Understanding Projector Technology: Brightness

Before we close out our Understanding Projector Technology series on the blog, we have a few loose ends to wrap up. One is a discussion of brightness. At Experience Audio Video, we know that brightness is a critically important factor in the projector buying decision process. If you make the wrong choice on brightness, you’ll have a perpetually frustrating experience using your projector. And there won’t be any way to fix it without replacing the entire projector.

So let’s jump in and explain how brightness is measured as well as the recommended brightness for typical business applications.

How Brightness Is Measured

Projector brightness is measured in lumens. It’s the same measurement system that’s used for lightbulbs and really any light source you can imagine.

On the surface, lumen measurement is fairly simple. Higher numbers mean higher brightness. But when you dig into the details, you’ll actually see two measurements: a white brightness rating and a color brightness rating.

Think of white brightness as a measure of the total possible brightness output of the projector. Color brightness, on the other hand, measures how bright individual colors can be.

How to Choose the Right Brightness

In most business settings, you want a fairly bright projector. If you intend to use the projector in a well-lit space, you need a high lumen output to compete with the ambient light. And if you’re hoping to use a projector in an outdoor space, you need exceedingly high lumen output, like what’s available from laser projectors.

However, brightest isn’t always best. If you’re buying a projector for use in more theater-like conditions where the ambient light is low or nonexistent, too many lumens will wash out the picture and irritate your viewers.

Let an Expert Calibrate Your Space

Because every space and use case is unique, the best way to pick the perfect brightness is to work with a professional. Contact us today for a free consultation and rest assured that you’ll be satisfied with your choice.


Understanding Projector Technology: Contrast Ratio and Aspect Ratio

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.


Understanding Projector Technology: Other Factors

We’ve reached the end of our Understanding Projector Technology blog series. We have just a handful of relevant factors left, so we’re bundling the rest into this final post. Of course, if there’s anything we haven’t covered that you need to know, the Experience Audio Videoteam is always just a message or phone call away!

We have three minor factors left to discuss: throw distance, zoom and keystone.

Throw Distance

Throw distance, or throw ratio, is a measurement of how far from the screen your projector will need to be to produce the right size image. This is a tricky measurement to explain and to understand. But if you’re going to mount your projector somewhere permanent, it’s essential to get it right.

Typical projectors need a healthy amount of space to throw the right size image. Short-throw and long-throw projectors are available as well, perfect for small conference rooms and large auditoriums, respectively.

Make sure to work with an expert installer to ensure you have the proper throw distance/ratio.


Zoom is an important feature for on-the-go projectors. If you’re going to be setting up your projector in a wide range of spaces, you may end up in a situation where your projection is far too small, yet you can’t move the projector back.

In this situation, you want the ability to adjust the image size with lens zoom. The measurement describes how large an image you can get. A projector with 2.0x zoom can produce an image twice as large as the default size.


If you’ve ever seen a projection that was wonky, narrower on one side and wider on the other, you’ve seen a situation where keystoning was needed. If you’re unable to project square on, your image will be off kilter. Keystoning the image allows you to digitally compensate for the distortion. This is another feature that’s most useful in mobile setups.


Conference Room Tech: Which Projector Type Is Best?

If your business is like most, you have at least a handful of digital projectors in your tech arsenal. Maybe your only use for projectors is in your conference rooms, or perhaps you use projectors for all sorts of interesting digital displays. Wherever you are on the spectrum, it’s helpful to understand the different types of projectors available today. The team at Experience Audio Video is here to help with a quick guide.

Two Projector Types: DLP and LCD

The first thing to understand is that there are two main types of projectors: digital light processing (or DLP) projectors and liquid crystal display (LCD) projectors. Both perform similarly, but there are several distinguishing factors.

DLP Projectors: Great for Video and Theater Applications

DLP projectors are the best choice for video-oriented applications. They excel at producing smooth motion and deep blacks, and they produce a great high color contrast. However, they are noisier than the competition and can’t get quite as bright.

LCD Projectors: Sharp and Bright for Business and Data Applications

LCD projectors tend to be the go-to for more traditional business-oriented applications. They can produce a brighter and sharper overall image, perfect for cutting through the industrial lighting found in most offices.

A Third Premium Option: LCoS

There’s a third technology available, though it’s not as widespread. Liquid crystal on silicone is a premium projector technology that combines the advantages of both DLP and LCD technology. If you have some headroom in your budget, LCoS can be a great way to upgrade your projected visuals to a truly impressive level.

Got Questions? We Can Help!

This overview just scratches the surface of all the considerations that go into choosing the right projector. Do you have additional questions? We can help. Get in touch today!


Projectors: Bulb Replacement or New Unit?

In conference rooms and other locations throughout your facility, you have a handful of digital projectors. Here at Experience Audio Video, we’ve watched projector technology come a long way in the past couple decades. Today’s machines are impressive and quite reliable.

But even the most reliable projector will eventually experience degraded performance or may even stop projecting entirely. When this happens, you’re faced with a choice: try replacing the bulb, or just buy a new unit?

Option 1: Replace the Bulb

The first option is to try replacing the bulb. After all, the bulb is a consumable component. The manufacturer intends for users to replace projector bulb assemblies after a certain number of hours of use.

This is certainly an option. The problem is that the bulb itself can be fairly expensive. If replacing the bulb doesn’t fix the problem, you may have wasted a few hundred bucks.

According to one projector specialist, the one situation in which replacing the bulb is the clear first step is when you hear a “pop” or can visually tell that the bulb has popped or exploded.

Option 2: Replace the Projector

The second option is to replace the entire projector. The average price for projectors has dropped greatly. On the surface this is a good thing, but the reason for the price drop is that many cheap, low-quality players have entered the market. Component failure rates are high. These projectors aren’t designed to last.

If your projector didn’t cost much, chances are it’s in this category. If it’s failed or is malfunctioning, your best bet may be to replace the unit outright.

Option 3: Have the Projector Serviced

The third option is to have your projector serviced. Dust can build up in vents, and small internal components can fail as a result. Having your projector serviced is one way to extend its life. And if it turns out the bulb really does need to be replaced, your repair person can take care of that, too.