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Which is Better, LCD Projector vs DLP Projector?

Which is Better, LCD Projector vs DLP Projector?

January 21, 2020

LCD Projectors VS DLP Projectors

A projector can transform your home cinema setup, bringing massive screen sizes that do not compromise on details such as resolution, contrast ratio, and brightness. However, many people are often confused when buying a home projector. Some devices are LCD projectors and others are DLP projectors, but which is better?

Let’s start with a brief description of the differences between LCD projectors and DLP projectors in simple terms:

LCD projectors are notable because of their higher image quality and sharp display, while DLP projectors are more portable and offer better reliability.

Delving more deeply into the two types of technology, DLP (Digital Light Processing) uses micro-mirrors within the projector to beam images from a built-in monitor and onto the large display. Many users will already be familiar with DLP as it was used in rear-projection TVs for years. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is another technology that sends lights from a metal-halide lamp through a prism to generate visual content.

Differences Between LCD and DLP Projectors

 

DLP Projector

LCD Projector

Technology

Projector technology that leverages a digital micromirror.

Modern technology for flat-surface displays, such as TVs, and laptop screens.

Functionality

DLP’s consist of a single chip comprised of 1000s of small mirrors that sync with a light source to reflect digital content onto a surface.

Projects light onto prism mirrors (3 primary colors: red, green, and blue.) Colors move through 3 prisms on a second prism to move the image onto a screen.

Pros

Improved video output, pixels less visible, Blacker black accuracy, the potential for higher contrast, more portable

Better color dynamics across ambient light conditions require less power, don’t get as hot, quieter, rainbow effect.

Cons

Audible sound when functioning, color saturation, worse yellows and reds, more lumens in ambient light.

Pixels are more visible, not portable, worse contrast, worse blacks.

 

Image Quality

Can offer good image quality, but not as good as LCD

Sharper and better images than DLP projectors

Rainbow Effect

Yes

No

Contrast

Higher

Lower

Portability

More portable thanks to lightweight components

Usually bulky

Light Source

LED or Standard Lamp

Standard Lamp

Technology Type

Reflective

Transmissive

Year Invented

1987

1968

 

Technology

As you can see above, the technology used for LCD projectors and DLP projectors is different. For DLP, the DMD is a single-chip technology which makes it more reliable. When light is emitted from the lamp, it moves through the spinning color wheel and passes below the main projector lens. When it reflects off the mirror, the light enters the lens and gets projected from the top cover into what’s called a light-sink.

LCD projectors use what’s known as a transmissive LCD, which provides a light source that passes through a liquid crystal. All LCD displays have three LCD panels and they will also always have transmissive modules.

Because DLP has a universal light-source, what provides the light can change. Usually, DLP light sources (a xenon arc lamp) are replaceable. LCD’s are more restrictive as they use Metal-halide lamps. However, if a small enough lamp is used, LCD projectors can become portable (with a compromise in terms of image quality).

Operating Principle

How Does DLP Projector Work?

All DLP projectors include what’s called a DLP chip, which is essentially the driving force behind the technology. Sometimes, the chip is known as a digital micromirror device (DMD), but it’s the same module either way. A DLP chip has numerous tiny mirrors, sometimes up to two million. Each of the mirrors moves independently towards or away from light to generate a pixel.

Mirrors moving towards light create a pixel with color, while those moving away generate darks. When the color is generated, it is sent through the DMD by a light emitted from a lamp. In turn, this light moves through a color wheel before moving to the lens. DLP projectors with this setup are able to provide 35 trillion colors. This is the so-called three-chip DLP projector.

These are the DLP chips that are used in major venues, such as cinemas.

How Does an LCD Projector Work?

LCD is a familiar screen technology that you can also find on TVs, smartphones, tablets, and watches. It is this technology that is used in LCD projectors. Specifically, the LCD module mixed three liquid crystal displays to develop and image across multiple steps.

The process starts with a light source providing while light. Passing through three mirrors, the light is shaped to reflect a predetermined light wavelength. Mirrors reflect blue, red, and green, with each light color passing through an LCD panel. With an electrical signal sent through the panel, the LCD can organize pixels to generate the image.

Once combined in a prism, the LCD projector can create an image with up to 16.7 million colors.

How to Choose a Projector?

What type of projector you should buy depends on your individual needs. Do you want a projector to use as a home cinema solution? Perhaps you need a projector that is portable and can be taken on trips? Of course, you will also have to pay attention to costs. Other factors may include image resolution, color reproduction, sharpness, and more.

In this guide, we aim to help you decide which is better, an LCD projector or a DLP projector.

Pros and Cons

Advantages of DLP projectors

DLP projectors are perfect if you want a device to take with you when you travel, or to move between rooms. They are also an ideal solution for home cinema aficionados:

  • Reliability: DLP projectors are more technologically basic than LCD, with fewer moving parts. Because of this, they are easier and less expensive to repair.
  • Portability: One of the big advantages of DLP technology is projectors are usually smaller, allowing them to be transported more efficiently.
  • Less Pixilation: DLP projectors tend to have reduced pixel mapping at regular viewing distances. This means pixels are less visible on the display.
  • Higher Contrast: Blacks are more accurate and deeper on DLP projectors.

Advantages of LCD Projectors

LCD screens are perfect for those who value image quality over everything else:

  • Better image quality: LCD projectors offer a significantly better picture quality. This is possible because LCD provides more accurate color representation, allowing for reduced saturation. Furthermore, LCD technology boasts sharper images when compared to DLP projectors are the same resolution.
  • Light efficiency: If the same lamp is placed in an LCD and DLP projector, the brighter image would be on the LCD panel.

Disadvantages of DLP projectors

Here are some of the problems with DLP projectors:

  • Rainbow effect: Older DLP projectors often create a rainbow effect on the side of the image when it is viewed from one side. In other words, rainbow-colored stripes appear around an object on the display.
  • Leaking light: DLP screens have a grey band around the edge of an image that can allow stray light to be reflected off the edges of the DLP mirror chip. It is worth pointing out this problem can be solved by installing black borders.

Disadvantages of LCD projectors

LCD projectors arguably have more potential problems than DLP projectors:

  • Contrast: While LCD projectors are excellent at reproducing colors, they struggle with blacks. Like an LCD screen ages, it will not provide completely black colors.
  • Dead pixels: Most modern TV owners will be familiar with the problem of dead pixels. One or a cluster of pixels can turn off and mess degrade image quality. Sometimes dying pixels will blink as they deteriorate.
  • Bulky: Because LCD projectors have more parts, they tend to be bigger.
  • Screen door problem: Although LCD screens boast sharper images, this can lead to more obvious pixelation.

Price Compare

While there are numerous differences between DLP projectors and LCD projectors, price isn’t one of them. You can buy both types of projectors for prices starting at around $200 and rising to thousands of dollars.

An excellent way to get excellent home projector performance and save money is with the Vankyo Performance V630. Simply put, this home cinema projector is a native 1080p (Full HD) device that is one of the best bargains on the market.

Available for around $200, the Vankyo Performance V630 combines some of the best projector technology with an amazing price tag and sleek design. Among the core features of the V630 is a 5000:1 contrast ratio, which means crisp image production and excellent color accuracy. Elsewhere, the device has a 50,000 Hours lamp life, so it is really built to last.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both LCD projectors and DLP projectors. Deciding which is best will depend a lot on what your specific needs are. Read the guide above to see if LCD or DLP projectors fit with what you need your projector to do.



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