If you’ve been thinking about buying a home theater projector and read reviews or done a little bit of research, you’ll be aware that there are two technologies competing for contents of your wallet.
Both LCD and DLP are used in projectors suitable for home theaters, but they work in quite different ways and produce slightly different results. If you ask around – particularly in electronics stores, you’re likely to be provided with a mass of information that’s confusing and often just plain wrong. So here, in an effort to clear fog surrounding projectors, is our guide to LCD v DLP.
LCD projectors have three separate LCD panels, one for red, one for green, and one for blue components of image being processed by projector. As light passess through LCD panels, individual pixels (or picture elements) can be either opened or closed to either allow light to pass through or be filtered out. In this way light is modulated and an image projected on to screen.
LCD projectors have historically had three main advantages over DLP. They produce more accurate colors (due to three separate LCD panels), they produce a slightly sharper image (although this is as good as undetectable when watching movies) and they are more light-efficient, which means they produce brighter images using less power.
However, LCD projectors also have some disadvantages, although as technology improves these are becoming less and less relevant. The first of these is pixelation, or what’s known as screen door effect. This means that sometimes you can see individual pixels and it looks as though you are viewing image through a ‘screendoor.’ The second historic disadvantage of LCD v DLP is that LCD doesn’t produce absolute black, which means that contrast is less than you would get with DLP.
However, advent of higher resoltion LCD projectors (particularly ‘HD-ready’ projectors which have a horizontal resolution of 768 pixels or greater) means that pixelation is less of a problem than it used to be. And improved ability of LCDs to produce high-contrast images is also allowing them to be taken more seriously by home theater enthusiasts.