So often we have heard of how projector manufacturers have been engaging in the ‘numbers’ game. Just like our fellow LCD TV counterparts, marketing on how their contrast ratio have once again managed to break record figures, leading unknowing users into believing on the fact that, “the higher, the better”
Then there is this High Definition trend, promising unparallel image quality and visual experience. Soon many users will have the same question in their heads… what exactly are the differences and which one is more important?
Contrast Ratio (CR)
Before you came across this article, you might have already read tons of write-ups describing what is contrast ratio. As a matter of fact, one needs to know the definition of contrast ratio before he can understand why it is important/ no important. But to help users understand better, contrast ratio can be simply described as the ‘difference’ between the brightest white and the darkest black that an image can produce.
To make it even easier to understand, the bigger the ratio, the sharper the difference in black vs. white tones and the more define your image can be. So, it is true that higher is better? Or not…
The catch is, in order to fully capitalized on the potential of the contrast ratio, the projector will have to be operating in a pitch dark room. Any sign of ambient light will reduce the contrast performance drastically.
A simple example to show how contrast performance is affected by ambient light:
In a pitch-dark room, contrast ratio of 20,000 : 1
In a candle lit room, contrast ratio drops to 500 : 1
In a fluorescent lighted room, contrast ratio drops to 10 : 1
The above shows how contrast ratio is affected by different lighting conditions despite using the same projector.
So ask yourself a simple question, how often are you going to operate your projector in a total darkness room? And if your answer is no, then do you think contrast ratio is really that important now?
High Definition (HD)
Without doubt, high definition images and video is probably one of the best resolutions one can get from a projector (of reasonable budget). A few basic points to note before you jump into the fantasy world of HD:
– Do you know the difference between 720p & 1080p?
– Do you have a HD Cable?
– Do you have a HD Player?
– Do you have a HD Source?
So often I have seen users keen to invest in a HD projector without knowing that they will not get HD images without the accompanying component of HDMI Cables, Players and source.
With a typical data projector, HD resolution will usually be 720p and not the full HD quality at 1080p. Home projectors will support Full HD, coupled with better video processing chips to enhance the fluidity of the video quality.
So be prepared to invest in the other components if you are keen to achieve HD resolution images, if not, buying a HD capable projector whilst connected via the standard VGA cable will not make any difference.
CR vs. HD
So what exactly are the similarities associated with the above 2 features?
Technically both features are not very much related. But both have been widely marketed to draw user interest with the promise of better image quality. As you can see from the above discussions, the claims are true but not if you know what you are buying into.
Hence we conclude this article by emphasizing to users on the 3 KEY steps to projector selection:
- Know your own requirement, realistic requirements
- Look for the right specifications
- Request for a Demo if possible