The differences between LED, LCD, and DLP projectors

When we're browsing through the internet for projectors, these terms come up most often - DLP projector, LCD projector, LED projector, which might confuse consumers. And here we're going to clarify the differences between LED, LCD, and DLP projectors.

At a quick glance, DLP projectors are similar to both LED and LCD projectors, however, the technology used in LED and LCD projectors are quite different from DLP projectors – there are two technologies used in digital projectors(both LCD and DLP are digital projectors): transmissive and reflective.

  • In general, LCD projectors pass light through the LCD panels when they work, so the imaging technology used in LCD projectors is considered to be ‘transmissive’.
  • The main principle behind DLP projectors is that the images are created by a chip and a lot of tiny microscopic mirrors that are arranged in a matrix on top of a semiconductor.

Different from the working principle of an LCD projector, the main principle behind DLP projectors is that the images you see are created by a chip and a lot of tiny microscopic mirrors that are arranged in a matrix on top of a semiconductor. The more mirrors arranged in this matrix, the higher the resolution is.

LED projector

LED projector is a device that uses light-emitting diodes to project video content on a flat screen. It guarantees top class picture quality to users. LED has been used in most pico projectors, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are essentially tiny light bulbs.Moreover, it eliminates the use of old halogen lamps for projecting content.

Instead of using the traditional halogen lamp that most of the old projectors use, they use of light-emitting diodes in order to project video content on a flat screen. This is quickly becoming a trend in the market. Not only it is more efficient, but it has actually revolutionized the technological world. This working principle is further combined with the portability of a mini projector. Thus, the end product is a flexible, portable and highly functional LED projector that can help make the human life better and easier.

DLP projectors are great because they generally need less maintenance than LCD projectors because they don’t contain a filter and the chip design is sealed.  This prevents dust from getting into the chip and compromising image quality.  Because of their design, DLP projectors are also not susceptible to color decay that has been seen in many LCD projectors.

In short, the technology used in DLP projectors is more advanced than both LED and LCD technology, and the images of DLP projectors are clearer and more realistic.

Technologies Used in LED Projectors

LED projectors explicitly use any of these three technologies for its working:

  • Digital Light Processing (DLP):DLP technology was initially developed by Texas Instruments. The technology uses a standard white light source and numerous other filtering techniques for projecting content. 
  • Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS):LCoS technology also uses white light source to project content like DLP technology. In this case, small LCDs are utilized for projecting video content. 
  • Laser Beam Steering (LBS):LBS technology was brought into light by Microvision. Unlike the previous two technologies, this technology uses lasers for its operation instead of white light source. 
Standard DLP Projectors VS Mini DLP projectors

As for DLP projectors, there are also two types on the market.  DLP projectors are categorized based on the size of their light bulb: mini DLP projectors (DLP<0.65), and standard size DLP projectors (DLP>0.65).

If you are looking to buy a DLP projector for a school or business where it’s usually quite bright, it’s probably best to go with a standard DLP projector.  They’re much brighter and show fairly clear images. However, mini DLP projectors are compact, light and thin, so they are great for watching movies at home, camping and use in dark spaces.