DLP, LCD, Or LED? What You Should Know When Buying A Projector


Looking to purchase your very own projector? Well, whether you’re using it to watch movies or showcase a business presentation, projectors tend to come in three different varieties: DLP, LCD, and LED.

Even though they may sound similar, each projector has its benefits and disadvantages, which may be the deciding factor when you’re at the store. Read on to learn about the basics behind projectors, so you can make an informed purchase.

DLP Projectors

Using mirrors to reflect light as an image, DLP projectors are dubbed a “reflective” technology. A DLP chip is the most integral part of the projector, a collection of millions of minuscule mirrors that then direct a stream of light through a lens onto a screen. Colour is added by a colour wheel which hits the beam of light before it interacts with the DLP chip.

Lacking a filter and with a sealed DLP chip, DLP projectors tend to need less maintenance than other types of projectors, mainly because dust won’t collect onto parts as easily. That isn’t to say dust can’t settle, however, because while the chip is protected, the other parts like the colour wheel can still get dirty. DLP projectors also have a limited range when it comes to viewing.

LCD Projectors

Sending light directly through liquid crystal displays (LCDs), an LCD projector is defined as a “transmissive” medium. When projecting an image, a beam of light is passed through coloured mirrors which then travel through an LCD panel. Designated electrical cues then tell the LCD panel how to form a series of pixels, and when the light hits them an image is formed.

One major boon to LCD projectors is their affordability, as they tend to be cheaper than other models. LCD projectors may cost more in the long run, however, as there are more parts that can break (e.g. pixels burn out) that will then require maintenance work. But since LCD projectors can be outfitted with zoom lenses, they can project images at a greater distance.

LED Projectors

Capable of being transmissive or reflective depending on the model, LED projectors are named after the light source itself, which is a light-emitting diode, aka LED. Thanks to the LED light source, LED projectors have a far longer lifespan than other types of projectors, as the lamp will likely never burn out. LED projectors also benefit from needing less maintenance, since they are also quite energy efficient.

You are probably going to pay a fair bit more for an LED projector, whether it be transmissive or reflective, which is definitely something to keep in mind.

Featured image courtesy of: Wikimedia

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