Monday was day one of Insight Media’s Projection Summit, before the start of InfoComm in Las Vegas. The event covered lots of territory including updates in LED/Laser projection, one of "the hot topics" this year as it empowers the market for pico projectors. Speakers included 3M’s projection systems marketing manager, Michael O’Keefe who gave us the hint of a "Q3 launch" of a cell phone "accessory projector" that goes a long way to validate this nascent market. O’Keefe said 3M sees the mobile market transitioning from "video’s for me" (personal mobile displays) to "video’s for we" (sharing) that taps into both business and consumer social network communities. He also tipped their development hand noting 3M’s preference for LCOS imagers over other technologies calling them best suited to meet the future needs of increased display resolution in mobile applications. The company also expects to "ride the wave of innovation" in LED illumination, based on the major investments being made well beyond display illumination and projection that include commercial lighting applications.
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Drew Osterman of QPC Lasers was perhaps the best qualified to discuss the adoption of pico projectors in cell phones as he has done this all before. Previously Osterman worked to develop the world’s first CMOS imager and "along with Nokia produced the now ubiquitous camera phone." He was also the most bullish on the industry growth, claiming that his company based in Sylmar, CA could ramp from the current 3M laser diodes produced every month to a whopping 18M and grow that 8X in the next eight quarters if necessary. Christian Hoepfner of Luminus gave us the LED illumination update on PhlatLight LEDs and Hans Stohr of Sypro Optics spoke of a new field lens design and IP using a 0.17-inch HVGA (480 x 320) DMD and a discussion on embedded module interfacing.
Session two involved a heated debate between 3LCD’s Tim Anderson and Texas Instrument’s Pete van Kessel over the need (or not) for an industry acceptable color metric. This was sandwiched between a wonderful presentation by Michael Rudd of THX on the viability of grey vs. white screens in improving contrast in the Image Quality session moderated by the recently named InfoComm Educator of the Year, Pete Putman (of Roam Consulting and his popular HDTVexpert.com).
Want more? The session following lunch covered connectivity with wireless dominating the venue including uncompressed HD solutions, from Amimon (given by Noam Geri) and Radiospire’s Tandhoni Rao, both men co-founders of their respective company’s and both alumni from Texas Instruments. Eileen Robarge of Luxtera, gave a gripping presentation on DisplayPort and their company’s fiber optic chip solution that led to "… yet another display standard" discussion, with robust comments from the audience that spilled over into the follow-up panel session. Robarge stood her ground with a fiber solution offering bandwidth support for a whopping WQXGA (yes Wide Quad eXtended Graphics Array or 2560 x 1600) at 60 Hz and 24 bit color, in her company’s offering of the world’s first optical DisplayPort connection.
But it was Dennis Crespo who quickly became the most popular man in the room by offering a USB wired dongle device to everyone in attendance, to "spread the word" about DisplayLink. Their universal multi monitor display solution is based on USB connectivity that can daisy chain up to six simultaneous monitors or projectors via USB direct or a hub. Crespo also said there is a fully WiMedia wireless USB compliant version that is due out in late-08.
The final presentation for the day was on business projection moderated by Dr. Arthur Berman and included a talk from Mike Fisher of DTC on projector differentiation tactics "in a cluttered world." For instance, he identified new growth opportunities like WXGA (wide) projector formats, high-end segments and new short-throw projectors (four were shown in the Projection Summit showcase.) The last presentation of the day was from Sony who focused on lamp improvements that use an elliptical reflector with concave lens, a new optical path design and a discussion on Sony’s LCOS and BrightEra LCD engine technology gains.
To miss this summit was to miss a big opportunity to catch up on the latest and greatest in projection. There is one more day filled with coverage on digital signage, large venue professional projectors, a white light sources session featuring Waven, Ceravision, and Philips. But for some the most interesting will be the last session of the summit on pocket projectors that promises to include details on the recent Insight Media forecast, plus a review of the demand side of pico/pocket projectors by Dr. Coggshall of Pacific Media Associates, and a Corning presentation on new metrics for evaluating microprojectors. We will bring you this coverage and a more complete review of each session in our Large Display Report and Mobile Display Report in the following weeks.