice for consumers.
"Projectors lend themselves to the home environment because they are small, light and can be easily moved from room to room. If consumers walk into a store and see a projector and large-screen TV side-by-side, there is a good change they will give the projector serious consideration."
The advent of Digital TV will also be a "huge catalyst", he said, and would eventually provide viewing quality better than that currently offered by DVDs.
Retailers such as Harvey Norman already offer Toshiba projectors with its range of notebooks. The vendor is now looking to extend this market to the home user.