Projectors: DLP vs. LCD?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by IJ Reilly, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I'm looking to buy a small portable projector for Keynote presentations. Any general recommendations would be welcomed, but I am most interested in knowing whether DLP projectors are worth the extra dough (about $300-500 on average, from what I've seen) compared to LCDs. Also, is it worth spending more for resolutions above 800 x 600?

    I'd prefer to spend under $1,000 but I'm willing to go somewhat higher for a real difference in image quality.

  2. TheMonarch macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2005
    Bay Area
    YES! Get something with above 800x600. 1024x768 is OK, but the higher the better.
  3. Laser47 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2004
    Ive read somewhere that LCD projectors are better for presentations than DLP, but I think it was from a biased source.
    Anyhow, at my school some teachers have DLP and some have LCD. The DLP projectors are way more clear and brighter.
    Ive seen some pretty small DLP projectors around, the smallest ive seen was about the size of a cereal box cut in half.
  4. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Yes, some of these projectors are really, really tiny. Under 3 lbs. I'm hoping one of these little units will do the job. So many of the projectors I've used have terrible color fidelity (possibly because they were adjusted poorly, I don't know). This bothers me more than a lack of sharpness or brightness, which is why I want to use my own from here on in.
  5. IllTakeAnApple macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2005
    San Antonio, Tx
    my friend was over the other day and was trying to convince my dad to get a projector. he said an lcd is better for things like movies, video games, and video/photo editing (which is actually what he is using his projector for) however with a dlp the quality is not as great at least that is what he had told us. he got an epson model for like 800. i went to their site and their value series projectors ranged from $749-1299. im sorry im speaking for my friend but he had mentioned that his projector was easily the best he could get for around a grand. i hope i held out a little.
  6. MagnaPalam macrumors newbie


    Jan 14, 2005
    Houston, TX
    The Three Types of Projectors
    There are three major types of projectors: Standard LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), Polysilicon LCD, and DLP (Digital Light Processing) projectors.

    Standard LCD - Standard LCD projectors have one panel of LCD glass that controls the three primary colors. Standard LCD projectors are becoming less common as polysilicon LCD and DLP projectors gain popularity. They usually display a much brighter image than DLP. However, their transmission design limits the amount of time they can be used. LCD-based projectors often operate effectively only a short time, with image deterioration present after 8-10 hours. Because LCD projectors transmit light through LCD chips, then through the optics and onto the screen, heat is transferred to the LCD chips from the light source. This causes the LCD chip to deteriorate and will probably result in severe image loss and can permanently damage the LCD projector.

    Polysilicon LCD - These projectors control colors through three panels and are higher in quality than standard LCD projectors. Projecting through 3 panels allows polysilicon LCD projectors to have higher color saturation than a standard LCD projector.

    DLP (Digital Light Processing) - The most common type of projector on the market, DLPs use a single chip with thousands of micro mirrors to modulate the lamp's light and project it through the lens. DLP systems are composed of over 400,000 tiny mirrors, which modulate light from a lamp and project the "modulated" signal out through the lens onto a screen. This technology is also referred to as DMD (Digital Mirror Device). This mirror configuration prevents heat from having an adverse effect on the projector's components. Thus, DLP projectors can operate continuously with no discernable loss in performance. The only loss comes from slow bulb decay, which gradually reduces brightness. Simply replacing the bulb will generally return to the DLP projector to its original quality.

    How to Choose the Ideal Projector for Your Needs
    It's All About Resolution, Brightness and Weight & Size
    Although projector technology is complex, deciding what kind of machine you need should be a relatively simple process involving three major considerations: resolution brightness, and weight (and size). Other factors such as contrast ratio, color reproduction, inputs for composite and S-video, DVD, and extra innovations, will also play a role in your decision. Please see our glossary below for more information on these extra features.

    Projector Resolution
    The sharpness and clarity of the picture on screen is determined by a projector's resolution, which is the sharpness of the image projected based on the number of pixels. The higher number of pixels, the better. However, the higher the resolution, the more expensive the projector. High-resolution projectors can show more picture details than low-resolution projectors. Low-resolutions projectors are much less expensive and can produce images that arte just as bright and attractive as higher resolution machines. Unless you must display fine details, lower-projection units are your most cost-effective value.

    Categories of Resolution
    Projectors come in four categories of resolution:
    UXGA (1600 x 1200) - For very high-resolution workstation applications that are detail or information intensive. Very expensive.
    SXGA (1280 x 1024) - High-resolution; more expensive than XGA. Used for high-end personal computer users and low-end workstation users.
    XGA (1024 x 768) - Ideal for relatively high-resolution images from videos, spreadsheets and graphics. More expensive than SVGA. XGA has become the most popular resolution for business applications.
    SVGA (800 x 600) - Very popular because of low price and great images. Excellent for projecting simple graphics and presentations. SVGA is excellent for watching movies, DVDs or TV, but not optimal for computer graphics or PowerPoint slides.

    Case in point...I bought a DLP XGA projector and I am loving it, I use it for an external display for my PB, and for my home theatre(I now have HD because of my projector). My paticular projector goes to 200 inches, but I have it at 82" for right now, and I love playing my Xbox on it. Choose wisely, and there is more info out there on the net...thats how I chose mine, I have to have the best(that I can afford). This was an except from one of the guides I looked at before purchasing mine. Good luck on your purchase!
  7. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Thanks, I've since done a bit more research on the types of projectors. Apparently both of these technologies have advanced a great deal over the past couple of years. Overall though, in addition to the factors already mentioned, DLP has the advantage of not having the "screen door" effect you can see in some LCD projectors, which is caused by the spaces between the pixels. DLP is not quite a bright, isn't quite as sharp, but has better blacks.

    Opinions vary as to which is better for which type of use (home theater vs. presentation). Some think LCD has the advantage for presentations due to the sharpness and brightness factor, which is true I suppose unless you get the screen door effect -- which I have seen, and it is ugly.

    All of the really small units are DLP, apparently because the technology itself is more compact than LCD. I'm looking for portable, so DLP is probably my best bet. The models that seem the most promising at this point are the InFocus LP70+ or LP120, or the Dell 3400 PM. All are XGA.

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