Q. What is the difference between DLP and LCD projectors, and can you really tell a difference anyways?
Each type of projector operates differently, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
DLP (which stands for Digital Light Processing) is a patented technology created by Texas Instruments. It uses a reflective chip with mirrors that wobble back and forth, with each mirror representing a “pixel”. Each mirror directs light either into the lens path to turn the pixel “on”, or out of the lens path to turn that pixel “off”. Typically, a single chip does the projecting of the red, green, and blue channels. Because of this design, in a DLP projector, only one color is actually being displayed at any given time. It alternates so quickly that the human eye typically cannot discern the difference.
Advantages of DLP are higher contrast ratios than LCD projectors. They are also typically smaller than LCD projectors, and at entry level price points they do not have as much pixelation.
LCD projectors on the other hand have small LCD panels that the light passes through to produce the picture, typically one panel each for red, blue and green. LCD projectors typically have better color saturation, producing much richer colors than a comparable DLP projector. LCD projectors also produce sharper images and offer more lumens of light output than comparable DLP projectors.
Disadvantages of LCD projectors are their lower contrast ratios. They are not able to create blacks and shadows as sharply and richly as DLP projectors. LCD projectors also have more pixelation than a comparable DLP projector.
Researching the two types and viewing examples of each is the best way to determine which type will suit your needs best.