Projector Terminology Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide for Customers
We often encounter customers who have questions about various terms related to projectors. To help you understand these terms better, we have compiled a glossary that explains each of them in detail. If you need an explanation of a word or term not listed, please ask us!
4K UHD stands for 4K Ultra High Definition. It refers to a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which offers four times the resolution of Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). This higher resolution provides more detailed and sharper images on screen.
Ambient Light refers to the natural or artificial light present in the environment where the projector is being used. High ambient light can negatively impact the image quality on the screen, making it appear washed out or less vibrant.
ANSI Lumens is a unit of measurement for the brightness of a projector. It stands for American National Standards Institute Lumens, and it represents the amount of light emitted by the projector. Higher ANSI Lumens ratings indicate a brighter projector, which is better suited for environments with more ambient light.
Aspect Ratio is the proportional relationship between the width and height of an image. Common aspect ratios include 4:3 (standard), 16:9 (widescreen), and 16:10 (widescreen). Choosing the correct aspect ratio ensures that the projected image fits the screen properly, without any distortion or letterboxing.
Blooming occurs when the brighter areas of a projected image bleed into the darker areas, causing a loss of detail in the image. This is typically a result of a projector's inability to produce deep black levels and maintain accurate contrast.
Chromatic Aberration is a type of image distortion caused by a lens' inability to focus all colors at the same point. This results in color fringing around the edges of objects in the image, which can reduce the overall image sharpness.
Color Gamut refers to the range of colors that a projector can reproduce. A wider color gamut allows for more accurate and vibrant colors on screen. Common color gamut standards include Rec. 709 (HDTV) and DCI-P3 (digital cinema).
Color Temperature is a measurement of the color of light emitted by a projector, expressed in Kelvin (K). Warmer color temperatures (lower K values) produce a more yellowish light, while cooler color temperatures (higher K values) produce a more bluish light. A balanced color temperature ensures accurate color reproduction on screen.
Color Wheel is a component found in DLP projectors that uses a rotating disk with different color filters to create the colors seen on screen. The speed and design of the color wheel can affect color accuracy and the likelihood of experiencing the rainbow effect.
Contrast is the difference between the darkest black and the brightest white that a projector can display. Higher contrast ratios result in better image quality, with more detail in dark scenes and a more realistic representation of colors.
DCI-P3 is a color gamut standard used by the digital cinema industry. It covers a wider range of colors than the Rec. 709 standard, allowing for more vibrant and accurate color reproduction in films and other high-quality content.
Distribution Amplifier is a device that takes a single video signal and distributes it to multiple displays or projectors. This is useful for large installations where the same content needs to be displayed across multiple screens.
DLP Projector (Digital Light Processing) is a type of projector that uses micro-mirrors on a semiconductor chip called a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) to reflect the light and create the image on screen. DLP projectors are known for their high contrast ratios and fast response times, making them suitable for fast-paced content like sports and gaming.
DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) is the core component of a DLP projector, consisting of thousands or millions of tiny mirrors that can tilt to reflect or block light. Each mirror represents a single pixel, and by tilting the mirrors at different angles, the projector can create varying shades of color.
Dynamic Iris is a feature found in some projectors that automatically adjusts the aperture size based on the content being displayed. This helps to improve the contrast ratio by allowing the projector to produce deeper blacks in darker scenes.
Edge Blending is a technique used to combine multiple projectors into a single, seamless image by overlapping the edges of each image and adjusting the brightness and color to create a smooth transition between them. This is often used for large-scale projections or immersive experiences.
Filters are used in projectors to remove dust and other particles from the air before it enters the projector's internal components. Regular cleaning or replacement of filters can help extend the life of a projector and maintain optimal image quality.
Focal Length is the distance between the projector's lens and the image sensor, which determines the size of the projected image at a given distance. A shorter focal length results in a larger image at a shorter distance, while a longer focal length produces a smaller image at a greater distance.
Frames per Second (FPS)
Frames per Second (FPS) is the number of individual images (frames) displayed in one second of video. Higher FPS values result in smoother motion and reduced motion blur in fast-moving scenes. Common FPS values include 24, 30, and 60.
Gamma refers to the relationship between the input signal and the output brightness of a projector. Adjusting the gamma can help improve the overall image quality by ensuring accurate representation of shadow and highlight details.
HD (High Definition) is a resolution standard that includes 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) and 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels). HD projectors provide a higher resolution and better image quality compared to standard definition (SD) projectors.
HDBaseT is a connectivity standard that allows for the transmission of high-definition video, audio, control signals, and power over a single Ethernet cable. This makes it easier to connect and control projectors and other devices in an installation without the need for multiple cables.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a widely-used digital connector that transmits video and audio signals between devices, such as projectors, computers, and Blu-ray players. HDMI supports high-definition resolutions and is commonly used for home theater and professional installations.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a video technology that allows for a wider range of brightness and color, resulting in more realistic and vibrant images. HDR content requires a compatible projector and source device to display the enhanced image quality.
HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is a type of HDR format that is designed for live broadcasting. It combines the benefits of HDR with the compatibility of traditional SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) signals, making it suitable for live TV and streaming applications.
Input Lag is the delay between a signal being sent to the projector and the image appearing on screen. Lower input lag is important for fast-paced applications like gaming, where quick response times are crucial for a smooth experience.
Interactive Projector is a type of projector that allows users to interact with the projected image using a stylus, finger, or other input device. This is useful for presentations, educational settings, and collaborative workspaces.
Interchangeable Lens refers to a projector's ability to swap out different lenses for various projection scenarios. This allows for greater flexibility in choosing the right lens for the specific installation requirements, such as throw distance or screen size.
Kensington Lock is a security feature found on many projectors and other electronic devices. It is a small slot that allows for the attachment of a locking cable to secure the device and prevent theft.
Keystone is a feature that allows for the adjustment of the projected image's shape to correct for distortion caused by the angle of the projector relative to the screen. This ensures that the image appears rectangular and undistorted, even if the projector is not perfectly aligned with the screen. NOTE: while Keystone correction can be useful in situations where you can't control the alignment of the projector setup, we typically recommend against using keystone correction as it will manipulate the visible pixels to fit the new geometric image, which can result in image degradation, particularly distracting with very high detail content.
Laser Projector is a type of projector that uses a laser light source instead of a traditional lamp. Laser projectors offer long-lasting light sources, high brightness, and fast start-up times, making them ideal for professional and commercial installations.
LCD Projector (Liquid Crystal Display) is a type of projector that uses LCD panels to create the image on screen. LCD projectors are known for their accurate color reproduction and high resolution, making them popular for home theater and presentation use.
LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) is a projection technology that combines elements of both LCD and DLP projectors. LCoS projectors use liquid crystals on a reflective silicon surface to create the image, resulting in high resolution and excellent color accuracy.
LED Projector is a type of projector that uses LED (Light Emitting Diode) as a light source instead of a traditional lamp. LED projectors are known for their long-lasting light sources, low power consumption, and compact size.
Lens Shift is a projector feature that allows for the adjustment of the projected image's position without physically moving the projector. This is useful for fine-tuning the image placement on the screen and ensuring proper alignment.
Light Rejection refers to a screen's ability to reject ambient light, preventing it from washing out the projected image. Screens with high light rejection properties are ideal for environments with high ambient light, such as conference rooms or living rooms with large windows.
Lumens is a unit of measurement for the brightness of a projector. Higher lumens ratings indicate a brighter projector, which is better suited for environments with more ambient light.
Maximum Resolution is the highest resolution that a projector can support. This may be different from the projector's native resolution, as some projectors can accept higher resolution signals and downscale them to fit their native resolution.
Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL)
Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) is a technology that allows for the connection of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to projectors and other displays using a single cable. This enables the projection of content from mobile devices onto larger screens.
Native Resolution is the actual resolution of a projector's imaging device, such as its DMD, LCD panel, or LCoS chip. A projector's native resolution determines the maximum number of pixels it can display on screen, which affects the overall image quality and sharpness.
Offset refers to the vertical or horizontal distance between the center of a projector's lens and the edge of the projected image. This is an important consideration when mounting a projector, as it can affect the positioning of the projector relative to the screen.
Pixel Shifting is a technique used by some 4K projectors, particularly those with a native resolution lower than 4K, to create the appearance of a higher-resolution image. This is achieved by rapidly shifting the projected image by a fraction of a pixel, both horizontally and vertically, effectively doubling or quadrupling the number of pixels displayed on the screen. The result is an image with increased detail and sharpness compared to the projector's native resolution.
- Cost-effective: Pixel shifting allows for more affordable 4K projectors, as it eliminates the need for a true 4K imaging device.
- Improved image quality: The technique can significantly enhance the perceived resolution and sharpness of the projected image, providing a better viewing experience compared to the native resolution.
- Not true 4K: While pixel shifting can enhance image quality, it does not provide the same level of detail and clarity as a true 4K projector with a native 4K resolution.
Projection Mapping is a technique that uses projectors to map images or videos onto irregularly shaped surfaces, such as buildings or sculptures. This creates immersive and dynamic visual experiences that can be used for artistic, promotional, or entertainment purposes.
Rainbow Effect is an artifact that can occur in some DLP projectors, where viewers perceive brief flashes of color, typically red, green, and blue, around the edges of objects in the image. This is caused by the color wheel, and its visibility varies depending on the viewer's sensitivity and the projector's design.
Rec 709 is a color gamut standard used for HDTV and other high-definition content. It defines the range of colors that a display or projector should be able to reproduce for accurate color representation.
Resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up a projected image, expressed as width x height. Higher resolutions provide more detailed and sharper images on screen.
RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is a color model used in digital imaging and electronic displays. It represents colors as a combination of red, green, and blue light, which can be mixed in various proportions to create a wide range of colors.
Screendoor is an artifact that can occur in some projectors, where viewers perceive a grid-like pattern on the screen, resembling a screen door. ASSISTANT This is typically caused by the gaps between individual pixels being visible, and is more common in lower resolution or older projector technologies.
Short Throw Projector
Short Throw Projector is a type of projector designed to create a large image from a short distance. This is useful for situations where space is limited, such as small rooms or classrooms.
SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display) is a type of LCoS projection technology developed by Sony. It uses a reflective silicon layer to create high-resolution images with excellent color accuracy and contrast.
Tab Tension refers to a feature found in some projector screens, where tensioning cables or tabs are used to keep the screen material perfectly flat and wrinkle-free. This ensures optimal image quality and prevents distortion from uneven surfaces.
Throw Distance is the distance between the projector and the screen, which determines the size of the projected image. Different projectors have different throw ratios, which affect the required throw distance for a given screen size.
Ultra-Short Throw Projector
Ultra-Short Throw Projector is a type of projector that can create a large image from an extremely short distance, often just inches away from the screen. This is ideal for situations where space is extremely limited or for interactive applications.
Upscaling is a process used by some projectors to increase the resolution of lower-resolution content, such as DVD or standard-definition video. This can improve the overall image quality by making the content appear closer to the projector's native resolution. Many UHD projectors use a form of upscaling known as pixel shifting.
WUXGA (Wide Ultra Extended Graphics Array) is a resolution standard that provides a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. This is a 16:10 aspect ratio, and offers higher resolution than Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels).
WXGA (Wide Extended Graphics Array) is a resolution standard that provides a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. This is a 16:10 aspect ratio, and is commonly used in laptops and projectors designed for presentations and multimedia use.
XGA (Extended Graphics Array) is a resolution standard that provides a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. This is a 4:3 aspect ratio, and was once a common resolution for computer monitors and projectors.
Zoom refers to a projector's ability to adjust the size of the projected image without physically moving the projector. This is useful for fine-tuning the image size to fit the screen or to compensate for changes in the viewing environment.
By understanding these projector terms, you can make more informed decisions when choosing a projector and optimize your viewing experience. If you have any questions or need assistance with projector installation, feel free to contact our team of professional projector installers.