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Bringing projectors out of dark rooms into living rooms: Optoma's Vijay Sharma tells us how

Vijay Sharma, Country Head India, Optoma Corporation Vijay Sharma, Country Head India, Optoma Corporation
Vijay Sharma, Country Head India, Optoma Corporation (Optoma)

We had a chat with Vijay Sharma, Country Head India, Optoma Corporation about breaking some myths about projectors and also about how to set up the ideal home theatre system at home. Read on…

It's been more than a year since we stepped into movie halls to watch something. Laptops, tablets and TVs have replaced movie screens for us and it looks like that's how things are going to go for at least a while longer. 

But, there's something magical about big screens and the details it can deliver. That's where projectors come in. 

Projectors are now no longer restricted to conference rooms. They've crossed the threshold and entered our homes now. We spoke to Vijay Sharma, Country Head India, Optoma Corporation, to understand the transition and also to learn about what 2021 holds for Optoma and its customers. 

Sharma also had some suggestions about how to set up an ideal home theatre system. Read on to find out…

1. How has the projector market in India changed over 2020 and 2021?

The year gone by not only impacted the projector industry but also every part of the economy and our lives in a big way. This industry witnessed a 60% drop in the demand especially from education, corporate sector and the government segment. 

Last year, we adopted new practices as the world adjusted to the new normal, where social distancing, work from home and virtual meetings are the norm. Our social lives moved online during the pandemic, and entertainment consumption patterns also saw a notable change with unprecedented rise of TV viewing, online gaming and over-the-top (OTT) consumption. 

Year 2020 magnified the already apparent shift from small screen digital devices and TV viewing to large screens which is continuing in 2021. Now consumers are bringing entertainment in a larger-than-life sizes into their homes, living rooms and bed rooms whether it is movies, events, sports or shows. 

Technological advancements in projectors is also playing a pivotal role through affordable 4K UHD products, long-life laser light source, ultra-short throw projectors to reproduce 120-inches and bigger screens from inches and high brightness products.

The entire situation changed the consumers’ perspective towards entertainment. That gave us an opportunity to focus on the home segment which made a difference and increased our share in the overall market. 

2. How did the pandemic affect your plans for 2020 and how and what did you change to keep up?

Due to pandemic we restrategised out plans for the India market and for the segments that were getting traction - like home segment projectors. As the major parts of the economy were shut, we revisited our product launch plans, engagement with channel partners and our distribution approach. We introduced new practices for remote working in our system once the economy started to open up. The product launch plan for the home segment were paced up to meet growing requirements from the home entertainment industry.

As I mentioned earlier, in 2020, the availability of the network connectivity as the fiber-to-home, 4G connectivity made it easier for the customer to consume 4K content, we launched an entire range of 4K and Smart Projectors. We also launched World’s first Alexa-enabled projector. Our latest launch Optoma Cinema X P2 4k laser TV received a great response from customers. It’s a consumer product integrated with smart features which allows the consumer the flexibility in terms of installation as well as watching content without any additional set up.

3. What are your plans for India in 2021?

We are going to focus on the segments where our strength lies which are the home and Pro AV segments. Our USP is our advanced technology. We have always been the first movers in the industry by introducing innovative products for all the segments. In 2021, with our innovative and forward-looking products, we are going to focus on the home segment and keep up our commitment to the Indian market by launching new AV products. For education and corporate segment we are bringing in the new Interactive Flat Panel (IFP) .

We see consolidation happening in the projector industry for the education segment. Now since education institutes are opening up we see there would be pent up demand for upgradation of infrastructure. Last, but not the least, the government is also pushing for the digitisation of class rooms with new vigour, hence to cater to the requirement we would be launching the interactive flat panel range very soon.

4. What are the myths associated with projectors in India?

People have a number of misconceptions regarding projectors. Earlier versions of projectors had lamp life as an impediment, but that's not the case any more. The latest range of projectors like Optoma Cinema P2 gives an assured life span of 30,000 hours which in a way will give consumers more than 15 years of content watching even if it is used 4-5 hours every day.

In the past, projectors were always used in the Dark Room. The situation is different now, the new-age projectors are meant for living rooms and offer flawless performance and function just like a TV. Once these ultra short-throw projectors are combined with ALR screens (Ambient Light Rejecting screens) they can function in high ambient light as well. 

People also think that we need big rooms for projectors. With new generation of ultra short throw projectors, getting a 120-inch screen is merely a matter of a few inches from the wall. The installation related issues are taken care of with smart APP’s and highly flexible products which can be bought off the shelf and installed just like a television.

The latest generation of projectors are also portable enough to be carried from one room to another or for a picnic or to watch a match in the balcony or the courtyard.

5. Do you think how Indian consumers see projectors has changed over the last year? Has it successfully managed to move out of conference rooms to people’s living rooms? If yes, how and what do you think drove that change? If no, what do you think the problems are and what needs to be done?

There is a change in the way people perceive projectors and this is quite apparent that the projectors have clearly crossed the boundaries of offices and theatres.

People have started using projectors for a variety of reasons. As the new age technology has solved the lifeline issues of the projectors, we can see the rising adoption by households.

Today, people want to have a premium experience in everything they do. That’s why they are looking at projectors for home-theatre which are not only sophisticated in terms of technology, but also bring in an unparalleled viewing experience. Also the availability of easy and ample quality of 4K content whether it is movies, OTT programs, and large-scale sporting events has driven the trend.

Affordability and availability of product and solutions has only increased the acceptance of projectors in the living and home-cinema rooms. Seeing the potential in the home segment, manufacturers are introducing high-end home theatre projectors at a rapid pace in India.

6. Describe the ideal home theatre setting you can envision including a projector?

With improvement in technology, now it is possible to create a home cinema setup that can rival the theatres in real sense. 

Since the essence of a home theatre setup is a larger-than-life screen of 120-inch and above, to achieve that, you need a projector. The current trend is to have ideally a 4K UHD home cinema projector or a minimum of Full HD home entertainment projector. These need to be checked for home cinema-centrist features like resolution, HDR, contrast, long life and colour output. Screen also plays an important role and will improve the quality of image significantly.

A home cinema is only 50% complete without good sound, a good AV receiver with multiple connectivity options and a pair of right speaker systems 5.1 or 7.1 is necessary to complete it.

You can add other accessories like recliners, sound dampeners, fully automated lighting and mood setting system to make an ideal home theatre.

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