Understanding the technology behind LCD And DLP Projectors

LCD Projectors

These start with the light from the lamp which is then split the light into 3 separate beams. Each light beam passes through its prospective LCD panel. One panel has a red filter, one a green, and one a blue filter. The light from the 3 beams is then recombined into one full color light beam, which then passes through your lens and onto  your screen.

DLP Projectors

Single Chip DLP projectors start with the same lamp. What is different in a DLP though is that Instead of passing light through a LCD panel, it reflects off of a DLP chip (which has hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors). How do we get the colors then?  A color, spinning wheel distributes the light to come out in the correct colors, go thru the lens and onto your screen.

Three chip DLPs break the light into 3 beams which hit the 3 chips (similar to the LCD we discussed) and then are dispersed into a single full color beam that lights up your screen. Three chip DLP start at $10,000.

LCD Projectors: Strengths

  • Richer color dynamics for better results in rooms with ample ambient light
  • Draw less power
  • Throw less heat
  • No color filter wheel = No “rainbow effect”
  • Slightly quieter then the DLP
  • Seemingly sharper image on data

DLP Projectors: Strengths

  • Smoother video
  • Smaller box/ lighter weight then the LCD
  • Pixels far less visible
  • Looks more “filmlike” on DVD and HDTV
  • Usually generate “blacker” blacks then LCD
  • Higher contrast then LCD

LCD Projectors: Disadvantages

  • More visible pixels
  • Some screen door effect on certain video images
  • Physically larger – Even for the same number of lumens
  • Poorer contrast
  • Blacks come out lighter gray than DLP projectors

DLP Projectors: Disadvantages

  • Rainbow effect bothers some
  • More moving parts (color filter wheel)
  • Color filter wheel often produces soft but audible whine
  • Poorer reds and yellows at full power
  • Color saturation
  • Need more lumens than LCD, for rich colors, when dealing with ambient light. So you will need a brighter lamp.

Now if you are not confused already, JVC has now come out with a third kind of projector technology that takes the strengths of both the DLP and LCD and combines them into one amazing projector. Read all about the D-iLa projectors and how they compare to LCD and DLP.


If you have any questions about projectors or need help installing a projector you have purchased, please feel free to give me a ring.

F. Cheshire

Home Theater Consultant with ADS Home Technologies

(770) 561-3178

“Installing Home theater Projectors through out Atlanta Georgia ( Ga )”