(Last updated November 2019)- You should have heard the names of various types of projectors and might have confused how do they work or which one would be perfect for you.
Here in this in-depth article, we have categorized the types of projectors and discussed how they might fulfill your requirements.
What is a Slide Projector?
It is a projector that you can use to view photographic slides through mechanical and optical methods. It has a reflector, focusing lens, a bulb, and a holder.
You place the photographic slide on the holder. To protect the slide from damage, the slide projector has a condensing lens that absorbs heat for adequate protection. It also protects it from infrared.
The image on the slide passes through the transparent glass, magnified and projected on a screen. What is the audience sees is a larger image that would have been unclear in normal circumstances?
Slide projectors were standard in the 1960s where family members and friends would gather and enjoy a slide for entertainment. They are not very common in contemporary society.
What is a data projector?
The data projector is quite conventional in lecture rooms and auditoriums where slide presentations and instruction is necessary. The device efficiently projects computer output onto a screen or wall where it is visible to everyone.
The resolution of data projectors for VGA output is around 1024×768. But you can also find 1280×1024 and even higher.
Most of the data projectors also have inputs for HDMI to accommodate cable boxes, DVD players and other sources.
In the 80s, data the projector weighed up to 40 lbs. They had a cathode-ray tube. Fortunately, the data projectors are more compact and lighter than it was some years ago. For example, the MP1400 from Compaq is only 4 pounds.
What is a Laser Projector?
There is a projector that is an advanced device that projects a wider variety of colors than the typical lamp projector. As a result, the picture quality from a laser projector is better and more refined.
The projector creates images by varying laser beams. In the majority of cases, the projector features housing that incorporates a laser, galvanometer scanners, mirrors, and other optical elements.
A projector can have one light source such as blue or even resources for a full-color projection. In comparison to the lamp projectors, the laser projectors do not need as much maintenance. Their filters are long-lasting in contrast to lamp projectors.
What is Native Resolution of a Projector?
If you are new in the world of projectors, you may get a little confused by the two types of specifications that include a native resolution and maximum resolution. What do the two mean?
All projectors, regardless of brand or type, make use of microdisplays. It does not matter whether it has LCOS, DLP or fixed array pixels. The microdisplays have a set number of pixels that we are referring to as the native resolution.
In other words, the native resolution is the actual or physical resolution that a projector has. The projector cannot display more than this native resolution.
The maximum resolution, on the other hand, is the signal formats. It has nothing to do with the physical pixels or display. There are different devices with different video signals, and the projector is designed to recognize the signal format coming from the device. The highest resolution signal that a particular projector can process is the maximum resolution.
What is an LCD Projector?
The LCD projector is undoubtedly the most exceptional modern creations that enhance our viewing experience. The technology behind the LCD projector is not very new. It is three decades old.
And it is all thanks to Gene Dolgoff, both Sony and Epson continue to make the best LCD projectors.
LCD projectors work by using high-intensity light beams that move through numerous shifting pixels. And as opposed to the old projectors that used a translucent film, the LCD projectors employ LCDs. It is not 1 display, but rather 3 of them. That is why you will find LCD projectors been called 3LCD.
Before a light can travel to the 3 LCDs, it is split into three hues. It is then combined in a prism to give you a clear and crisp image that you love so much. LCD projectors are a joy to use.
What is an Elmo Projector?
The Japanese electronics and Optics manufacturer, Elmo, is the organization behind the Elmo projector. The device combines the projection system and the document camera to display documents and other objects that are not translucent to a group of people, such as in a lecture room.
The Elmo cameras in the projectors can capture not only documents but also 3D objects. However, these objects will be rendered in 2D format. You can also use the Elmo projector to watch a movie. However, that is not the most appropriate use of the device. But it is always good to have more options.
If you use the projector to watch a movie, the images may appear jumpy. You see, the design of the projector takes into account that no movement will be needed when capturing documents. In other words, they are not meant for videos.
What is DLP Projector
LED, LCD, and DLP are the leading technologies used in projectors. DLP or Digital Light Processing uses a chip that combines a spinning color wheel and microscopic mirrors to form images.
Some of the benefits associated with DLP projectors include 3D capabilities, the fact that you don't need filters and the bright and crisp images. The lamp life of the projector is between 2000 and 5000 hours. Unfortunately, some users report ghosting in some scenes.
In contrast, LCDs use fixed crystals, and there is no movement. They are less expensive and offer better color saturation. LCD projectors have a reduced noise level and are perfect for movies.
The downside associated with the LCD project is that they need constant filter maintenance.
In comparison to the other types of projector technologies, the LED projectors have a much higher lifespan of about 20000 hours. They are smaller, have zero maintenance, and they are energy efficient. LED projectors don't consume a lot of power.
- 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 generating 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 on the 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 lamplight 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 pastor 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.