Items that ship standard with the projector.
The ratio of image width to image height. The most common aspect ratios for projectors are 4:3, 16:9, and 16:10.
- 4:3 - The older NTSC aspect ratio. While most modern PC monitors and televisions are in 16:9 format, there are still many new projectors being manufactured with this older aspect ratio. Most PCs are capable of outputting in 4:3, and 4:3 remains a popular choice for large venues such as auditoriums and houses of worship.
- 16:9 - International standard format of HDTV and non-HD digital television signals. Most televisions and many computer monitors feature this aspect ratio. Since digital television signals and many DVD and blu-ray films are created in this aspect ratio, 16:9 is usually the preferred aspect ratio for home theater and home video projectors.
- 16:10 - A common PC aspect ratio. Many computer monitors are created in this aspect ratio, usually with native resolutions of WXGA(1280x800) or WUXGA(1920x1200).
Note: Most projectors in today's market are capable of displaying non-native aspect ratios (i.e. a 4:3 projector is capable of displaying a 16:9 image, and vice versa). When displaying content in their non-native aspect ratios, black bars will appear either on the sides of the image (displaying 4:3 content on a 16:9 projector), or on the top and bottom of the image (displaying 16:9 content on a 4:3 projector).
The amount of noise generated by the projector, usually fan noise. Lower numbers mean a quieter sound. For reference purposes, a "whisper-quiet library" has a decibel rating of 30dB, and the average gunshot has a decibel rating of 133dB.
Projector brightness is measured in ANSI lumens, also refered to simply as "lumens" or "lm". The amount of lumens needed to view an image varies greatly from situation to situation, and is dependent on several factors such as image size and ambient light levels in the projection environment. 1,200 lumens is generally regarded as adequate for a home theater with complete light control and a 90" - 120" screen.
Note: When budgeting lumens for a projector, it's a good idea to look for projectors rated at much higher lumen ratings than what you need. Many projector manufacturers have "Bright" modes which sacrifice shadow detail and color accuracy in order to be as bright as possible. These "bright" mode lumen ratings are then used on the specification sheets, whereas a properly balanced image from the same projector may reduce lumen output as much as 50%. Viewing content in 3D can also lower the perceived brightness of a projected image.
Contrast Ratio is the difference between the whitest white and the darkest black colors that a projector can display. Generally speaking, higher contrast ratios make for deeper blacks and greater shadow detail. While projectors manufactured just a few years ago had contrast ratios ranging from 400:1 to 2,000:1, most projectors nowadays feature contrast ratios from 2,000:1 up to 600,000:1.
There are two industry methods used to measure contrast: 1) Full On/Off contrast measures the ratio of the light output of an all white image (full on) and the light output of an all black (full off) image. 2) ANSI contrast is measured with a pattern of 16 alternating black and white rectangles. The average light output from the white rectangles is divided by the average light output of the black rectangles to determine the ANSI contrast ratio. When comparing the contrast ratio of video devices make sure you are comparing the same type of contrast. Full On/Off contrast will always be a larger number than ANSI contrast for the same video device.
DLP (Digital Light Processing) is a commercial name for a display technology from Texas Instruments (TI). The technology inside is often referred to as DMD (Digital Micro-Mirrors). It consists of an array of mirrors where each mirror represents a pixel element. For example, a high-definition DLP projector with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution would have over 2 million tiny mirrors. Each mirror is attached to an electronically driven hinge that controls the amount of colored light that is reflected from the mirror into the projection lens and onto a screen. Projection systems using DLP technology use 1 to 3 DMD devices.
The dimensions of a projector are measured as Width x Height x Depth.
Type of technology used inside of projector to produce an image. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP™ (Digital Light Processing) are the most common technologies used today. LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) is much less common, but is still used.
Which Display Device is Best?
While different display technologies have their own distinct characteristics, it's usually best to compare advantages and disadvantages on a projector-by-projector basis rather than generalize by display technology.
The size of a projected image, usually measured in height x width or diagonally. Focused Technology provides a projector calculator to help you determine the appropriate distance and image size. Click here to use our projector calculator.
Types of connections accepted by a projector. Some video and data inputs will provide better signal qualities than others. While there is a wide variety of input connectors in use today, here are some of the more popular types:
- Composite Video (RCA)
Composite video is an analog video transmission which is usually terminated via a yellow RCA jack, pictured above. While still a popular video connector, RCA video quality is rather poor. Other analog video cables such as S-Video (better), or Component (best), should be used if possible.
S-Video is an analog signaling standard which provides a better signal than composite video by separating black-and-white and coloring signals. While it offers better picture quality than composite video, its' quality is not as good as component.
- Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr)
Component video is an analog video standard that offers superior quality to composite or S-Video by splitting the video into 3 separate signals. Component inputs are sometimes referred to as YPBPR.
5BNC is an analog video connector that works by separating a video signal into five separate channels: red, green, blue, horizontal sync, and vertical sync. It is mainly used in professional video set-ups and can be found on higher-end large venue projectors. The ends look similar to standard co-axial connectors.
- VGA (D-sub 15)
VGA (Video Graphics Array) connectors are three row 15-pin DE-15 connectors, sometimes referred to as D-sub 15 connectors. The connectors are usually blue and are commonly found on desktops, laptops, and some television sets. They carry analog component video signals, and are one of the more common analog video connectors found on projectors today.
DVI (Digital Video Interface) connectors are found primarily on computers, although they can also be found on some television sets as well. Today DVI is used primarily to transfer digital video (DVI-D), but some DVI connectors can be used to transmit analog video (DVI-A), or both digital and analog content (DVI-I). DVI is capable of transmitting Full HD video, but does not transmit audio. DVI is capable of transmitting an encrypted signal using the HDCP protocol.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a digital audio/video connector that is commonly used for both computers and televisions. Newer versions of HDMI have added improved audio and video capacity, 3D, and Ethernet data connections. HDMI is currently the most popular digital video connector.
Keystone correction squares off a trapezoidal projected image which can occur when the projector is not properly centered on the projection surface. While vertical keystone correction is more common, many projectors also offer horizontal keystone correction. Keystone correction provides more placement flexibility, but does so at the cost of image clarity. For the best image quality possible, Focused Technology recommends keystoning only be used as a last resort.
(Liquid Crystal Display) A display device for generating color images using a matrix of LCD pixel elements. Most LCD projectors have three panels. Each panel is a prism that allows blue, red, or green light through its pixels. These separate colors are then converged and projected. Electrical signals turn on pixels within a set based on the resolution of the unit. Just a few years ago, LCDs were known to produce greater color definition, offering more shades or variations of color than single-chip DLP™ projectors. Today, differences between DLP and LCD technology are less pronounced. Newer LCD projectors include special optics enhancers like micro-lens arrays that minimize pixelization known as the "screen door effect." The portability and brightness of LCD projectors have made them a popular choice for traveling presenters. LCDs are commonly used in projectors, flatscreen displays, cameras, and notebook computers.
The type of lamp in a projector. Metal halide and UHP lamps are the most common lamp types in projectors sold today.
Projectors come with either a fixed focal length or a zoom lens. With a fixed focal length lens, the projector must be moved to adjust the image size on screen. Zoom lenses allow adjustment to the image size without moving the projector. Zoom lenses are standard with most projectors. Some zoom lenses operate manually; others are motorized, which allows you to adjust the image remotely. Zoom lenses allow adjustment to the image size without moving the projector. Lenses for large screen projectors are often sold separately. Large-venue projectors often have optional lenses suitable for long- and short-throw applications. Focused Technology provides a projector calculator to help you determine the appropriate distance and image size. Click here to use our projector calculator.
A typical projector warranty is from one to three years (excluding the lamp). Some manufacturers offer free loaner or overnight replacement programs with their standard warranties. Extended warranties are also available from most manufacturers and can be purchased separately. A typical lamp warranty is 90 days from date of purchase. Some new projectors have lamp warranties as long as six months to a year.
Refers to the number of colors that can be displayed at one time based on the number of bits used to hold a pixel. 24 bits equals 16.7 million true colors and produces realistic TV-like colors. Many projectors are now capable of producing up to 1.07 billion colors.
Types of signals the projector can output. Some projectors can also output audio or video to another external source such as a video monitor or external speakers. Some projectors allow for additional functionality such as screen triggers and remote mouse control. VGA output for video and a 3.5mm headphone jack output for audio are the most common output types for projectors.
Detailed product information document.
Front means the projector is placed in front of the screen. Rear means the projector can be used to project from behind the screen. This requires the projector to be able to reverse the image. Desk/Table means the projector can be placed on a surface. Ceiling means projector can be mounted to the ceiling, and usually requires the projector to project an inverted image. While many manufacturers no longer specify whether a projector is capable of rear projection or being ceiling mounted, most projectors in today's market can.
Remote controls for projectors have varying levels of functionality and may or may not include computer mouse control.
Resolution is the number of individual squares of color, or pixels, that the projector is capable of producing. Resolution is annotated by the number of pixels of width x the number of pixels of height, such as 1920 x 1080. The higher the resolution of the projector, the more detailed and clear an image the projector is capable of producing. Along with lumen output, native resolution is the main factor in terms of a projector's cost. For simple PowerPoint presentations or other applications where detail is not needed, projectors with lower native resolutions are an affordable solution.
4:3 Format Options:
- SVGA (800x600 pixels) - Suitable for basic PowerPoint presentations. SVGA is the least expensive resolution option, but with the recent price drops of XGA models the price advantage of an SVGA projector is small. Only a few projectors are manufactured with this resolution, and it may soon become obsolete.
- XGA (1024x768 pixels) - Currently the most common 4:3 resolution, it is suitable for spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Adequate for most commercial applications. Recent price drops have made XGA resolution projectors extremely affordable. Most manufacturers are now producing wide screen business projectors (see WXGA below) to fit the growing number of presenters using widescreen formats for PowerPoint presentations.
- SXGA+ (1400x1050 pixels) - Suitable for detailed photography and data graphics. This resolution is very uncommon; currently only Canon produces projectors with this native resolution.
16:9 Format Options:
- 720p (1280x720 pixels) - Also referred to as "HD", this resolution is suitable for budget home theater and home video applications.
- 1080p (1920x1080 pixels) - Also referred to as "Full HD", this is the current high definition standard for HDTV and blu-ray content. 1080p is preferred for home theater and home video applications, and is commonly used for computers as well.
16:10 Format Options:
- WXGA (1280x800 pixels) - WXGA resolution is almost identical to 720p, but with an additional 80 pixels of height added. WXGA is a popular resolution for business and education use.
- WUXGA (1920x1200 pixels) - WUXGA has 1920 pixels of width, just like 1080p, but an additional 120 pixels of height. WUXGA is used in applications where WXGA would be used, but more definition and clarity is needed.
Some projectors include built-in speakers for basic audio needs, but most users prefer to use external speakers or the speaker from their computer rather than the typically low power projector speakers. Projector speaker wattage usually varies from 2 Watts to 20 Watts.
Also known as projection distance. This is the full range at which the projector is capable of producing a focused (although not necessarily bright) image. Focused Technology provides a projector calculator to help you determine the appropriate distance and image size. Click here to use our projector calculator.
Throw ratio is a ratio of distance from the projector's lens to the projected image, to the width of the projected image. Short throw projectors have short throw ratios, allowing them to produce a large image while relatively close to the screen, while long-throw lenses allow projectors to be placed far away from the projection surface without creating an image that is too large.
Knowing a projector's throw ratio is crucial for planning a projection setup, and can help determine screen size or a projector's mount point. A projector's throw ratio should always be taken into account when purchasing a projector to ensure it can be used in its' desired application.
Focused Technology is committed to providing the resources necessary to ensure projectors and screens purchased from us can work in your target environment. If you're unsure about throw ratios, you can check out our projector calculator tool here, chat with us, or give us a call at 1-(888) 686-0551.
The amount of hours the projector manufacturer expects the lamp to last before it expires. Projector lamps will slowly lose brightness as they are used. Typical lamp life varies greatly from model to model; large venue projector lamps generally last around 2,000 hours, while some projectors for home use have lamps that will last 4,000 hours or more.
Some projectors also use lamp-less light generation technology, such as LED arrays or lasers to generate light. These light sources are un-replaceable and are designed to last the entire life cycle of the projector, usually rated at 20,000 hours. While lamp-less projection has many advantages, the price or lumen output of the projector usually suffers. Be sure to ensure the lumen output of a lamp-less projector will be adequate before choosing an LED projector.
The projectors ability to project various video standards such as:
- NTSC - the USA's old broadcast standard for video and broadcasting
- PAL - the standard color system used throughout Western Europe, except in France
- SECAM - the French broadcast standard
- HDTV - A type of television signal, which was scheduled by government mandate to replace the current US standard, NTSC, in the year 2006. HDTV is different from NTSC in several ways. First, HDTV is broadcast in the 16:9 aspect ratio as compared to NTSC's 4:3 aspect ratio. Second, HDTV resolutions are increased from 640 x 480 to either 1920 x 1080 (or 1080i) or 1280 x 720 (or 720p). Finally, because the signal itself is digital rather than analog, it can carry a lot of information, including full digital audio with multiple channels.
The weight of the projector (not including cases, cords etc.).