The Arrival of the Portable Light Cannons Pt. 1

Evan Powell, November 11, 1999
November 11, 1999

A bold new breed of stunning high-performance projectors has recently appeared on the scene. We now live in the era (ninety days is an era in this business) of the portable light cannon, a high-performance, portable, all-purpose conference room projector.

Till now, this awesome new beast could be identified by the following markings: screaming bright 2000 ANSI lumens, XGA resolution, and a very portable 13 to 15 lbs., all for an MSRP of around $12,000, and street prices running substantially less than that. (See our Current Prices section for the latest quotes.)

Vendors are rushing to ante up an offering inthis hot new category. They started showing up at Infocomm in June. Then Mitsubishiappeared about two months ago, loaded-for-bear with their fully featured X300. Sanyo, Canon, Hitachi, Proxima, Panasonic, and Eiki have also weighed in with comparable units.

Earlier this week, two more products were announced. InFocus released their new 2000 lumen portable XGA product, the LP770, at an MSRP of $11,999. And NEC also joined the fray with the MultiSync MT1045 at $12,995. However, that isn't all. The rumbling you hear is the earthquake announcement from ViewSonic that just came over the wire: The PJ1060 Office Theater will be unwrapped at COMDEX next week. Vital stats: 2000 ANSI Lumens, 13.5 pounds, XGA native resolution, scalable to SXGA, motorized zoom and focus, digital keystone correction, picture-in-picture, and a three-year warranty. Oh, the MSRP? $6,995. ViewSonic looks like they are coming to play.

The increasing number of products in the category is in itself enough to create downward pressure on prices. But the entry of the ViewSonic unit should destabilize current price levels even further. Check out the current array of portable light cannons that are taking aim at the "all-purpose" sector of the market:

Product

ANSI lumen
rating
Weight
(lbs.)
Native
Resolution
MSRP
Mitsubishi X300 2000 13.0 XGA $11,495
InFocus LP770 2000 13.0 XGA $11,999
Yokogawa D-2100X 2100 12.5 XGA $11,495
Sanyo PLC-XP10NA 1900 14.5 XGA $11,995
Canon LV-7510 1900 14.6 XGA $11,995
Eiki LC-XGA980UE 1900 14.6 XGA $11,995
Hitachi CP-X960W 1800 13.0 XGA $12,995
Seleco SLC HB1 1800 13.0 XGA $10,995
NEC MultiSync MT1045 2000 12.8 XGA $12,995
Proxima DP9250+ 1900 14.3 XGA $11,999
Toshiba TLP-770 1800 15.0 XGA $ 9,495
Sharp Notevision 6 2200 15.9 XGA $12,995
Epson Powerlite 8000i 2200 18.3 XGA $15,999
Panasonic PT-L797PWU 2200 20.0 XGA $12,995
ViewSonic PJ1060 2000 13.5 XGA $ 6,995

Now when it comes to ANSI lumens...

The products in this category range from 1800 to2200 ANSI lumens. We suggest ignoring the ANSI lumen rating as a factor inchoosing between these machines for two reasons. First, the ANSI lumen rating isa "typical" measurement. Actual lumen ratings can easily vary 20% fromunit to unit because of manufacturing variances in lamps, optics and displays.Second, it is very difficult for the human eye to detect the difference between1800 ANSI lumens and 2200 ANSI lumens when they are displayed side-by-side.

Continue to Part Two