Monday, 29 April 2013

[HM:256001] Tech Knowledge: Terms to Know When Choosing a Projector

By Dustin Checketts
The adage, "larger than life," defines perfectly the world of projectors. Designed to fully immerse you in your movie-watching or board room experience, a projector illuminates and captivates. There are three technologies behind today's projectors:

DLP Projectors

Digital Light Processing uses small mirrors to reflect different measures of light through a color wheel to create a stunning image on your screen. The use of mirrors creates a smooth, crisp image without the "screen-door effect", but is susceptible to the "rainbow effect". The rainbow effect is caused when only one color can be displayed on the screen at a time, and can be seen as an uneven overlapping of colors on the screen.

LCD Projectors
Liquid Crystal Display technology shines light through a polarized liquid crystal wafer that allows or disallows light to pass through it to create an image. By shining a light source through an object, the absence of light creates a "screen-door effect" that looks as though you're watching the television from behind a screen door. This effect is most prevalent in LCD projectors, making some text and fine details difficult to read or see.

LCoS Projectors
Liquid Crystal on Silicon combines the best of both LCD and DLP technologies. Three LCD lamps are reflected off mirrors, each one passing through its own color wheel, to simultaneously project an image using all three colors at once on the screen. In doing so, LCoS eliminates both the "screen-door effect" from LCDs and the "rainbow effect" from DLPs.

Beyond Technology: Other Considerations for Projectors

Apart from the technologies, there are several other features to consider that will help narrow your front-projection buying options: resolution, brightness, contrast ratio, aspect ratio, portability, noise, and connectivity.

is the measure of pixels used to create an image. The higher the resolution, the sharper the image will become and the larger the image can be made while still providing a clear image.

is a non-standardized measure (in lumens) of the lamp's strength. Generally, projectors with less than 1000 lumens are dim and should only be used rooms where the lighting can be controlled. Projectors of 1000-2000 lumens offer enough light for business or classroom use, and projectors over 2000 lumens can illuminate a wall or screen in a well-lit room. This also varies by the projector's throw distance (distance from screen or wall) and can be controlled on the unit as a television's brightness can.

Contrast Ratio
is a measure of the projector's ability to produce deep blacks and bright whites and is not standardized. Typically, a higher the contrast ratio is better. Keep in mind that these measurements vary dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Aspect Ratio
is the projectors supported format. The ratio 4:3 appears as more of a square like standard televisions, while 16:9 is more rectangle, or "widescreen". With the increase in high definition content, more and more displays are supporting the widescreen format.

is an important consideration if a projector is to be shared within an office or will be carried with you as you travel. Most projectors will include a simple cover or storage case to keep the unit free from dust and other harmful particles.

Noise is a consideration most overlook. Projectors generate a lot of heat and must be cooled by a fan and good chassis design. Nothing is worse than trying to talk over noisy hardware or hearing the hum of a fan throughout your cinema experience.

Connectivity is a vital component to picking out a projector. Make sure the projector you seek supports the mediums you wish to use. This could include: S-VGA, DVI, RCA, Component, S-Video, or HDMI.

M Junaid Tahir
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