History of the Development of Projectors

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When did projectors first make an appearance?

The history of projectors is not really that long, going back only as far as the 1970s, when the first projectors came out in the form of CRT (cathode ray tube or Braun tube) projectors. While having the advantage of displaying smoothly flowing movement, CRT projectors had drawbacks including image distortion and issues in reducing the size of the projectors.

In the early 1980s, a trend began, primarily in the United States, where PCs were used to make presentations at meetings or other similar occasions in place of conventional OHPs (overhead projector). This trend led to a rise in the demand for projectors that could easily connect to a PC and project images straight from the PC to a screen.

In respond to this growing trend, Epson, too, began a program to develop projectors. In 1989, Epson launched the VPJ-700, its milestone first projector. Bolstered by subsequent advances in presentation software, the ELP-3000, which was released in 1994, became a tremendous hit, laying the foundations for Epson's present projector business, and at the same time, playing a leading role in expanding the global projector market.

Since the ELP-3000 was put on the market, Epson has continued to make improvements in the functions and performance of its projectors by launching products that could claim to be "the world's first" or "the world's thinnest" or "the world's lightest in weight." In addition to projectors for use in business, Epson began efforts to develop home projectors that would enable customers to enjoy viewing on screens that were much larger than their televisions. Epson reasoned that in order for consumers to use a projector with ease and without hassle at their homes, it was essential to ensure that users could avoid having to connect up with audio equipment or other devices, or make minute adjustments to the image quality. As a result, in 2005, Epson launched the EMP-TWD1, a projector that incorporated a DVD player and speakers. All that needed to be done was plug the power cord into the electrical outlet and put a DVD in the player, and the projector was ready to go. This ease of use was very well received by customers and helped establish the EMP-TWD1 as a top-selling projector. This model also pushed sales above and beyond the projected sales worldwide, and greatly enhanced the potential for projectors in home entertainment.

In 2006, Epson released the EMP-6100, a dust-proof projector that responded to the needs of the Chinese market, which was expanding at a phenomenal pace. In 2010, production on a commercial scale was begun on the EB-450Wi, a wall-mounted ultra-short throw projector with greatly improved ease of handling and equipped with an interactive whiteboard, making it ideal for education environments. And in 2012, Epson added to its lineup the EB-Z10000, an ultra-bright 10,000-lumen model targeted at auditoriums and other large venues. These products are examples of ways in which Epson is constantly developing new technologies so it can continue to satisfy the demands of the customers.

Epson's aim is to redefine the concept of visual communications. In 2011, Epson leveraged the projector technology it had refined over the years into the Moverio BT-100, the world's first smart glasses that allowed customers to enjoy immersive large-screen images anytime and anywhere. The company followed this in 2014 with the Moverio BT-200 smart glasses that truly offered customers a new way of seeing the world. The BT-200 was much more compact and lightweight than its predecessors, and included motion and other types of sensors.

Today, as well, Epson is continually refining its technologies with the aim of providing its customers in a timely manner with high-value-added projectors that exceed their expectations in fields as varied as enterprise, education, and home entertainment.

* According to Epson research as of November 25, 2011. The world's first civilian-use smart glasses that allows users to view video contents without being connected to another device.