Budget-Conscious 4K Projectors Pose the Question: Is Less More?
If you were the everyday consumer, interested in upgrading your home theater to something a little more technical, you might start with how you display your media. TVs are the simple solution, but you find yourself lazily browsing the endless Amazon listing of 4K projectors wondering how someone could possibly spend more than $1,000 on a projector?
Now, this should serve as more of a vessel to you, the dealer, into the psyche of your next client and the information they will generally run into when starting their journey. This shouldn't be taken as a way to disparage a manufacturer or hold one as the end-all-be-all. We can all talk till we are blue in the face talking about both ends of that spectrum, but that shouldn't be your takeaway. Take this article as the insider information to the potential client who you can help educate correctly.
Looking back at our Amazon example, it is easy to see where the information begins to be misrepresented. For bottom dollar affordability, Optoma runs the gamut with their selection of otherwise very serviceable projectors. They don't sport a ton of the fanciest features, but they get the job done and can satiate the needs of a consumer simply looking to build on a budget. Especially when they stack a few against each other and let the consumer argue internally over a few hundred dollars.
Again, these projectors have great reviews and a very attractive pricing. Now does it have high lumens, HDCP 2.2 support, frame interpolation, or, at the bare minimum, native 4K support? Not necessarily. But consumers might be expecting that, even if they don't want to pay for it.
Taking a step up from the give-or-take $1,500 projectors on Amazon is LG's latest venture, the HU80KA. First spotted at CES, LG claimed that its $3,000 projector is "half the size of other UHD projectors" and is more stylish to boot. Tantalizing features such as HDR10 standard, two built-in 7-watt speakers, optical audio, HDMI, and Bluetooth underscore the 4K resolution of the 150-inch projector.
But according to some popular consumer-facing websites, $3,000 is a bit pricey to pay for a projector. And maybe they are right, three-grand can push a bank account one way or another, but home theaters have never quite been a wallet-friendly adventure.
And if we need any more proof that you need tiers to your projector ventures, look no further than Sony's involuntary case study at CEDIA last year. Their $5,000 entry-level VPL-VW285ES is a beast in its own regards, especially when looking at other options, but also proves that you need to price down projectors if you want to seduce the everyday consumer. A tiered approach to your products - and for that matter your services - means that you won't scare away a consumer who has been breed to look at price before features.
So the next time you get a consumer looking at projectors, think about where they started their information journey. I find it ironic that integrators seem so comfortable when they talk to each other, as they already know the verbiage to explain why a product can be tangibly better than another one, but can't explain to the budget-seeking consumer why that price tag isn't arbitrary, it's a direct correlation to performance. Spend some time understanding that a consumer can be swayed into upgrading, they have just been exposed to a plethora of information that endorses sub-$100 projectors as a "best pick."
So is less more? Of course it isn't. But it is up to you to build the narrative that an upgraded piece of technology is worth more than the value, it will actually accomplish the client's goal of having a better media experience.