With most technology, it's easy to count on prices coming down. Nonetheless, every so often, a new milestone is reached that's noteworthy. Last year, it was the announcement of the first sub-US$1000 XGA-resolution projectors. This year, it's the advent of the first sub-US$700 projector, introduced by Epson this week at the InfoComm show in Orlando.
Although other SVGA-resolution projectors have hit a US$700 street price with specials, sales, and closeouts, the new PowerLite S4, which replaces the PowerLite S3, marks the first time a projector--be it LCD-based as this one is, or DLP-based--has started life with a US$699 street price. The new model sports a tweaked design, ups the brightness from 1600 lumens to 1800 lumens, and features a new, 170-watt lamp (offered at the same price, US$199, as the previous lamp). This unit also offers what Epson has dubbed an A/V mute slide: Slide your hand across the front of the projector to close off the light, the fan noise dims, and after 30 minutes of inactivity, the projector will go quiet.
Epson senior product manager Aaron Marinari notes that this model doesn't make many sacrifices in order to achieve its lower price. "We continue to work on our efficiency of building the projector from the ground up," he says, adding that Epson remains only one of two projector manufacturers that produce both the imager and the projector (the other is Sony). The product comes with a 2-year warranty, and is available now.