Projectors are divided into different types with regard to their technology. The three well-known types of projectors that users will find on the market are:
- DLP projector
- LCD projector
- LED projector
We present these three types below.
The DLP projector
The abbreviation DLP stands for “Digital Light Processing”. Most DLP projectors are equipped with a color wheel and a chip that contains numerous tiny mirrors. The devices can display lower contrasts than LCD projectors. Further advantages of a DLP projector: They are very bright and have very good response times. Compared to LCD projectors, DLP projectors are less sensitive to dust and do not have to be serviced as often.
The disadvantages: DLP projectors are more expensive and often louder than LCD devices during operation. Their color fastness is lower. When watching movies with the best projectors, a rainbow effect can occur in some cases. The primary colors flash within the video, especially in scenes that are very high in contrast. Not many people perceive this effect and not all of them find it disturbing.
The LCD projector
LCD is the abbreviation for “Liquid Crystal Display”. The lamp of an LCD projector produces light that is split into the colors green, blue, and red by a dichroic mirror. The light is then brought together again in a prism by three LC displays (red, green, and blue). In it, the images from the different shades of color are superimposed and projected onto the wall as a color image. Today, LCD projectors are also called 3LCD projectors to indicate the three LCDs in different colors in the projector.
Most LCD projectors are smaller than DLP projectors, have a lower weight, cost less, and have a higher colorfastness. In addition, the devices sharply delimit the pixels from one another. In this way, users can easily recognize and read graphics or text.
The disadvantage is that a so-called fly screen effect occurs with some LCD projectors. The individual pixels can be seen in the images. The effect occurs only rarely today and especially in models in the lower price range with a low resolution. Another disadvantage is the LCD memory effect. The image is burned in when a user leaves the projector for a very long time on an image. This can cause ghosting. Screen savers, which keep the picture constantly moving, can help against this. LCD projectors offer lower black levels and are more susceptible to dust and are more expensive to maintain.
The LED projector
With an LED projector, the image projection is technically the same as with a DLP or LCD projector. The devices are equipped with LED projectors instead of a UHP lamp. This makes them more environmentally friendly, lasts longer, and uses less energy. In addition, less heat is generated when using an LED projector. The rule of thumb is: LED video projectors are usually quieter. Other advantages: They are lighter and more compact. Most LED projectors are weaker and have a lower luminosity than DLP or LCD projectors with UHP lamps and have a lower contrast ratio and a smaller projection area.
There are also other display technologies, such as LCoS. This is the abbreviation for “Liquid Crystal on Silicon”. This refers to a technology that has special panels to create images in projectors. They are similar to LC displays, but they work reflective. Projectors with LCoS have a sharp image and high contrast. However, the image quality deteriorates over time. In addition, dragging occurs here, so that the dragging effects are also one of the disadvantages. The best-known LCoS variant is SXRD from Sony.
Which projector is suitable for which purpose?
If you want to buy a projector, you should ideally orientate yourself towards the intended use. In the following paragraphs we show three common areas of application for projectors and explain which device is suitable for the respective purpose:
DLP projectors are suitable for gaming. A good gaming projector should have a resolution of at least 1,920 × 1,080 pixels (Full HD), a brightness of at least 2,000 ANSI lumens, and a contrast of at least 10,000: 1. In addition, these models have a short response time and are equipped with multiple HDMI connections or a display port connection. Wireless functions such as WLAN or Bluetooth are not absolutely necessary. When gaming, interference-free data transmission via a cable is more important.
Home cinema experience
If you are looking for a projector for your home cinema system, you should look for a model with a high contrast ratio of at least 10,000: 1 and a resolution in Full HD. The projector should be as quiet as possible and have at least one HDMI connection. The projector should be equipped with an intermediate image calculation and a lens shift function or automatic keystone correction. If you like to treat yourself to a movie in 3, you should look around for a 3D-capable device.
Projectors that are suitable for presentations have a resolution of at least 1,280 × 800 pixels and a contrast of around 3,000: 1. More important than the resolution and the contrast are the connections and the brightness of a presentation projector. A good business projector is equipped with as many connections as possible and, if necessary, with an SD card slot. The brightness should be at least 3,000 ANSI lumens. If you have to transport the projector often, you should pay attention to its low weight and compact dimensions.