How Epson Plans To Expand The Projector Market

Company also intent on encouraging more color printing by consumers
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Company also intent on encouraging more color printing by consumers
Epson Home Cinema 2040.jpg

New York — Printers and projectors are the focus of new Epson America products that include value-priced home-cinema projectors whose improved picture quality is intended to woo consumers away from flat-panel displays.

The company also hinted at additional projector introductions that would incorporate other enhancements also designed to push projectors further into the consumer mainstream.

In printers, Epson the industry’s first five ink-jet printers in the U.S. market with large “super tank” ink reservoirs said to reduce the cost of color printing and deliver up to two years of printing without refills.

In home cinema, two new 3D-capable 1080p 3LCD front projectors — the $799-suggested Home Cinema 2040 and $849 Home Cinema 2045 — sport improved dynamic contrast ratios of 35,000:1, improved white and color brightness of 2,200 lumens, improved image processing, and frame interpolation to smooth out action for sports programs and video games. These capabilities haven’t been available from Epson home cinema projectors before at prices of less than $1,000, said Jason Palmer, senior marketing manager for home entertainment, during a press event.

Improved image processing includes noise reduction and detail enhancement, the company said.

The focus on image quality at a value price will help expand the projector market to appeal to flat-panel TV buyers who might have otherwise shied away from value projectors because of picture quality, he explained. These consumers will now be able to enjoy such projector benefits as larger images, lack of glare, and less obtrusive footprint, Palmer said.

The models, which project images up to 300 inches diagonally, feature the company’s 3LCD technology to deliver equal doses of white and color brightness, rated in lumens, to deliver color-brightness levels that are up to three times higher than competing models, Palmer said. Suppliers of competing products promote their products’ high levels of white brightness without mentioning the products’ lower color-brightness levels, he noted.

Both models feature built-in mono speaker and two HDMI ports, one of which is MHL-enabled to support streaming sticks such as the Roku and Chromecast sticks. The 2045 adds Wi-Fi-based Miracast to mirror the contents of Android devices and laptops. It also features Intel WiDi to mirror the content of WiDi-equipped laptops. The 2045 also adds a speaker output to add on an amplified speaker system for outdoor use.

The two projectors are targeted mainly to people using the devices in rooms with low levels of ambient light, particularly dedicated home-theater rooms.

Both models replace current models and will be available in late August through etailers, retailers, and Epson’s online store.

A third new value projector is the $649-suggested 720p $649 Home Cinema 740D with 3LCD technology, 3,000 lumens of white and color brightness, projection up to 300 inches, split screen to display two videos or still images, 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, mono speaker and HDMI port. It will be available in September through retailers and Epson’s online store.

In inkjet printers, the company launched the industry’s first U.S.-market models with permanent print heads and “super tank” ink reservoirs to reduce the cost of color printing and eliminate the frustration of running out of a particular color in the middle of a print job. Fewer ink refills also lead to less waste, the company said.

The five models, under the EcoTank brand for homes and small-to-medium businesses, are priced at a suggested $379, $399, $429, $499 and $1,199. They will be available in September at major computer, office and electronic superstores, mail-order retailers, and online stores, including Epson’s online store.

The printers come with three color-ink reservoirs and one black-ink reservoir, each letting consumers view ink levels so they can replenish a reservoir before it runs out. Each printer comes with ink bottles to fill the reservoirs, and each printer comes with enough ink for what Epson called two years of use. Epson based its calculation on an average monthly print volumes of about 150 pages for the $379 to $429 models, 300 pages for the $499 model, and 800 pages for the workgroup-focused $1,199 model.

The three $379-$429 SKUs come with an amount of ink equivalent to 20 sets of ink cartridges, which normally cost from $40 to $50 for a set if Epson-branded cartridges are purchased, said product manager Carrie Brown. Replacement bottles start as low as $12.99 per bottle, or $52 per set of bottles.

 “People will pay a higher up-front cost for a higher level of convenience,” she said. The more people print, the more they will save, she added.

For the $499 model, the supplied ink is equivalent to 50 ink cartridges.

The $1,199 model uses swappable color packs instead of ink reservoirs. Color packs are $69 per color, and the black-ink pack is $99.


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