CES 2009: Vivitek announces ship date for LED projector

For several months, we've heard promises that LED-driven front projectors for home use would be available in 2009. At CES, at least one company announced a ship date. Vivitek says its H6080FD projector will ship in early June at a suggested retail price of $19,999.

In an LED projector, LEDs replace the high-pressure lamp found in other projectors. Lamps last only 2,000 to 4,000 hours, so they must be replaced every year or two, typically at a cost of $300 to $1,000. Vivitek estimates the life of the H6080FD's LEDs at 20,000 hours.

The H6080FD's rather large chassis allows lots of airflow and mimizes fan noise, which has been a problem with LED projector prototypes we've seen. Unfortunately, Vivtek's small booth accommodated only a tiny screen about 4 or 5 feet across, and the projector wasn't calibrated, so it was impossible to judge the picture quality.

With its 1080p resolution and rated brightness of 800 lumens, the H6080 competes with other single-chip DLP projectors costing a small fraction of its price. A Vivitek spokesperson told me he expects it to find use in high-end applications where changing the lamp every few thousand hours is impractical. He also hinted that a smaller model might be available later this year.—Brent Butterworrth