In the exploding world of digital devices, changes happen in many ways, and often, great things turn up at one end of the spectrum while one is busy watching the other.
We all have seen the hyped-up home theatres. Cheaper speakers, bigger sounds, larger and larger LCD screens at smaller prices, DVD players at throwaway prices…there has been a revolution in home entertainment.
But, as a big-screen lover, I have always been an admirer of the projector. There is nothing like watching a movie in a hall, complete with reclining chairs, popcorn, and above all, the screen for which you crane up your neck than look down. That is an experience not easily replicated at home.
Wait a minute, that is possible. About two years ago, I had written about digital projectors getting cheaper and better. Guess what? They are now even cheaper and fancier. From the levels I wrote about then, the prices have dipped to half, and new features make them a "Wow!" — or getting there soon.
A lightbulb flashed a few days ago, when I saw the advertisement for a pocket projector selling at R17,000 or so. On eBay this week, I have noticed one at under Rs. 9,000. Pocket projectors are only a gimmick, I know, but what I like is that small ones now come with a mounting stand. There is even a palmtop version.
Projectors, however, are not about the size of the device but the size and quality of the image that comes on the screen. So you have to consider the lumens (light signal strength) and other parameters such as the speakers or the sound levels that make the movie magic come alive.
But innovations are rocking. There are new projectors that take in SD cards and USB sticks, making it possible for you to view YouTube videos easier in the company of family and friends. There are also projectors with built-in batteries.
I am expecting a future in which large screen viewing becomes a portable possibility (now you can't take an100-inch LCD screen TV with you on the go, but you can carry a trendy projector and a rolled-up screen).
I think the possibility for entrepreneurship and design should really power up the technological advance. A few years ago, moviestar Kamal Haasan inaugurated in Bangalore a private theatre called "Cinema Paradiso" where you could rent and watch movies in a hall-like experience with plush seats, with popcorn served as part of the rentals. It was sadly ahead of its times. New projectors and USB drives make it possible now for a world beyond DVDs in a movie-like experience.
More and more possibilities are unfolding.