Bringing Home the (Kevin) Bacon

If your projector is doing double duty, projecting PowerPoint slide presentations for clients by day and blockbuster movies in your living room by night, you are not alone. More and more sales reps are putting projectors to use after business hours, winding down at night with a movie projected life size on their living room wall or inviting a crowd to watch the Super Bowl in super size.

In a July 2001 survey, Pacific Media Associates, a Menlo Park, CA-based company that tracks the 50 biggest projector resellers found that 18% of people who own a projector for business purposes also have used that projector at home. Just 4% of respondents said they have a dedicated projector for home theater use. The 18% figure indicates there’s lots of opportunity for growth in the number of projectors doing double duty, says PMA President Bill Coggshall. “I just think that a lot of people don’t think about using their portable business projector for home theater yet.” Coggshall plans another survey in early 2003.

If buying trends at ProjectorCentral are any indication, Coggshall is likely to find those home theater usage numbers higher than they were in 2001. Earlier this year, Dave Dicklich, CEO of ProjectorCentral, said there has been a significant shift towards demand for home theater projectors. “I think that’s related to people trying to create their own entertainment center – a comfort zone in their homes,” he said. “Because people are concerned about terrorism.” Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, about 36% of ProjectorCentral’s traffic was home theater; by mid-2002, Dicklich estimated it was more than 50%.

David Gardner is a typical user. In May 2002, Gardner purchased a Boxlight Cinema 12SF, a 6.7-pound, DLP unit with 1000 ANSI lumens, 600:1 contrast ratio and SVGA resolution. The projector, he says, is much better for viewing movies than a TV because with a TV there are really only a handful a good viewing spots and they’re all right in the path of the screen. “A projector,” he says, “opens up the room and seating options because there is no washout if you watch the screen from an angle. It’s certainly much more versatile.” Gardner also hooks up his computer to the projector to review his company’s Website. “The larger screen allows me to take a more critical look at the design,” he says.