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All You Need to Know About Projectors

A projector is an optical instrument used to present still images or motion pictures onto the surface, commonly a projecting screen. It is a device for projecting a beam of light. Most projectors create images by shining light through small transparent lenses. Modern projectors form images by beaming light directly through lasers. While some still use a lamp as the light source.

Projectors are often referring as beamers, home projectors, movie projectors, cinema projectors, and digital projectors. While the term film projector often refers to a device that beams actual film lies 8mm, 16mm. It can also refer to a digital projector you would find in a cinema or media room.

Types of Projectors

There are many different types of multimedia projectors that each serve a different use. However, based on their display property, projectors can be classified into three types.

  • Cathode Ray Tube
  • Liquid Crystal Display
  • Digital Light Processing

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

A CRT is a video projecting device. It uses a tiny cathode ray tube that has a high brightness for image generation. It uses the lens to project the image which is placed in the place facing the tube, focusing the image and making it enlarge to project onto the big screen.               

A CRT project the image or video with the help of lenses. These images are produced with the help of three separate colors (red, green, and blue) in CRT tubes. CRT projectors are difficult to port because they are heavy and large. They also consume more electricity because of the three light guns they are using.

Although CRT projectors are difficult to set up once they are set, they will provide high-quality pictures. They also include new technologies and are compatible with new improvements.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

The meaning of the liquid crystal display is clear from its name. The word LCD resembles two states of matter, the liquid and the solid. As the name depicts, it uses liquid crystals to display an image.

These types of panels are now used in every kind of gadget like TV, computer, laptop, portable video games, and cell phones. LCD technology displays are much thinner compared to CRT.

Know the difference between ? DLP vs LCD projectors.

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Digital Light Processing is a video innovation made by Texas Instruments that is utilized by front and back projection units. DLP is used in both back and front projections. The back projection is mostly used in TVs. The front projection is intended to use in organizations and classrooms.

A DLP comes in two noteworthy structures:

  1. 1 chip DLP
  2. 2 chip DLP

This projector makes use of the micromirror for projecting images onto the surface or screen. These mirrors are also called digital micromirror devices for shading light on the screen.

These mirrors are located in the semiconductor chip and are small in size. They are specially prepared by Texas Instruments.

Projector Types on the Basis of Throw Distance

Whenever you are going to purchase a projector, the first thing you should keep in your mind is the throw distance i.e., the distance of the projector from the screen. Once you have selected this, your choices would become narrow considerably.

Based on throw distance, projectors are classified into three types;

Regular Throw Projectors

The Regular Throw Projector Type is the most commonly used type of projector. It is used in a variety of settings, including classrooms, conference rooms, and home theaters. This type of projector is designed to be placed on a table or other surface, and it projects the image onto a screen or wall.

Regular throw projectors typically have a short throw ratio, which means that they can be placed closer to the screen or wall than other types of projectors. This makes them ideal for use in small spaces.

Short Throw Projectors

A short throw projector is a type of projector that is designed to be placed close to the projection surface. This makes it ideal for use in small spaces, such as classrooms and conference rooms. Short throw projectors typically have a shorter throw ratio than other types of projectors.

This makes them ideal for use in small spaces, where a traditional projector would be too large and would require too much space to set up.

Ultra-Short Throw Projectors

Ultra-short throw projectors are designed for use in small spaces and can be placed just inches from a wall or screen. They’re ideal for use in a home theater setup, and can also be used for business presentations and other small-scale events.

Throw Ratio Formula

You can use the throw ratio formula and its relationship to help select a projector and screen size based on your requirement.

The ideal throw ratio is based on the required throw distance and image size

  • Throw Ratio = Throw Distance/ Image Width

Where to place a projector given its throw ratio and requires image size

  • Throw Distance = Throw Ratio* Image Width

The width of the image of a projector will produce given its throw ratio and throw distance

  • Image Width = Throw Distance / Throw Ratio

Other Projectors

Besides the aforementioned two classifications, there are a lot of other projectors too such as

Mini Projectors

Mini or sometimes called Pico projectors as the name implies are small in size and are the cheapest projectors. They are more portable, battery-powered, and work great on a camping trip or coming with you for a business presentation. They can also work as a home theatre.

Checkout our guide on ? best mini projectors under $100.

4K Projector

With a USB hardware interface and 4K resolution, 4K projectors are one of the most sought projectors. They are easy to connect with Bluetooth, WiFi, and USB. They have inbuilt display DLP technology. Their mounting type is called the mount.

They are portable and weigh about 86.5 grams and can be used as a home theatre projector.

What To Look for in a Projector

There are several attributes that you have to look for while choosing a projector. Selecting a projector depends more on the purpose for which you are buying it. Each of these traits will guide you in detail about how to choose a projector that’s right for you. These include the following points.

Light Source

Projectors mainly use one of these light sources, i.e. Bulb, laser, and LEDs. Each source has its pros and cons and is used in its respective ways.

Chip Set

The chip set is a technology that makes a digital projector work. There are different chip sets, all are fantastic for producing images. These are the computer chips that form the video you see on the screen.

In the world of digital projection technology, there are three main types of chip sets, LCD, DLP, and LCoS. All three produce fantastic images but each one has its attributes it does better than the other.


 This factor is an important feature when choosing the right projector for you. Resolution describes how clear an image is projected based on how many pixels can be displayed on given specs.

The higher the resolution, the more pixels in the image, the more pixels, the more detail in the image.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio means the ratio between the width and height of the image. When it comes to video aspect ratios will be 16:9, 4:3, and 16:10.

By far the most common ratio is 16:9 and most television and streaming services are broadcasting in this ratio. So, most of the projectors have a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Contrast Ratio

The contrast ratio is the simplest way to determine the quality of the projector. In its simplest terms, the contrast ratio is the ratio between the light reflected from an all-white image and an all-black image.

So, if a cinema projector has a contrast ratio of 3000:1, it means that a white image is 3000 times brighter than a black image. The more the contrast ratio, the more detail you see in the video. The more detailed video, the better the projector.

Brightness/Intensity of Projectors

The intensity or brightness of the projector is measured in a unit called lumen or lux. When you are going to purchase a projector, you should be aware of two-lumen specifications.

  • White brightness
  • Color brightness

Former refers to how bright the white lamp of the projector is and the later refers to how bright the colors are.

Lumens Requirement for Projectors?

The term lumen generally refers to the amount of light radiating out of the light source, such as the lamp of the projector, laser or even it may be sun. A lumen is a measurement unit of light. Each projector has different lumens which affect the projector’s brightness and intensity.

Lumens may be of the following intensities;

  • For a room projector 2,500 ANSI
  • For outdoor projectors, it ranges from 3,000 to 12,000 lumens
  • Others may have 1,500 lumens with no ambient light

Factors That Affect the Projector’s Brightness

The amount of brightness and lumens also depend upon other factors other than the setting, video, or picture fidelity. Factors like throw distance, contrast ratio, resolution, ambient lighting, also play their part to decide how many lumens needed or reduced to play a movie on the screen.

Ambient Light

A light even a faint one is much clearer in a dark room or dimly lit theatre compared to a well-lit room with ambient light or even full daylight in the daytime. Therefore, as far as the ambient light is concerned, a brighter projector requires to deal with a brighter room.

Throw distance

Throw distance or how far the projector is placed from the screen also dictates the brightness. Hence, a brighter room and more distance demand more lumens in the projector.

Size of Screen

In addition to ambient lighting and throw distance, the other thing to consider the size of the screen to account for brightness. If the screen’s size is 100 to 120 inches, then it must have 2,000 lumens to optimize the brightness without ambient lighting to produce clear and vibrant images. You may also check the difference between black projector screen vs white.

Lumen Count Depend on Projector Application

You should keep in mind that home theatre requires low brightness as there is no or very less brightness. So, if you go for high lumens for home theatres, it is just a waste of money. But, if you have to deal with conferences with a huge audience on a very large ground in daylight, you will go for high lumens for more brightness.

You can always go for a setting to adjust the level of brightness in high brightness projector.

A Short Guide to Determine Ambient Light

Ambient light dictates projector brightness. These two values are directly proportional to each other. The more ambient light present, the more brightness is required.

Ambient Levels

You should buy projectors following the ambient light present in your room where you have to adjust the projector screen.

Low Ambient Light

You need 1,500 lumens brightness in low to no light entering room like home theatre or cinema hall. It is through this setting that projectors shine through, but you have to adjust the brightness of a conference projector to look great in a home theatre.

Medium Ambient Light

You need at least 2,000 lumens in such a setting environment. Some ambient or additional light is present in the form of hall lights in a conference room or business convention. It also refers to window blinds leaking or dimmed mood light that might steal some thunders from the projection’s brightness.

High Ambient Light

You need at least 3,000 lumens or more in such settings. It involves places such as schools or offices that allow daylight in or light from windows like in school or office. It’s also bright enough that aloe notes are taken from students or the audience.

Ambient Light Requirements Concerning Specific Locations

Different environments or locations require different ambient light requirements or brightness.

Home Theatre

A home theatre has lower brightness requirements as it is in line with commercial cinema halls.

Conference Hall

Meanwhile, a huge conference hall requires bright ambient lights everywhere that you can’t dim down since multiple booths make use of them. So, it requires high lumens for high brightness.

Churches and Mosques

Similarly, when comes to the house of worship like mosques and churches, they have high ceilings that let in daylight from either of the windows. That’s why it also requires high brightness.

Schools and Offices

Educational environments, meanwhile, can make do with lower lumens ratings because it has dim light.

Cleaning Your Projector

One of the things people often forget is to clean the projector. That’s why the image is not clear sometimes. You also check the lens, if it is dirty, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean the lens.

The second thing is to clean the screen. You have to make sure that the screen is widely flat, clear, even, and free of dust. Third, check any serviceable parts. But do not tear it apart unless the manufacturer says to.


Now that you know the basics of projectors, you are ready to make a decision about which one is the best for you. You may be surprised to learn that there are a number of different projector options that are available for purchase. You may have limited space in your home or office, or you may have a larger space and need a high-quality projector that can provide big screen viewing.

Additional Resources for Projector Lovers
How to hide a projector screen
What are the best projector screen alternatives
How to connect a laptop with a projector
How to Clean a Projector lens
How to get sound from projector to speaker 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do I Place the Projector?

Ideally, your projector is positioned on the top of the ceiling, so, no one who walks around disrupts the picture for anyone else in the room. Also, position the projector directly perpendicular to the screen.

What Is the Best Distance for A Projector?

The best distance you can get through the throw ratio. For example, if you are using a regular throw projector, with a throw ratio of 1.5 to 2:1, you have to place it 1.5 to 2 feet away from the screen.

Where Should I Mount the Projector?

If you are going to use the projector in one location, you should fix it on the wall or ceiling. In this way, your beamer is kept secure, stable, and ready to use without the adjustments and setting every time.

How Much Do Projectors Cost?

The price-quality of a projector ranges from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. This large price resulted due to variation in technologies, power, and new features that got into the given projector.

The more the lumens projector has, the higher the resolution, the chipset, and the light source can all increase the cost of projectors.