When people are considering purchasing a projection system, their main focus is often solely on picture quality. While picture quality is important, there are features that enhance the user experience, increase reliability, and also simplify the installation.
In this report, we provide you with the information you need about relevant features and technologies to ensure that you choose the right components and products for your specific application.
Within each section of this reports will give you an overview of the basic technologies and terms that are important to take into consideration when deciding on the right projector and some examples you might consider for your specific project. We also link to additional information on each of the sections in case you want to learn even more on each topic within this report.
We hope you find this useful and that your installation project is a great success!
We wish to thank Sony, for sponsoring the Custom Integration Report.
3LCD, DLP, or LCOS?
The three most popular projector imagining technologies used in consumer and business projectors are Digital Light Processing (DLP), Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), and Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS). Below is a brief overview of each of these technologies, how they work, and what the Pros and Cons are of each technology.
DLP (Digital Light Processor) works when light passes through a spinning RGB color wheel and then bounces off a single DLP (or DMD, Digital Micromirror Device) chip that is covered with micro-mirrors. The light is reflected off the mirrors on the chip, then passes through the projector’s lens and onto the screen to produce an image. Because DLP projectors only require a single chip, they are often among the smallest and most portable projectors on the market.
The resolution and performance of DLP chips have improved with each successive generation. Native resolution has increased up to WUXGA (1920 x 1200). While a DLP chip does not have 8.3 million mirrors, it can deliver a perceived resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160).
While the newest 0.47″ DMD chips only have about 2.1 million mirrors, they can deliver a perceived resolution of 8.3 million pixels. This system works so well that it would be difficult for any viewer to see a difference in resolution from a native 4K UHD (8.3 megapixels) imager.
DLP chips are less expensive, which reduces the manufacturing cost, which is why it’s the most common and utilized the most in entry-level projectors. DLP tends to be the brightest and would likely be the best option in a room with a lot of ambient light. But, it is challenging for DLP projectors to produce the deepest black levels, and this is more noticeable in a room with low light. However, modulating the projector’s laser light source and by utilizing a dynamic iris, can help its dark room performance.
An example of this technology can be found in many Ultra-Short Throw projectors like the HiSense 100L5.
The technology behind LCD (Transmissive Liquid Crystal Display) also starts off with a single light source, just like with DLP. But, with LCD and 3LCD, the single light source is split into 3 beams — one each for red, green, and blue – the primary colors. Once the light is split, mirrors send the beams to different locations inside the projector box. At that point, the light passes through one of the LCD panels (or three panels if it is a 3LCD projector). These panels are not colored, but grayscale, and each has a different color filter. The end result, when light passes through them, is the red, green, and blue beams that then pass through a dichroic prism, which recombines the three beams into a single full color beam.
A higher-end, modern LCD panel can produce good contrast and black levels (which is preferred for serious movie watchers) and are priced in the middle range of the two, with some projectors even priced on the lower side like DLP. LCD is the best compromise between high brightness, accurate color, and good black level.
An example of this technology can be found in a home theater projector like the Epson 6050UB or in commercial projectors like the Sony VPL-FHZ75
With LCoS, the process is similar to 3LCD, in that you start by splitting the light into three beams. A key difference, though, is that LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) is a reflective panel (like DLP) rather than transmissive (light passing through it), like the 3LCD panels. So, light bounces off of the LCoS panels, then to a dichroic prism (like 3LCD) to recombine the light into a single, full-color image.
LCoS imagers have a higher pixel density than their DLP or LCD counterparts so a smaller LCoS chip can produce more resolution. This is why most native 4K Home Theater projectors utilize LCoS chips.
LCoS certainly produces the highest quality black levels of the three technologies and offer the highest native resolution. However, that comes at a price, with LCoS also being the most expensive of the three technologies. LCoS projectors are usually focused on the higher end professional and home theater markets. They are usually three-chip and tend to utilize better, larger optics and quieter cooling systems so their chassis are traditionally the largest.
An example of an LCoS projector would be the Sony VW295.