Projectors are what Just Projectors have been specialising in for the last 10 years. To understand what the benefits are of a projector , it is useful to know exactly what a it can do and also the different type of technologies which will help you decide which one maybe say more useful as a business projector rather than say a home cinema projector set-up. Firstly what is a projector; it is in fact an electrical device that when light is integrated with an optics system then the end result is a large image being displayed from say a computer , video source or a games console. Projectors can be manufactured in 3 main types, LCD, DLP and Lcos .
DLP Projectors- which stands for digital light processing is the newest entrance and it has revolutionised not only the pricing but also the longevity of the projector. So what are DLP Projectors, well Texas Instruments back in 1987 developed the DLP chip. As with all things in the projector world things have moved on, in March 2008 the new DPP1500 chipset was developed which has brought about the Pico or micro projectors which amazingly means that it can be the size of a mobile phone, although it is time to say that these micro pico projectors still need to improve their light output to really be taken seriously.
DLP Projector have the advantage of being cheaper to make, hence a cheap projector price is available, the projector lamps do not deteriorate over their lamp life and the actual projector lamps are themselves in the region of £115 rather than a price tag of £220. So DLP projectors work in a different way from LCD Projectors
DLP work by thousands of mirrors set out in an array of pixels to replicate the projectors resolution. Each mirror is thinner than a firth of a human hair. With the use of hinges the dlp chip mirrors create light and dark pixels by being either off or on. The white light generated then is shone through a colour wheel of up to six colours. The human eye sees all the colours and the result is a full colour image.
Features about DLP Projectors are that they do not require you to maintain the projector regularly as they do not any filter. They are able to achieve high contrast ratios which means blacks are black which is a particular favourite for a home cinema projector user. So after reading all this about DLP projectors you might wonder why we sell other types of projectors such as LCD or Lcos Projectors, the simple fact is that often the colours are not as accurate. Benq, Acer, Optoma and Viewsonic are the main manufacturers of DLP.
LCD Projectors have been in existence longer than any other technology. The colours on these are extremely accurate and if you need a projector for use as a photographer or graphic designer then we would always recommend a LCD Projector. How does an LCD or sometimes known as 3LCD projector actually work, well there are three liquid crystal panels , a lamp , prism and filters. In lamp shines white light through a polarizing filter, then a series of dichroic mirrors .The three colour red, green and blue are then sent to a separate LCD panel; remember there are three of them. From there the LCD panels send the light through the dichroic prism which recombines the light and sends it out the main lens in the LCD projector to the surface against which it is projected. Each LCD can control one colour. So if you were to see a picture of a red plane against a blue sky, the green LCD would block the light from passing to the dichroic prism and out the lens. This is very technical but the upshot is that accuracy of colours is the key reason why people choose LCD projectors. The projector lamp prices are higher and there is often deterioration over a period of time but the quality of an LCD is superior to a DLP Projector and when buying a HD home cinema projector that is what Just Projectors would recommend. The main manufacturers for LCD are Epson, Sanyo. Hitachi and higher end Mitsubishi.
Lcos or Liquid crystal over silicon projectors are a hybrid of LCD and DLP . LCOS will produce the most accurate video that is capable of far better than either LCD or DLP. How does Lcos projectors work, light passes through these LCD panels on the way to the lens and is modulated by the liquid crystals as it passes. Thus it is a "transmissive" technology. Lcos uses liquid crystals instead of individual mirrors. Three LCOS chips, one each to modulate light in the red, green, and blue channels which is like LCD panels The end result is a very high resolution image, they tend only to start at SXGA (1365x1024). So if the technology is so good why aren’t all projectors made that way, the simple reason is price, which out of the reach of most people who are buying a business projector. The contrast ratio on a Lcos projector is often restricted to around 500:1, lamp life is often shorted with them not achieving much more than 1500 hours so cost of ownership tends to be very high. And finally they are not any ultra portable Lcos projectors .LCOS technology is usually very high resolution, and typically higher in price than most LCD and DLP products. There is no such thing as an SVGA resolution LCOS projector, and we know of only one very rare XGA resolution machine. Generally LCOS machines begin to appear in the resolution class and higher. So by definition they are not cheap to produce as are not many are sold there are few volume efficiencies achievable. If you can afford Lcos then the well-informed people buying home projectors will recognise that Lcos projectors have a lot to offer as they have all the benefit of LCD but without as the pixels are significantly smaller there is no chicken wire effect. Also the pixels are much smoother then DLP sharp edges, which again helps provide the smooth image quality. Typical manufacturers of Lcos projectors are Canon and JVC
So now Just Projectors have explained how projectors work and the different types of technology it is important to work out which one is suitable for your needs. There are 5 main choices you have when buying a projector; what resolution, what brightness, what technology, what inputs can it take and what is the throw ratio. Looking at all of these in turn.
Brightness is measured in Ansi lumens, this is standard that every projector is measured against so that you know if its 3000 Lumens then its brighter than say a 1500 lumens. It is not true to say that a brighter projector is always better as especially for home cinema projectors you would really be looking for a high contrast and the more lumens then that will reduce the contrast available. So it’s important to get the right lumens for the right requirement. We typically recommend 1200-1800 lumens for home theatre and over 2000 lumens for the business projectors. Education projectors often tend to be lower lumens but in recent months it seems that 2000 Lumens now is the minimum requirement. If you have an audience size of more than 50 people which in turn means you need a larger projector screen then the lumens output should be in the regard of 3000 lumens. Large venue projectors or projectors for meeting rooms should be around 3500 lumens upwards. If you are a mobile projector user then lower lumens is often acceptable as you are trying often to have ultra light projectors which usually are no so bright. With the emergence of Ultra short throw projectors then the lumens output can be reduced as the image doesn’t have to travel so far to get to projector screen and the ambient light has less effect on the projector image. Typically ultra short throw projectors are around 2000 lumens.
Resolution is the number of pixels that the projector displays its native resolution. Often projectors will claim to be SXGA projectors but in fact that is not their native resolution and some compression is taking place. The lowest resolution that is acceptable is SVGA (800x 600). These are the cheapest projectors and really you should only buy these is you have a very low budget. Take a look on your computer and change the display to see what SVGA resolution looks like and you will see that it is quite poor. If however you only want to use a it for showing Dvd’s or video content then a SVGA projector would be suitable. We sell more XGA projectors (1024 x 768) than any other type; although surprisingly this isn’t the resolution most people pcs or laptops run at but as these are the most affordable and there are more of these than any others available. WXGA projectors (1280 x 720) are increasingly becoming popular now that people are beginning to enjoy viewing presentation is wide screen format. WXGA projectors also have the benefit that they mimic a HD resolution 720p, so if you wanted to have a business projector but also take it home and maybe use it for gaming then it would be more suitable than an XGA projector. In the last few years people have wanted HD projectors to view TV, play games or look at blu-ray dvd’s. In the past these have only targeted the home cinema market but there is now an emergence for HD projectors for graphic design and web design companies. The increased brightness of say the Optoma EH1020 with its 3000 lumens and 1080p projector HD resolution is a prime example of how the market is changing. Canon in the past have really had the corner on the SXGA+ (1400 x1050) projector market with their Canon XEED range but again with the HD range increasing this seems to be a less popular resolution. We do however still recommend SXGA+ projectors for camera club and photographers mainly because they use the Lcos technology which has been previously explained above.
Inputs on a projector are so important so do not ignore them when buying.. All machines will be supplied with composite video (yellow) connection which is the simplest but poorest quality signal. All are supplied with at least one VGA or also known as RGB connection which links to your laptop or pc. The better ones have two VGA inputs which always you display more than one input source at a time. Having a VGA output is useful when you want to display both your projector image and also to be able to view your monitor at the same time. Component video or BNC which is the red/green/blue connection is a much higher quality than the composite video as it provides a correct display of the signal
S-Video is a standard connection supplied and like composite it is used for video it does slightly differ as it splits the video signal into two different components: Luminance and Chrominance which results in a better image quality than composite video. HDMI is fast becoming the must have connection as it is the basically a digital version of a scart connection and it has the advantage that it also carries audio.
Having a RS232 is basically a control connection to allow your projector to communicate with other devices such as electric screen.
Projector Throw Ratio Probably one of the most important specifications of any projector but most people don't know about it or don't know how to calculate this very simple formulae. If you are in mobile situation you might have limited space so knowing the throw is important. If you are installing then it is vital. If you know you screen size width say in metres (SS) then multiply the throw ratio (TR) and that will say how far away - distance (D) you need to place the projector. If there are two TR's then that is the zoom within that range SS x TR = D Eg screen size 2m , Throw Ratio 1.9 - 2.1 = 3.98m-4.2m Calculation 2 (SS) x 1.9 (TR) =3.98m away - distance the projectors needs to be from the screen 2 (SS) x 2.1 (TR) =4.2m away - distance the projectors needs to be from the screen Another example- a projector with a fixed lens- so must be placed at a exact distance SS x TR = D Eg screen size 2m , Throw Ratio 0.5 = 1m Calculation 2 (SS) x 0.5 (TR) 1m - distance the projectors needs to be from the screen So as you can see the lower the throw ratio (TR) the close or short the throw the projector is. Handy Hint 1: - If you have a tricky installation situation choose a projector that has a larger Throw Ratio range eg 1.4-2.1 which will give you greater flexibility Handy Hint 2: If you choose projector with an unusually large throw or short throw then bear in mind that any installation that you set up will mean that the next time you purchase a projector you will need to get a projector with the same throw ratio, and therefore maybe limit your choice in the future. If you want to know how big an image a certain projector will produce from a certain size then the calculation is still very simple Distance away from the screen (D) divided by Throw Ratio = Screen width (SS) Eg distance away 4m , Throw Ratio 1.5 - 1.8 = 2.22-2.6m image width or screen size Calculation 4 (D) / 1.8 (TR) =2.66m width of screen required 4 (D) / 1.5 (TR) =2.22m width of screen required So at 4m the image size will be between 2.22m and 2.6m An example- a projector with a fixed lens- so must be placed at a exact distance D/TR = SS E.g. distance away 4m , Throw Ratio 2 Calculation 4 (D) / 2 (TR) =2m width of screen required This means if you need a larger or smaller image then you have to move the projector as there isn't any zoom on the lens Every one of projecotr pages has a projector throw distance /screen size calculator too to make it easier for you
The last thing to mention is what is the future of projectors , certainly getting smaller for the mobile presenter, led technology has seen the emergence of the pico projectors or micro projectors which weigh less than 50g’s and Just Projectors believes that the low lumens output will be resolved within the next 5 years. Led projector with a combination of DLP technology has also seen the first lamp free projectors being made available, notably the Casio XJ-S range. They have a lamp life of 20,000 hours and without the mercury in any lamp is now the green option. 3D Projectors have always been available but now they are affordable. Using active technology DLP projectors can now show 3D using a single projector using the active shutter glasses and the prices are under £500 for a 3D solution. However a note of caution as yet 3D projectors only works with Sky TV if you purchase an Optoma 3d-xl adaptor.
Hopefully you would have found this article about projectors to be useful but please contact us at Just Projectors for all your projector needs.