If you are looking to buy a projector surely the first question you ask yourself is which technology to choose, what is better DLP or LED? And LCD?… Anyway, there’s no better or worse.
And it shouldn’t be the main reason why we chose a projector. If not more for the set of features it offers us, such as the bill level, the contrast or the resolution, at a certain price.
If you want to know those features in depth to feel safer when choosing a projector, here is a complete guide that will help you decide.
How to choose Projector
First of all, a projector must be balanced. What good is full HD or 4k resolution if contrast or brightness is not enough to enjoy it? But each technology has its own characteristics and it’s not any more to know them.
Let’s see each one, and which one you should choose a priori based on how you’re going to give it. And I say “a priori”, because these technologies have evolved a lot these days. Brands make efforts to improve their weaknesses, and it is no longer uncommon to find highly compensated projectors, with good attributes for features that are in theory looser than that particular technology.
Video projection technologies
Before starting with them it should be clarified that video projection technologies are classified according to:
How they project the image: LCD vs DLP vs LCOS.
The light source used: traditional lamp vs led vs laser. Or even hybrid led/laser technology, which we’ll then see. Therefore:
If you’re wondering the differences between DLP and LED, or between LCD and LED, they don’t exist. An LED projector can use both technology and technology.
The first to emerge is the CT or “cathode ray tubes”, along with the old televisions. But we’re not even going to talk about her. His successors have passed him from the right. The last one to get in on this fight has been laser projection technology. And who knows, the same thing in a few years becomes a standard and we start to see swords like in Star Wars .
How does a projector’s LCD technology work? And 3LCD?
“Liquid Crystal Display”. It is considered a transmission technology, since it uses a panel of three liquid crystal displays, one for each primary color: red, green and blue (hence also known as 3LCD), which let or not pass the light. This fact of letting in or blocking the light allows to generate a wide range of colors and shades. That’s why this technology stands out for the naturalness of the colors.
For the curious, you can see how this technology works on its official 3LCD page.
Advantages of LCD projectors
More natural colors: They project all colors onthe screen at the same time, so they have greater fidelity and intensity. Let’s say your image is more relaxed.
Higher brightness: Not that they have more brightness, but that they take better advantage of the light emitted.
Inconvenient LCD projectors
Maintenance: Although they have gained a lot in this field using layers of glass, this technology is sensitive to dust that accumulates. Therefore it is convenient to clean the filters, or the dust will end up appearing on the screen in the form of dots (especially annoying in dark images), or even the panels may burn. Surely we hear that the projector burns, or suffers from a burnt effect, referring to the lamp reaching the end of its useful life.
Wire effect: In low resolution conditions this effect can occur, appreciating pixel separation lines and resulting in the impression of having some grids in front of them. This is because the projector optics have a higher pixel density than the image they project, allowing these fine lines, which are much smaller than the pixels themselves, to be viewed.
Ghost effect: If a static image is projected over a long period of time, the LCD tends to retain the old image over the new one, causing this ghost effect. It is something that has been sought to correct, and that can happen for multiple causes, such as a bad analog connection (VGA) instead of digital (HDMI), magnetic interference… but the most common is when the bulb starts to reach the end of its useful life.
LCD technology is for you if…
What you are looking for is a cheap projector. You’re looking for more natural or more relaxed colors. Also for professional environments, where it is better to gain in luminosity even at the cost of reducing the greater color depth that dLP provides with its greatest contrast.
Due to the intrinsic manufacturing costs of one technology and another, in the lower range of all the LCD is unrivaled. In fact, all the cheapest projectors on the market are of this technology. By this we do not mean that LCDs do not offer us results in the mid- and high-end ranges. Not at all. But let’s make it clear that LCDs reach prices below even 100 degrees, when it’s rare to see a DLP drop below 200 degrees.
How does a projector’s DLP technology work?
“Digital Light Processing”. It is a reflection technology, where the lamp light is reflected by a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) chip composed of millions of pivoting microscopic mirrors. The image it forms is in black and white, so they introduce a disc between the chip and the lamp, also called the color palette. This has at least 3 color filters, although some products incorporate additional filters. The problem with this solution is the noise caused by this wheel when turning. To avoid this, 3 chips are also used (one for each primary color), but it makes the product much expensive.
If you want to learn more about how it works, you can read all the information on the official website of its developers Texas Instruments.
Advantages of DLP projectors
Better contrast: As they say, “blacks are blacker.” Due to the superior native contrast offered by this technology, it is considered more “cinematographic”, achieving deeper blacks and brighter whites.
Sharper: When you have a shorter process or route when projecting the image, your refresh rate is higher. Therefore, the definition of the image and its sharpness are superior.
Space and maintenance: The components make it possible to develop products that take up a smaller space and are more comfortable to transport, while not requiring filters as the chip is vacuum packed and do not allow dust to enter.
DLP projector scars
Noise: The noise caused by the color palette can become very annoying, especially if we are close to the device (as it is logical).
Rainbow effect: They are brief flashes of red/green/blue shadows that are distinguished when the content is very white or bright and the background is dark. It is mainly noted in the subtitles and end credits of the films. As it depends on the number of discs used for each color and the speed of rotation, it is a problem practically remedied today. It should be emphasized that the DLP projectors of 3 chips do not suffer this effect, since the 3 components of the color are generated simultaneously.
Anyway, this defect already seems like a thing of the past or of low-end models. Besides, not everyone perceives it the same. In fact, it is normal not to perceive it, or to be very mild. But for people sensitive to it it is something very annoying and that produces a headache, so in that case it will make a difference. Before making any decisions it is advisable to try the projector first. But don’t worry, it’s normal that it doesn’t affect you.
Here we leave you a couple of videos where you can see this defect. The first, the famous chase scene in Tangier from the film “The Bourne Ultimatum”. And the second with a static image where when moving the mobile quickly while recording, we can see the red, green and blue lines of this rainbow effect.