After its most financially successful year ever, Leica is not slowing down. The company has announced that it is expanding into the Laser TV market through a partnership with Chinese television manufacturer Hisense.
Leica typically loans its expertise and name to brands that are looking to add some credibility to their products, like smartphone cameras. But this time, Leica is planning to produce its own line of products with the help of Hisense (which produces some very nice televisions for the global market).
The two companies say the goal of this long-term partnership is to combine Hisense’s technology in the Laser TV segment with Leica’s expertise in the development of high-quality projection lenses. The goal is to create a notably powerful and future-proof technology platform for short-distance Laser TV.
It’s worth noting that the term “Laser TV” is a Hisense-coined term that describes a projector, which is actually not a television at all. Hisense’s 100L9G is one such example and is capable of providing a 100-inch screen that is projected from a super-short distance. This style of projector allows it to fit more easily into most living rooms since it doesn’t need to be mounted on the ceiling behind the viewing area or awkwardly placed behind the heads of viewers on a side table behind a couch, for example.
Leica says that it has been a part of the projection market for more than 50 years, leading back to its work with first analog projectors and then later digital versions, so it’s choice to push further into this area isn’t out of character.
This isn’t even Leica’s first modern appearance in projection devices for home entertainment. Last April, Leica worked with JMGO to produce an ultra short-throw compact LED projector called the O1 Pro. In that device, Leica took credit for the extremely short-throw ratio, which the O1 Pro reduces from 0.25 meters (about 9.8 inches) in the O1 projectors to just 0.21 meters (about 8.2 inches). Clearly, Leica believes that this market is worth pursuing on its own and is growing beyond the partnership with JMGO, a brand that is not widely recognized for making the highest-quality products — at least not to the degree that Leica’s new partner Hisense is.
This true entry into the projection space will pit Leica against one other photo industry mainstay in the projection market: Epson. Epson currently produces some of the best laser projectors on the market and does so without breaking the bank, although its expertise tends to lean more towards traditional projector designs and not the short-throw models Leica is making.
Leica says it will present its first Laser TV called the Leica Cine 1 in September at the IFA conference in Berlin.
Image credits: Header image via Hisense.