When it comes to projection technology, a projector offers broad versatility. However, you only get two options when you are about to choose a projector at the budget range, whether it is for home cinema or office presentation.
One choice you get is Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector that came in the 90s. Another option you get is the Liquid Crystal Display projector that might have come in the 1960s but still serve as a popular option. Many users often get confused between DLP and 3LCD while they are about to choose a projector.
So through this article, we will look at the 3LCD VS DLP comparison and help you to judge which one will be ideal. Both the technologies have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it entirely depends upon the users along with their requirements.
Understanding Each Projector Type
Each projector type, whether it is DLP or 3LCD, it works in its own way, so it is essential to know about them while comparing DLP vs. 3LCD projectors.
What is a 3LCD Projector, and What Are the Advantages?
Liquid crystal display or LCD projector image generation technology is an old but reliable projection technology that is still used on a mass scale. The 3LCD is an improved type of LCD projection that was first developed by the Japanese tech giant Epson in 1980.
This projector type is quite a popular choice among users due to its exceptional detailing and color output in the images. It may be a decade-old technology, but still, in 2021, it has the capability to offer incredible brightness without consuming much power. It is a direct rival of the DLP projector and is still sold in huge quantities.
In comparison to the design of DLP vs. LCD projector, 3LCD utilizes a prism rather than mirrors like DLP projectors. This technology uses the prism to separate the incoming light from a lamp or LED source and divides them into red, blue, and green. Once they are divided, each of the RGB lights passes through the LCD panel that helps in creating an image for that color.
Then in the next phase, the 3LCD projector combines the light to create a full-color image which is then projected to the big screen through the lens. Unlike DLP which utilizes a color wheel, the panel mechanism is potent in that it can produce rich color and that too without any rainbow effect.
Advantages of 3LCD Projector
The 3LCD projector has many advantages, and it is mainly due to those benefits; it is still preferred by many users in today’s market. The most highlighting advantage is its immense light production capacity even when it is projected in a compact area.
Due to its high light production, it is widely used for business and education presentations in offices and institutes. It has been designed in such a way that it can offer a great viewing experience in any flat, whether it is a screen or wall. A good quality 3LCD unit can generate better color richness and saturation than DLP units which gives them an upper hand in 3LCD versus DLP comparison.
According to experts, 3LCD technology tends to deliver contrast almost similar to DLP if not better. Since it is devoid of any color wheel and doesn’t require any optical illusion to produce an image so you won’t have the rainbow effect. The electricity consumption of this projector type is relatively low despite having three chips. Another significant advantage it offers is portability, and many of the models get a compact body with many portable solutions.
What is a DLP Projector?
On the other hand, DLP or digital light processing projector is a modern projection technology that uses DLP technology to produce an image. A DLP system is basically based on a DMD or digital micromirror device chip containing two million micromirrors.
This projection-type first came into existence in 1987, and it was created by Texas Instruments. It is a widely popular projector type that is utilized in a wide range of sectors, including home entertainment, education, office presentation, public announcement, etc.
However, they are widely common in the home entertainment sector due to their rich output. LCD may be the oldest projection technology, but currently, a large part of the market is dominated by DLP projectors with a high sales rate.
So how does a DLP projector work? They work in a mysterious yet straightforward way. The main job of micromirrors is to move toward or away from the incoming light so that it can be reflected or deflected to create a black and white output.
Once the incoming light creates a black and white image, then the color wheel of a single chip system or 3-chip RGB adds rich color to the image when the light passes through it. The whole process continues in a super-fast manner, and the images move so quickly through respective colors that it creates the illusion of a stable visual in the eyes of users.
The light source of a DLP projector varies from model to model, and most of them use a lamp or LED sources. However, some units also use laser light sources instead of common types.
Advantages of DLP Projector
When it comes to the benefits of a DLP projector, you will be overwhelmed by the number of advantages it has on offer. The primary benefit of this projector type is the rich contrast and deep black it brings on images.
Since the images have large black depth and richness, the visuals, especially of movies or games, look much better than the LCD projector’s output. Most importantly, it offers superior color accuracy and a wide color spectrum range, thus giving out a better color output than many LCD units. Some DLP models have the capability to create seven colors at once and almost true black while creating an image.
The visual output doesn’t carry much motion blur, and it is almost free from any kind of shake. Moreover, it has excellent geometry and grayscale linearity, which is surprising for projectors coming at an affordable price. Even though LCD digital projectors have low maintenance but DLP units are almost maintenance-free and hardly require any cleaning.
It also offers 3D projection as an affordable feature, and many DLP units come with full 3D compatibility. This DLP technology is not only restricted to the mainstream projector but also serves as a primary projection technology for many Pico and portable projection systems.
Another benefit that many users enjoy is the easy replacement of light source in this projector type which ultimately notches up the overall longevity. Unlike LCD, it doesn’t die easily over time, and you can use it for many hours without getting any signs of significant degradation. Lastly, you will get improved screen size versatility which is helpful in specific locations.
DLP Projectors VS LCD Projector: Which One Should You Choose?
Well, which projector type will be ideal for you entirely depends upon your requirement, budget, and intended use. Both DLP and three-chip LCD projectors offer a tremendous visual output, but there is a difference in their quality. You can choose a DLP projector if you want to use the projector only for home entertainment and casual games.
However, if you want an all-around performance or you are more into the presentation, then LCD projectors would better suit you. Importantly, DLP works great when they are used in indoor or dark environments, so it would be preferred if you want to use it in-home or office conference rooms.
However, if you plan to use the projector in both indoor and outdoor conditions, then 3LCD would be a better deal. The best part is the 3LCD projector tends to come with a high brightness level so it can counter ambient light in a better way. However, if you can control the ambient light in the projector setup area, then DLP would be a good deal as it offers better contrast.
3LCD is limited to specific resolutions, but the DLP projector can go up to 4K resolution, so you have a wide range of choices. However, DLP units are costlier than 3LCD models, so you have to consider the budget range. Check out our review of the best projectors under $200.
DLP is known for its rich color, but they also show a rainbow effect, so you should consider this factor. If you are going for 3LCD, you need to take proper care of it because it quickly catches internal dust and often faces optical misalignment.
While judging between DLP and 3LCD, you also need to consider the light output rate because 3LCD tends to have a better light output than DLP, and that too without consuming much power. It would be best if you also considered the portability factor when going for any of the projectors.
Another factor you should consider is the unique feature available in these two projector types and how it will be helpful for you. It is crucial to browse through all the features of both DLP and 3LCD before you make your final decision. The pricing is also an essential factor, and both types come in almost price range.
However, 3LCD projectors are considered better entry-level models as they offer a complete at a great price. For a better deal and longevity, you should look for 3LCD or DLP units with an LED light source, as they can last for a decade without degrading the light output.
My name is Henry Larson and I have been associated with research and development of projectors throughout my professional career. I used all my experience and expertise to create this blog so that I can guide people to get the best projector of their choice. For any further assistance, you can get in touch with me through email or comments.