Demystifying Projectors (Part 2)

Posted on Posted in Home Theater, Visuals

Continuing where we left off on our discussion on projectors, Part 2 of the series focuses on arguably the most common type: LCD projectors

LCD projectors project light onto mirrors which split it up into its 3 primary colors: red, green and blue. The colors then pass through three separate glass panels (actually prisms), which is why this technology is referred to as 3LCD. When light is projected through the LCD panels, individual pixels are opened or closed to allow light through or block it. The separate colors are then converged using another prism and projected on to the screen.

Advantages of LCD include

  • More accurate colours: DLP projectors often have a clear section in their colour wheel which boosts brightness but reduces colour saturation. LCD projectors do not have a colour wheel.
  • Sharper image: LCD projectors have a slightly sharper image than DLP projectors at equal resolutions. This can actually be a drawback which we will come to below.
  • More light-efficient: This means that the same wattage lamp in an LCD and DLP would produce a brighter image in the LCD.

And in time-honored tradition, we’re compelled to list down the Dis-Advantages too!

  • Screen door effect: The sharper image produced by LCD projectors can actually be a disadvantage, since the more precise focusing makes the pixilation (“chicken wiring” or “screen door effect”) of an image more obvious.
  • Contrast: LCD contrast may not be as good compared to DLP, meaning that LCDs cannot produce completely black images. Both of the above are less of a problem with newer, higher resolution 3LCD models.
  • Portability: LCD projectors have more parts and so are bulkier and less portable than DLPs.
  • Image degradation: More parts means more parts which can go wrong. LCD panels can experience long term image degradation where colour balance shifts and overall contrast is reduced. LCD panels can be expensive to replace.
  • Dead pixels: Dead pixels can become a problem in LCD projectors, where one or more pixels turn permanently on or off. With one pixel, the effect is hardly noticeable, but it can become an annoyance if this happens in clusters of pixels.

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