We’re nearing the end of our Understanding Projector Technology series on the blog. Today’s entry should help to clear up some misunderstandings and help all our Experience Audio Video clients have a better handle on all the necessary terminology.

Both contrast ratio and aspect ratio can be fairly confusing, so let’s shed some light (yes, pun intended!) on these important terms. We’ll start with the simpler term, aspect ratio.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio simply refers to the relative dimensions of your projection. There are three in common use.


Standard aspect ratio is 4:3 (four inches horizontally for every three inches vertically). This is the dimension of older televisions and computer monitors. While it’s still in use, it looks dated.


Widescreen format is a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is considerably wider than standard. This is the aspect ratio used by modern TVs and computer monitors, and it’s the same dimension that most TV and movie content is delivered in for home use. We recommend this aspect ratio for most commercial applications.


Otherwise known as ultra-widescreen, this format is used in some high-end home theater setups. Unless you’re doing something very technical visually, you won’t use this in the office.

Contrast Ratio

Simply stated, contrast ratio is the maximum difference in brightness when comparing the brightest and darkest possible outputs.

It’s a fairly important metric in projection environments where the lights are dimmed, like home theaters or some lecture or conference environments. If picture quality matters and the surrounding lights are dim, a high contrast ratio is important.

Contrast ratio is far less important in brightly lit office areas (such as most commercial applications), because the lows of the picture will tend to be washed out either way.

Got Questions? Schedule a Consultation

It’s one thing to read a blog post about it, and it’s another to experience it in person. If you have questions, contact us to schedule a free consultation today.


Contact Us