DLP vs. LCD Projector

DLP vs. LCD Projector

DLP vs. LCD Projector

In comparison to LCD projectors, DLP projectors are smaller, lighter, and more reliable while LCD projectors produce sharper images and better picture quality.

With DLP technology (Digital Light Processing), images are projected from a monitor onto a large screen using micromirrors. A majority of digital cinema projection uses DLP, including standalone projection units, rear projection TVs, and rear projection televisions. Video projectors use LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology to display images, video, and other computer data on a flat surface or screen. LCD video projectors use a metal-halide lamp and a prism to generate light.

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Pros and Cons

Advantages of DLP over LCD projectors

The following are some of the benefits of DLP projectors you can enjoy as a road warrior or home theater enthusiast:

It is portable:

Because DLP projectors use a single chip instead of LCD’s three panels, they tend to be smaller and easier to transport. Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices can connect to DLPs using LED or pico technology.

The higher the contrast, the better:

Home cinema applications prefer DLP projectors because of their deep blacks. In a PowerPoint presentation, this may not affect smooth video presentations, but it will affect smooth DLP projectors with reduced pixelation. The buyers guide for church projectors indicated that the high contrast ratio is better for outdoor application


A sealed optic is good for dusty environments because it has fewer parts and is less expensive to repair.

Advantages of LCD projectors

Compared to DLP projectors, LCD projectors boast three main advantages:

LCD projectors offer much better picture quality than DLP projectors, mainly because

In DLP projectors, the color wheel has a clear section, which reduces saturation. Projectors with LCD screens do not have color wheels.

Compared to DLP projectors with the same resolution, LCD projectors will produce a sharper image.

The LCD would have a brighter image if the lamp was the same wattage as the DLP.

Disadvantages of DLP projectors

The few disadvantages of DLP projectors are:

A “rainbow” effect can occur when viewing a projected image away from the source, or when viewing a screen from one side of the screen. However, they are used in the best LED projectors for Christmas.

Stray light can be reflected from the edges of mirrors on DLP chips due to the grey band outside of the image. A black border can be added around the screen of an older DLP projector to avoid this.

Disadvantages of LCD projectors

LCD disadvantages are more relevant to the video:

The screen door effect causes pixilation to be more apparent when sharper images are displayed.

With older LCD models, it is impossible to produce a black image with 100% contrast.

An LCD is bulkier and less portable than a DLP due to the number of parts it contains.

Changing the color balance or reducing the contrast can result in more image degradation.

Dead pixels are pixels that turn on or off permanently. Image quality and user experience are negatively affected by clusters of affected pixels.

Read more on How projectors work

How DLP Projectors Work

In a DLP projector, the main source of image information is the DLP chip, which is a digital micromirror device (DMD). It consists of up to two million tiny mirrors with a width of about one-fifth of human hair each. A dark or light pixel can be created by each of these mirrors moving toward or away from a light source independently. During a projection, the image is projected onto the screen by feeding a beam of light from a light lamp source through the lens and onto the DMD by passing through a spinning color wheel. Most of laser projectors for church uses this technology.

There are 35 trillion colors possible with a DLP projector with three chips. With a three-chip DLP projector, light from the lamp is split with a prism, with each primary color going to its own DLP chip, then recombining and leaving the projector through the lens. DLP Cinema projection systems in digital movie theaters and three-chip systems in home theaters are two examples of three-chip systems.

Read more on the best ultra short throw 4K projectors.

How does an LCD projector work?

LCD projectors use three LCD technology systems as opposed to watching displays and other electronic devices. By combining three liquid crystal displays, the image is created in a multi-step process. Three mirrors (or dichroic mirrors) reflect specific wavelengths of light from a light source, which is then transmitted to three mirrors (or light sources).

The mirrors show wavelength reflections in red, blue, and green. Light beams of different colors are used to transmit electrical signals to LCD panels. By arranging pixels based on the signal, the panel creates an image. Each LCD panel creates the same image, but with different hues since colored light passes through each panel. Through the use of a prism, images can be combined to create an image that contains up to 16.7 million colors. A lens passes the image through a projector to project it onto a screen.

Technology and Light Source

Reflective technology is a feature of DLP. In contrast to LC materials, DMDs reflect light instead of passing it through them. Single-chip DLP projectors need a reverse-fisheye lens, a rotating color wheel, an under-lens mirror, and a front-surfaced mirror so that light from the lamp can reflect off and be reflected onto the DMD. A light sink absorbs unneeded light reflected off the top cover or enters the lens from there.

As a result of the transparent liquid crystal used in LCD projectors, light passes through the liquid crystal and into the projector. Whenever you look at an LCD projector, you will always find three LCD panels, and these are always light transmitting panels instead of reflective displays or direct view displays

DLP technology does not require a specific light source to operate since it is source-agnostic. An arc lamp unit with high-pressure xenon is typically used as the main source of light in a DLP projector. As an alternative, high-power LEDs or lasers are used in ultra-small or pico DLP projectors. A metal-halide lamp is used for LCD projectors since it provides a broad spectrum of colors and an ideal color temperature. Unlike most other projection systems, LCD projectors use smaller metal-halide lamps, making them more portable.

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It is possible to find DLP and LCD projectors ranging in price from $300 to well over $1000 depending on the quality and functionality. On Amazon.com you can buy projectors from the following two links. Here is a list we compiled of the affordable DLP 4K projectors.