This is a question I’ve been asked a few times by folks looking at a projector for their home theatre plans versus those more interested in a TV, be it LCD, LED or plasma. So for the benefit of those folks who asked–and those who would have asked but didn’t think to–allow me to present a brief primer on LCD and DLP projectors.
LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display, projectors operate much like an older television, but writ large. An LCD has three separate panels, one in red, one in green, and one in blue. The three then combine to create a single image with all the various hues involved in the picture.
DLP, or Digital Light Processing, uses just ONE chip to generate the necessary mixing of reds and greens and blues by using the DLP chip’s tiny mirrors and a color wheel of filters to produce the shot.
Now, DLP generally does the job more efficiently than LCD, producing a sharper, clearer image, but some people can actually detect the individual colors used in a DLP image. This results in eye strain, so if you’re thinking about going with a DLP projector (which is smaller, lighter, and usually a better buy than the LCD) you’ll want to see it in action first to make sure you don’t get the eye strain.