I'm Rob Sabin, the new editor at ProjectorCentral.com. If you're a longtime visitor to our site, you know that my predecessor Evan Powell, a co-founder of ProjectorCentral in 1998, has shepherded its content since the very beginning. A lot has happened in the industry in these two decades, starting with the advent of the first small-chassis digital projectors that replaced those clumsy and heavy CRT-driven models. It was this innovation, along with the emergence of the web itself, that signaled to Evan and his cohorts that the market for front projectors was poised for vast expansion, and that there might be an opportunity to provide a comprehensive resource to track products and identify the most desirable models. Twenty years later, the end result is here for all to see. I'm honored and excited to be stepping into some very big shoes.
If you recognize my name at all, you know I don't come to this job from out of the blue. Like Evan, I've also been following developments in front projection for a couple of decades in various editorial roles, most recently as the editor-in-chief of Sound & Vision magazine and it's companion website, and before that, Home Theater.
For a few years between editorial gigs, I was a custom electronics installer and eventually ran my own small install company, a period in which I worked on theaters ranging from budget to luxury. So, I've seen the projector business from the standpoint of both a consumer advocate and an integrator/reseller. Both perspectives will help inform my new position.
Having just arrived back from the annual CEDIA Expo, I am reminded what a great time this is to be writing about front projection. There's a lot going on, and you'll see this reflected in our coverage going forward. 4K resolution, now well established as the defacto standard among flatpanel displays, is clearly trickling down to the lower price levels among projectors for both home theater and commercial use, and I suspect it will soon become the common, rather than premium, choice for buyers at every price point. Solid-state laser light engines, which bring the obvious benefits of eliminating lamp replacements and the potential for high-lumen output, are also appearing more frequently and at lower prices. Manufacturers seem to be getting their collective brain around HDR for projection (for which there is no established industry standard) and are honing the tone-mapping algorithms that deliver this highly desirable benefit. Ambient-light-reducing (ALR) screens are continuing their march forward, thanks to their ability to bring the bigscreen projection experience into brightly lit spaces or even improve contrast in dark-room settings. And I've been keenly eyeing the growth of ultra short throw (UST) projection for home theater. These projectors, long a fixture in the commercial market, can put a 100-inch image on a screen from just a few inches away, require no running of in-wall cables or power to a remote location. That ease of installation, especially combined with the benefits of ALR screens, portends potentially huge growth in front projection home theater. If you've not yet seen one of the late-gen UST projectors demo'd, expect to be amazed. Their ability to cast a huge image from such short distance without optical distortion seems to defy science.
So stay tuned, as we used to say in TV Land. You can follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/projectorcentralUS) and subscribe to our email newsletter if you'd like to be alerted to new articles and reviews as they're posted up. And if you'd like to suggest subjects or products for future coverage, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post comments below. I'll look forward to hearing from you.