A consumer would love to see options when it comes to choosing a single product or device. Options also make the market competitive and lower the price point of each of the offerings.
However, loads of options can also make it hard to choose the correct one to meet all of your requirements.
That said, resolutions are not the only options that you will find on projectors. There are projector technologies too. And DLP, LCD, LED, and LCoS are a few of the available projector display technology. As we mentioned, these options can surely make it challenging to stick with one. We even fell into a huge dilemma.
However, after getting hands-on experience with projectors that utilized these technologies, things became pretty clear. And the same thing will happen to you if you go through this entire article, as we will spill all of the things we learned about these technologies.
Different Projector Display Technologies
As mentioned, there are mainly four types of display technology available for projectors. They are LCD, DLP, LED, and finally, LCoS. Each of them will offer the user some benefits over the other. Likewise, each will have its drawback as well.
So, without further ado, let us get into describing the technologies to give you a better idea about what we are referring to here.
Otherwise known as pico projectors, these devices will rely on LEDs for the light source. As these light sources are reasonably small in size, the projectors can also achieve a small and compact form factor. Hence the name pico. In fact, it is possible to hold some of these projectors into the palm of your hands.
For the small form factor, different mobile devices have integrated the technology. Take the Blackview Max 1, for example. Likewise, various mobile phone and tablet manufacturers have incorporated a decent LED projector into their offerings.
Yes, you can now roll on with a proper projector that can fit right inside your pockets and backpacks. However, you should not really expect that much from these small-sized projectors. Due to having a compact overall form factor, these projectors cannot get too bright or offer a higher resolution.
That said, you can get a stellar viewing experience if you can get the room dark enough and make the projector light up its beams to a decent projector surface.
Liquid Crystal Display is not a new thing. These have been around for an extended amount of time. However, these displays got most of their popularity from smartphones. Once the manufacturers ditched TFT displays and moved to LCD, it was possible to view images with excellent overall resolution in small displays.
You will even find Liquid Crystal Display available for televisions. Well, the LCD projector technology is pretty similar to those displays. Generally, this technology will utilize three different liquid crystal panels. Each will be assigned to create a specific color, which is red, green, and blue.
All of them combined can offer a proper RGB image to the screen. Also, yes, all of the panels will light up together to provide you with a decent colored image. Due to utilizing three different panels, these are usually not that compact compared to LED projectors.
But what do you get in return? Higher brightness, rich colors, and greater overall resolution on the images. You will not even need an extremely dark room to enjoy content on the screens. However, there are single-panel versions available. The drawback is that they are less bright than the three-paneled versions.
Digital Light Processing, otherwise known as DLP, will utilize tiny mirrors. The technology will use these mirrors to show an “on” pixel by reflecting the pixel through the mirror. But what about the “off” pixel? Well, when the “on” pixel is reflected through the mirrors, the “off” will automatically move away.
Most of the projectors that rely on DLP will have a color wheel. As the name suggests, it is a wheel that has color filters integrated into it. Those filters will produce sequential color, which will make the displayed image colorful instead of making them look monochrome.
That said, as you might have guessed, this technology is less compact and a bit bulky in size when you compare it with LCD and LED. For that reason, the most common use of these projectors is in movie theaters. The price point of these devices is in the higher range as well.
On that note, the projectors that have DLP can get exceptionally bright. The color production and resolution of the images usually remain on a higher level. Also, the room needs to be reasonably dark to get the most out of these projectors.
Both the LCD and DLP technology is excellent for what they are capable of offering. But did you know that there is a hybrid of the two available? Yes, we are talking about the Liquid Crystal on Silicone, which is also known as LCoS. How does this technology work?
The projectors will have liquid crystal chips that will have a mirrored backing. As a result, these are reflective, just like DLP, but will be capable of blocking light, like LCDs. And this technology will take the good part from both LCD and DLP and integrate both into a single package.
In other words, the images will be bright, have good color, and have a higher overall resolution. However, as the technology is a bit complex, it will be pretty hard to get all of the good stuff that the technology can offer from an average projector.
You would need to opt for a higher-end device if you really want to enjoy all of the good stuff that the technology has to bring to the table. That also means you would need to spend a comparatively higher amount of money if you want to get your hands on a decent LCoS projector.
Which Projector Display Technology Is Better When It Comes to Contrast Ratio?
The contrast ratio is one of the things that you would need to consider when it comes to choosing a projector. It is the thing that will determine how realistic the image is going to look on the screen. And in this case, LCD projectors are going to take the crown. They have come a long way and have seen a lot of revisions now.
Furthermore, LCDs can compensate for higher contrast images reasonably well. For that reason, the pictures generally have the proper contrast ratio, making the images look more life-like.
LED projectors are not that far behind when it comes to the contrast ratio. The display technology will primarily utilize the auto iris. That would help them keep the bright images bright while keeping the dark areas dimmed. The auto-iris will close up the picture and make the contrast achieve an optimal level.
That said, things do not look that good if you consider DLP for the contrast ratio. Its native contrast ratio did not see a significant overhaul throughout the years. That is why it falls way behind LCD, LED, and even LCoS.
Talking of which, LCoS projectors still looks reasonably good with their native contrast ratio. The sensor will also utilize the auto iris feature to keep the images looking a lot life-like. However, sometimes, the closing and opening might be a bit noticeable, but the image will still look better than DLP.
Which Projector Technology Has Better Black Levels?
One of the things that most people look for in the projected images is the deeper blacks. The deeper the black is, the better the dark pictures will look. When the black level is reasonably low, the darker regions of the images will look grainy and washed out.
That said, when it comes to projectors, the ones that integrate LCoS tend to have better overall dark levels. The LCoS projectors will allow you to enjoy movies and view pictures without noticing any grainy effects on the screen.
On that note, projectors that have an auto Iris feature will usually offer an excellent black level or good white level. For that reason, LCD and LED projectors will either be good at one while being average at the other. By factoring that in, we can consider the LCD and LED projectors as the runner-up for this case.
However, the DLP should get the least of your priority if you consider black levels necessary. Those usually cannot handle dark images that well. For most of the cases, the black portion of the pictures will look washed out and grainy. And that can indeed degrade the movie watching and content viewing experience.
Should I Pick LCoS Projectors to Get Bright Image Output?
Not at all! LCoS projectors cannot get the images that bright. Even though it does integrate some of the good sides of LCD and DLP, the brightness level is still not up to the mark. And things can get much worse if you rely on an average LCoS projector inside a somewhat lit room.
The ambient lighting needs to be exceptionally low to get a somewhat bright image of the LCoS projectors. So, which projector technologies can offer a higher overall light output? DLP and LCD! Although light output will vary a lot from one projector to another, DLP and LCD will always stand out from the rest.
What about LED? Well, we consider it to be close to LCD and DLP. The brightness level indeed goes way up, but in some cases, the output might not be as bright as DLP and LCD projectors. That said, the brightness level of LED projectors is still better than LCoS.
Which Projector Has a Better Overall Color Output?
The technologies behind the projectors have seen a lot of advancements. Due to how many upgraded features these come with compared to earlier models, the color tends to be better for all 4 projectors. In other words, for color output, you can pick LCD, LED, DLP, or LCoS.
However, we do believe that DLP has a slight advantage in this case. In some of the scenarios, the colors tend to seem more life-like than the others. However, the advantage that it offers is not that significant. So, we can conclude that it would be a draw if you compared all of the projector technologies for color output.
Do LCD and LCoS Projectors Handle Motion Blur Better Than the Others?
Motion blur is the softening of the image when there is any motion. The softening of the pictures might seem like a good thing for some people. However, many are not much of a fan of motion blurs. In other words, it is a personal preference thing.
On that note, an extreme level of motion blur can degrade the viewing and watching experience. For example, LCD and LCoS projectors will soften the image so much that the whole thing might look extremely blurry. And that is something that you would not want while you are watching content on the screen.
If you compare LCD and LCoS with DLP and LED, the latter ones will perform much better. Even during fast motions, the DLP and LED projectors will not soften the image that much. Eventually, there will be some softening, which the people who prefer motion blur will like, but the image will not get too blurry.
That said, if you want to pick something that can handle motion blur better, DLP and LED projectors should be on your consideration. But the better capability of handling motion does not make it up to the lower level of contrast that DLP projectors have. Now, what is the solution for that?
There are loads of LCD and LCoS projectors out there that will have a higher refresh rate. What is a refresh rate? It basically states how many times the image will refresh in one second.
So, if the refresh rate is at 60Hz, the image will refresh 60 times in a second. And the higher the Hz rating, the more the image will refresh per second. This higher rate can fight the motion blur issues that the LCD and LCoS projectors have.
Considering that, if you do not want to compensate on contrast level at all but want something that can handle motion blur properly, opt for the LCD and LCoS projectors that have a higher overall refresh rate.
What Is a Rainbow Effect?
For projectors, the rainbow effect refers to an artifact in which objects with a higher brightness level seem to leave a trail of multicolored light. The problem is pretty common among projectors that utilize single or dual-chip panels. And as you might have guessed, this artifact effect can degrade the watching experience.
Single and dual-chip projectors will create an image by relying on the “sequential” color mode. In other words, in any given second, there will be just one color on the screen. And as the colors will change at a rapid pace, your brain will most likely register all of the colors together and combine them into one.
However, the case is not the same for all. Some people are more suspectable to the rainbow effect than others. They will notice a rainbow smear at the end edges of the image. Likewise, some people might not even see this smearing effect when viewing images from single-chip projectors.
The issue is less common among the projectors that utilize three-chip panels. That includes the LCD, LED, high-end DLP, and LCoS models. So, while trying out the projectors, try one of the high-end LCD, LED, high-end DLP, and LCoS projectors if you notice a little bit of smearing effect.
Which Projector Handles Image Convergence Better?
When it comes to image convergence, single-chip DLP is going to take the lead. The chips that are assigned to create an image are tiny. And sometimes, a small amount of variation can make the image on the screen have issues. These issues include colored edges on the white pixels, a high level of softness, and distortion.
That said, if you want to get a projector that can handle image convergence better, we would recommend checking out the projectors that have a single chip. The convergence tends to be better on single-chip DLP. And the three-chip LCD, LED, LCoS, and DLP are the losers in this case.
At this point, we hope that you have a good overall idea regarding projector display technology. And do remember that there are good performers and bad performers for each of the technologies.
So, even if everything looks good on paper, you need to consider whether the sensor is truly capable of providing a good viewing experience or not.