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Resolution Related Terms

Resolution is a term that refers to the number of horizontal and vertical pixels of the projected image. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution, and the sharper the image. Common resolutions found on projectors:
Type Resolution Aspect Ratio
SVGA* 800 x 600 4:3
WVGA* 853 x 480 16:9
XGA 1024 x 768 4:3
WXGA 1280 x 800 16:10
WUXGA 1920 x 1200 16:10
720p 1280 x 720 16:9
1080p 1920 x 1080 16:9
4K UHD 3840 x 2160 16:9
  * SVGA and WVGA are essentially “legacy” resolutions. While there are still some very low cost projectors sold with SVGA an WVGA resolutions (including some “toy” priced dim LED pico projectors for home), but they are no longer normally bought by schools. There are still large numbers of them in K-12 schools. Most are long overdue for replacement. Their bulbs last only a fraction of the life of new projectors (nevermind laser projectors), so the cost of supporting those old projectors is high. XGA models are typically used to replace the SVGA (and if any are still around – VGA) projectors. SVGA projectors are typically replaced by WXGA, WUXGA or 1080p projectors.


Most pixel shifting projectors can accept up to a 4K signal. While pixel shifting can’t match the resolution of a true 4K projector, it does increase sharpness and detail compared to a standard 2K projector. When fed 4K content, the projector uses pixel shifting to fine tune the image to more closely resemble 4K. Pixel shifting fires each pixel twice by shifting the location by 1/2 pixel diagonally. Combined with good image processing, pixel shifting can do a very nice job emulating the original 4K content. The images above show the noticeable improvement pixel shifting provides when viewing 2K and 4K content. The images above are screenshots of projected 4K material. The first images are close ups showing the same image with Pixel Shifting Off and On. They really highlight how much this feature increases the clarity and detail of a WUXGA projector.
When viewed in person, the actual differences on the screen are greater than what you are seeing on this site. This is because of the heavy compression and scaling of the images for the web, so the differences you are seeing when viewing it on this website will be less noticeable. As you can see in the above images, when you compare 4K content with pixel shifting turned on and off, the difference is impressive. Small type and fine details that can’t be discerned on a basic 2K – WUXGA (or 1,080p) projector can often be resolved with pixel shifting. It is enough to make a real readability difference on CAD, engineering, and scientific drawings, renderings, or anything else demanding max detail. It is only when you do a side-by-side comparison between a true 4K projector versus a 2K pixel shifting projector that the resolution difference is noticeable. The images below show the visible resolution difference between a native 4K projector and a projector utilizing pixel shifting when displaying native 4K content.

4K Content shown on a pixel shifting Projector


4K Content shown on a native 4K Projector

Since the projector’s native resolution is approximately 2.3 MP, it won’t be as sharp/detailed as a true 4K projector (8,8 MP resolution). While a Pixel Shifting HD projector does deliver more clarity, it still can’t match the resolution provided by a native 4K projector. Pixel Shifting also requires a lot of processing so it can’t be combined with some features like edge blending and Creative Frame Interpolation  but even some more basic things, including some types of noise reduction cannot be utilized. So how do I choose between a pixel-shifting projector and a true 4K projector? To make a wise decision you must factor in your budget, what you are watching, and from where you are watching it.  
  True 4K high lumens projectors cost at least four to five times as much as their 2K counterparts. Consider this, an 8,000 lumen true 4K laser projector can retail for $60,000 while an Epson pixel shifting 16,000 lumen 2K laser projector costs about 1/3 of that amount. This will be true until we see dramatic price drops in the true native 4K projectors to make them more price competitive. True 4K projectors are going to be hard to justify in most situations even when 4K content will be used. In many situations, the content lacks the detail required and is viewed at a distance where the difference between 4K and pixel shifting cannot be perceived. While pixel shifting can’t match the resolution of a true 4K projector, it does increase sharpness and detail compared to a standard 2K projector. So, if the image is going to be viewed from fairly far away, a brighter, less expensive pixel shifting projector might be a better option. In many situations the benefit of extra brightness far exceeds the benefits of additional resolution.


The Equivalent Visibility Rule is used to determine how large a display size is needed when teaching or “presenting” to a group, regardless of the number of those attending the class or meeting. It is more effective today than the old 4/6/8 rule long used for determining how large a projection screen or monitor is needed, in a room. Background: No longer do we primarily present to the classroom or conference room with presentation software such as PowerPoint. Or, rather we still do, however, today we are also electronically displaying emails, websites, spreadsheets, documents, engineering drawings, art work, and much more. 4/6/8 (without getting into it) is an old “A/V” rule that was good for figuring out if the person in the back of the room can follow a presentation using typical large type (30, 36, 48, and 60 point). But, it doesn’t work well when you need that person to be able to read the numbers on a spreadsheet. Essentially, the Equivalent Visibility Rule answers this problem.  Given that people work with spreadsheets, docs, detailed drawings, etc. normally their desks, and can read all that content without trouble, then if those people typically have about a 21” monitor on their desk and sit about 28” back, how large a display would be needed for a person sitting 10 or 12, or 30 feet from the display? You may be surprised.  If the person furthest back in the room is 15 feet from the screen or display, then to read all that small type – the screen should be (drumroll…) at least 100” diagonal. And ideally between 120” and 150”.
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