Image Quality

Resolution

Resolution is the number of pixels that make up an image. It is measured as width by height. For example, an SVGA projector is 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels high. More pixels per unit of area produce a higher resolution and create crisper images.

Not sure which resolution you need? Click for more »

Brightness

Projector brightness is measured in ANSI* lumens. The brightness you need depends on several factors, including image size, audience size, and amount of ambient light.

Click here for suggested lumens for business applications »
Click here for more about lumens suggested for home use »

Note: The type of technology (active matrix TFT LCD, Poly-Silicon LCD with micro lens array, DLP™ chip set), contrast ratio, and other factors can also affect the appearance of brightness.

* ANSI = American National Standards Institute

Contrast Ratio

Contrast is the ratio of whitest to blackest area within an image. Higher contrast ratios make for deeper blacks richer colors. Contrast ratios typically range from 400:1 to as high as 3000:1.

Note: There are two methods of calculating contrast ratio used by projector manufacturers. Full On/Off contrast measures the ratio of the light output from an entirely white image (full on) versus the light output from an entirely black image (full off). 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 projectors 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 projector.

Uniformity

Uniformity is the percentage of brightness carried from corner to corner of your image. A higher uniformity percentage means better consistency of brightness throughout your image. For a more consistent image, look for projectors with 85% or better.

No. of colors

This is the number of colors the projector is able to display. The vast majority of current projector models can display 16.7 million colors.

Aspect
Ratio(s)

These are the aspect ratios which the projector can display. The native aspect ratio is usually listed first, followed by other aspect ratios the projector can output.

What is 'native aspect ratio?'

Because a projector is a "fixed resolution" display device, they have what is called a "native aspect ratio." The most common aspect ratios for projectors are 4:3, 5:4 and 16:9. That means that the chip (or panel) inside the projector is shaped in the specified 4:3, 5:4 or 16:9 proportions. Think of the chip as a miniature version of the image you will see on your screen. Currently the most common aspect ratio in projectors is 4:3, which is the same as most televisions and computer monitors.

Home Theater

Native Aspect Ratios

A 16:9 native aspect ratio is designed primarily for home theater use. This is because widescreen DVD and HDTV signals are broadcast or encoded in the 16:9 format. Home theater enthusiasts tend to prefer 16:9 aspect ratios because they are closer to original 35mm film format. 4:3 projectors can also display widescreen images however, and can also be a good choice for home theater use.

Multi-Use Projectors - 'Black Bars' or 'Letterboxing'

Many projectors, whether in a 16:9 or 4:3 native aspect ratio, are able to display multiple aspect ratios. However, while displaying their non-native signals, you will see black bars either on the sides (16:9 displaying 4:3), or at the top and bottom (4:3 displaying 16:9) of your image.

Business

4:3 projectors are generally preferred for business use. This is because they are commonly used to display data from a computer, and most computers are output 4:3 signals. High-end workstations used for highly detailed images like CAD drawings may prefer a 5:4 format.

Display Type

Type of technology used inside of your projector. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP® (Digital Light Processing) are the most common technologies used today, followed by LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon).

Learn more about the display technology available today »

Compatibility

Data Signals

The data signals that a projector can display. The vast majority of projectors are compatible with Macintosh and PC computers. Some Mac laptops may require an adaptor for VGA output.

In most cases a projector can display either higher or lower resolutions than their native resolution by shrinking or expanding the source material. For the best looking image, match your projector's resolution to the resolution of your computer. The projector's native resolution is listed above under "Resolution."

Video Signals

The projectors ability to project various video standards such as NTSC, PAL, SECAM and S-VHS.

NTSC

The USA's broadcast standard for video and broadcasting. It is actually a lower resolution than systems used in most of the world. However, in the year 2002 stations were required to broadcast higher resolution video signals.

PAL

AKA Phase Alternation by Line. The standard color system used throughout Western Europe, except in France.

SECAM

The French broadcast standard (used in some other international markets) for video and broadcasting. Like PAL, SECAM is also a higher resolution than that of the US, until 2002.

HDTV

A type of television signal, which is scheduled by government mandate to replace the current US standard, NTSC, by 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 (if expressed in computer resolution terms) 640 x 480 to either 1922 x 1080 (or 1080i) or 1280 x 720 (or 720p). Thirdly, because the signal itself is digital rather than analog, it can carry a lot of information, including full digital audio with multiple channels.

Video Resolution

Typically measured in lines, this is the number of horizontal lines of video a projector can reproduce. It may seem logical that an 800x600 projector can produce 600 horizontal video lines, yet this is not always the case. This specification also refers to the supported video broadcast types such as 1080i, 720p, 480p component and 480i.

Note: This information is not always provided by the manufacturer. If you have questions about the video capabilities of a projector and you do not see the information listed here, please contact a Projector Expert to learn more at 1-888-248-0675.

H Sync

The horizontal sync frequency is the number of times per second that the projector can trace a line of pixels from side to side. One hertz (hz) is one cycle per second.

V Sync

The vertical sync frequency is the number of times per second that the projector can trace a line of pixels from top to bottom. One hertz (hz) is one cycle per second.

3D Ready

A 3D Ready projector is capable of producing the two, almost simultaneous images necessary for creating a viewable 3D image. These images display in sync with special active shutter glasses to produce a realistic 3D effect. Being enabled for 3D in no way detracts from the projector's capabilities as a 2D projector.
*3D enabled content and 3D glasses are required to view 3D video.

Dot Clock

Dot Clock is measured in MHz and is the maximum number of dots-per-second which can be produced by your projector. If a projectors dot clock is 200 MHz, it is capable of projecting 200,000,000 pixels per second.

Connectivity

Inputs

Types of connections/signals accepted by a projector. Some input types, such as PCMCIA or Ethernet, add greater functionality to your projector like wireless or network compatibility. Some video and data inputs will provide better signal qualities than others. Available input types include the following.

Video/Data

  • Component video (BNC, RCA, or RGB)
  • Composite video (RCA or BNC)
  • S-video
  • DVI
  • Computer (Analog RGB, Digital RGB, or M1-DA)
  • RGBHV
  • Video Audio
  • Computer Audio

Click here to learn which video inputs provide the best images »

Other
  • Ethernet
  • RS-232
  • PCMCIA
  • Memory Stick
  • SD Memory Card Slot
  • 802.11a
  • 802.11b
Outputs

Types of signals the projector can output. Projectors with output types, such as Screen Trigger or USB Mouse, allow for additional functionality from your remote. Some projectors can also output audio or video to another external source such as a video monitor or external speakers.

  • Computer, Analog RGB (Standard VGA, mini D-Sub 15-pin)
  • Stereo mini jack
  • Screen trigger
  • Serial mouse
  • PS/2 mouse
  • USB mouse
  • RS-232
Built-in audio

Some projectors include built-in speakers. Many will prefer to use external speakers or the speaker from their computer rather than the typically low power projector speakers.

Projection Lens

Lens

The type of lens used by this projector. This spec may include descriptions of the design (recessed, bayonet, etc.), zoom type (manual or digital), focus type (manual or electronic), focal length, and more.

Short and Long Throw Lenses

Some projectors are designed to be mounted far back from the screen viewing surface while others can be used in closer proximity to the screen. Click here to learn more about short and long throw lenses »

Types of Optics

In order to make projectors weigh less, some projector lenses are made of high-quality lightweight plastic materials. These lenses perform very well, and help make the projector more travel friendly. Other projectors utilize glass optics, which may provide a clearer image. Speak to a Projector Expert to find out which type of lens will work best for your needs.

Optional Lenses

High-end installation projectors sometimes come without a specific lens, or come with an interchangeable lens to account for variations in positioning the projector. Bayonet style lenses are easier to change and service, and may be a feature to consider if your projector will be installed.

Image Size

Size of image the projector is able to produce. Usually listed as a range (100 in.- 300 in.) and measured using the diagonal.

Throw Distance

This is a measure of the size of image a projector can produce from a given distance. Manufacturers provide throw distance calculators which help determine the size of image which can be produced by each of their projector models. We also provide a link to a projection calculator within the downloads tab of each projector specification page.

Note: Although the distance calculators are generally very close, they do not always provide the exact size of an image which is created at a specific distance. For best results, purchase and mount your projector and measure the size of image produces before purchasing a screen.

Keystone Correction

A projector with keystone correction is able to correct the distortion created when a projector is placed at an odd angle from the screen. Some projectors are able to provide more correction than others, including some which can correct for both vertically and horizontally skewed images. For best results, do not use digital keystone correction in long-term installations. Click here to learn more about keystone correction »

Lens Shift

Lens adjustment function that allows for easier positioning of projector in installed environments. Some projectors provide room to move the lens within the housing left or right, and up or down. Using lens shift will produce better results than using digital keystone correction because it maintains the integrity of the original image rather than compressing the pixels to square the image.

Variable lens shift is a type of lens shift that allows for diagonal, horizontal, and vertical lens adjustments. Click here for more about Lens Shift »

Proj. Methods

Ceiling -- means projector can be mounted to the ceiling, and usually requires the projector to project an inverted image. That way the projector can be mounted upside down making controls more easily accessible.

Rear -- means projector can be used to project from behind the screen. This requires the projector to be able to reverse the image.

General

Dimensions Projector Dimensions

The dimensions of a projector are measured as Width x Height x Depth. For purposes of comparison, the dimensions of a small package of notebook paper is approximately 8 1/2 inches x 2 inches x 11 inches.

Unit Weight

The carry weight of the projector. In some cases additional cords and external hardware may add to the overall carry weight and may not be included in the manufacturers specified weight. Click here to learn about projector portability »

Operation

Power Supply

A projector with a power supply specified as 110/220 volts can be used both in the United States and Europe with a slight adjustment. 110 volts is the US standard and 220 volts is the European standard. If you travel both in the US and abroad, be sure your projector has this capability.

Power Consumption

Amount of power required to operate projector. Low power modes may reduce power consumption. Higher lumen projectors typically require more power to operate.

Ecomode

Many new video projectors feature an option that allows users to increase lamp life while minimally reducing the light output. Some applications do not require a projector to be used at its full brightness. By selecting an economy mode, you can reduce the light output, while conserving lamp life and lowering the noise level of the fan. Using the economy mode lowers light output by as little as 20%, and used regularly can help to nearly double the life of the lamp.

What are the benefits of economy modes?

Economy modes enable users to make fewer lamp purchases during the lifetime of the projector, saving them money and the hassle of maintenance. The use of economy modes also decreases power consumption, resulting in additional savings in energy costs.

Along with increasing usable lamp life, use of economy modes also results in a decrease in fan noise. This reduction in ambient noise is especially noticeable in home theater or small- or medium-sized conference room applications where the projector is operated in close proximity to viewers or near a speaker phone.

FCC Class

FCC Class A is considered appropriate for commercial use. Class B for home use.

The level of electromagnetic radiation approved for Class B needs to be below 46 db(A) Micro Volt versus the 56 db(A) Micro Volt for Class A.

The FCC governs the amount of acceptable levels of electromagnetic emissions that can radiate from electronic devices. The FCC regulates two separate classes, or levels of electromagnetic emissions for electronic equipment. Class A covers devices used in business, while a more stringent standard, Class B, covers home electronic products. The goal of these regulations is to keep electronic devices from interfering with each other. Devices commonly affected include stereos, radios, TVs, wireless networks, and other sensitive electronic devices.

Audible Noise

Amount of noise emitted from projector. Lower numbers mean less noise is generated. A very soft whisper is approximately 30 dB.

  • 180 dB: Rocket at take-off
  • 140 dB: Jet engine at take-off
  • 120 dB: Rock band
  • 110 dB: Loud thunder
  • 90 dB: City traffic
  • 80 dB: Loud radio
  • 60 dB: Ordinary conversation
  • 30 dB: Very soft whisper
  • 0 dB: Softest sound a person can hear

Source: http://www.medical.hear-it.org.

Accessories/Parts

Lamp

Type of lamp used in projector. Metal halide and UHP lamps are the most common lamp types in projectors today. Both types of lamps have approximately the same life span (around 2,000) hours and produce similar looking images.

Lamp Life

Projectors typically have a lamp life of around 2,000 hours. This is actually the lamp's 'half-life.' The half-life is the point where the lamp is half as bright as it was new. The lamp still works at its half-life, but will continue to gradually lose brightness. Economy mode, available on some projector models, will help extend the life of your lamp. Click here for print-and-save tips for longer lamp life »

Replacement Lamp Cost

Current list price for a replacement lamp for this projector.

Items Included

Items that ship standard with the projector. Laptop/projector travel cases, hard sided travel cases, ATA cases, full function universal remote controls, and additional cables can be purchased online in our accessories area. Cables can also be custom made. Please call a Projector Expert for details. Click here for optional accessories »

Remote

Remote controls for projectors have varying levels of functionality and may or may not include computer mouse control. Remote controls with greater functionality can be ordered if desired. Call a Projector Expert to learn more. Click here to find optional projector remotes »

Carry case

Carry case that ships with projector. Projector People also offers options like ATA shipping cases, wheeled travel cases, or padded cases. Click here to find optional projector cases »

Warranty

Projector

A typical projector warranty is from one to two years. 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 through Projector People. Click here to compare manufacturer standard warranties »

Lamp

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. Click here for tips on extending projector lamp life »