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Optoma’s Vijay Sharma projects Home-entertainment and Gaming as the next Demand-Markets for Laser-based Projectors

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Projectors have now come out of the board-rooms and into the homes as a big screen for home-entertainment and gaming. The pandemic period also drove the demand of projectors in the consumer space for enhancing the home cinema/entertainment experience on large screens, which was not possible on TVs. We had the opportunity to interact with Mr. Vijay Sharma, Country Head India, Optoma Corporation, who discussed about the trends in Indian projector market and also shared insights on company’s growth plan for the coming years.

Here’s the excerpt from the interaction.

From your perspective, could you share some light on how the consumers’ behaviour towards home entertainment has changed in recent times? And how Optoma is catering to this shift in consumer demand?

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The customer behaviour has changed drastically in recent times. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, we were forced to stay indoors, we realised the importance of in-home entertainment and that’s how the AV market witnessed a positive side of the lockdown. As this trend has been going on for the last two and a half years, now it is quite evident that the consumers have started to relish big screen entertainment at their homes. Consumers have started considering projector as an essential item like other consumer electronic goods of their daily entertainment dose and preferred medium.

The demand for Home Cinema Projectors has grown multiple times since 2020. Optoma has also seen demand growing by more than double Year on Year for the home cinema category of projector. Further continuing our dedication to Indian market, we have recently launched CinemaX D2 4K UHD Laser TV projector, an Ultra Short throw projector to give you up to 120” of screen size and more than 30000 hrs. of entertainment with vivid visuals. Prior to this, we have introduced UHD55 and UHZ50 in the smart projector segment which take voice commands and are compatible with Alexa and Google assistance. With a customizable screen, these high-end projectors could cater a small family as well as a group of 20-25 people as the screen size and projector location can be changed easily to suit the requirements.

Besides corporate, projectors have seen increased usage in education and home-entertainment. According to you, what would be the other areas that will witness increased adoption of projectors?

Gaming and Pro AV are 2 segments which will be witnessing increased adoption of projectors. Pro AV is a segment where high lumens projectors are used for displaying larger than life displays in immersive and mapped environments, these kinds of solutions are not possible with any other kind of system. Government in India is getting more focused on using technology to create wow factor in visitor attraction projects. This year a spectacular projection mapping showcase was created on the iconic Secretariat Building in India’s capital using PRO AV laser projectors. It elevated the scale and solemnity of the annual Beating Retreat ceremony to new heights and similar projects are executed in different parts of India from last 1.5 year or so.

Projectors have moved out of cinema rooms (dedicated areas) to living rooms and are replacing TV’s. If we compare per inch cost of TV it becomes prohibitively pricey above 65”, whereas with today’s Laser TV Projectors achieving 120” at the lesser or similar cost is possible. These latest generation projectors are high brightness hence can work in ambient light scenario which is typical of Indian house hold.

Gamers in India and abroad are hooked to different form of games and genre because of which they have long screen time exposure. The projectors are real boon in such cases as image on screen is viewed with reflective rays rather than direct rays which is typical in monitor or TV and with advancement in technology dedicated gaming projectors with Ultra-fast refresh rate of 240Hz and 4.2ms Input lag time are developed catering to this market. We take this segment as one of the biggest future demand areas and are developing projectors which can take on the requirements of gaming community head on to meet the high demand features of industry.

How is the projector market growing in India? What are Optoma’s plans to stay ahead in this competitive space?

The projector market in India is growing after registering de-growth in 2020. We have seen good growth in the home entertainment segment in the past 18 months. Consumers are now investing in high quality projectors to establish a permanent home theatre for a complete experience. Let me give you an example, due to the pandemic, many people went to their home towns and they enabled the 4k as well as the UHD content availability at their houses. In the second half of 2021, when they returned to metros or respective cities for work, they continued with their OTT connections, and UHD content. In this way, the demography of consumption changed but not the pattern and that helped us in gaining market share.

We have a strong hold on the home and Pro AV segment, so we would continue strengthening our product portfolio primarily for the home category and high brightness projector category with advanced technology projectors. We would keep on coming up with new launches to attract the customers. If we talk about installation series, again it is primarily high-end. It ranges from 6000 lumens and goes up to 22000 lumens. Within this segment also, the overall product up-gradation is happening. Optoma will keep on launching laser-based projection products to tap the category.

Short throw projectors have gained traction. What is Optoma’s offering in this category? And for what purposes would such high-end projectors be suitable for?

We have range of Ultra Short throw projectors namely D2 and D2+; these projectors are equipped with laser light source and can create a 120” screen from a distance of just 14 inches from a wall. When we talk about large screen choices for customers, either its TV or Projector. As mentioned earlier cost of TV above 75” becomes prohibitively high.

D2 & D2+ work as a complete gadget without requirement of any other external device for audio and video enabling them to provide wholesome entertainment at a home. These projectors have aesthetically superior design to augment interiors and compact enough to be transported to the choice of venue with plug n play features. You can now enjoy the larger-than-life visuals in courtyard, balcony, bedroom or living room with a single device.

What are the trends you are observing in the enterprise segment?

Enterprise is the second largest category after education in Indian market. Post COVID recovery demand is returning back from this segment but still has not reached pre COVID level. There are 2 major factors to this first – change in working habits and culture within the organisation, with work from home becoming normalised organisations are reconsidering how they want to expand their physical foot print. Secondly – the demand is much greater than the supply due to the production issues for the entire industry. This is mainly due to shortage of chips required for manufacturing.

We see easing out of supply issues and stabilising of demand by the year end.

What is the company’s strategy for this segment?

This segment in addition to the projectors is also moving towards panel technology where we have our latest range of premium Interactive Flat Panels. We have witnessed the adoption of Interactive Panels in corporate board rooms, CEO offices, Television Studios, and training rooms. Projector remains the preferred medium when the requirement is of 100” and above and cost is in consideration. Our range of laser projectors caters to these requirements of industry.

What is your roadmap to expand Optoma’s market share in coming years?

Optoma is known for its quality and innovative products and with a strong 4K product line-up, we are number 1 in the segment. As I mentioned earlier, we will continue strengthening our product portfolio and will keep on coming up with new launches to attract the customers in the home segment. We have plans to bring innovative laser-based projection products to encourage the use of projectors in homes. By next year, 80 percent of Optoma’s portfolio will be based on laser light source.

Another segment we want to focus is gaming because that is growing with leaps and bounds. We have a dedicated product line-up to tap the high-potential segment of gaming. You see a lot of YouTube videos out there, we are engaging with many gamers, influencers and also giving our products to them to have hands-on experience and talk about our products in their community.

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