3 Tips for Buying a New ProjectorIf you want to buy a new projector for a classroom, meeting room or even a home theatre, the image you project on the screen should make a great impression on your audience.

Researching projectors can be confusing, with many acronyms and technical terms. Highline Office Technology’s projector guide will help answer common questions regarding terminology, features and other important considerations when choosing a projector that meets your requirements.

Colour Brightness and White Brightness

Projectors come in a wide range of brightness which are measured in lumens. The brighter the projector the higher the lumen rating; the higher the lumens, the higher the cost involved.

When shopping for a projector, be sure to look for two lumen specifications: One for colour brightness and one for white brightness. There can be major differences among different projectors and brands, so colour should be measured and listed separately to provide accurate information. If the information provided only gives you one lumen rating, it is typically referring only to the white brightness of the projector. The actual brightness of colour may be as little as one-third of the lumens stated. All Epson projectors, as an example, specify white brightness using ISO 21118 and colour brightness using IDMS 15.4, to make it easy to compare projectors. If you are going to be projecting colour images, be sure to look for a projector with high colour light output.

The amount of brightness you need is determined by the room you project in. Projector brightness is measured in lumens.

  • For home theatre projectors where ambient light is kept to a minimum, you'll need a minimum of 1500 lumens.
  • For classrooms, conference rooms or rooms with windows, a projector with a minimum of 2500 lumens is best.
  • For large auditoria or lecture halls, you'll need more lumens, 3000, 3500 and 4000 are pretty standard these days.

Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio is the difference between light and dark on a screen expressed by a number. If you take the brightest white on a screen and the darkest black and compare the luminosity, you will get the contrast ratio. For example, a 1000:1 contrast ratio means that the brightest white is 1000x brighter than the darkest black.

Therefore, a high contrast ratio means the projected image will have incredibly rich, crystal-clear detail. Contrast is especially important for the home theatre, where ambient light might otherwise prove it to be challenging to see rich cinematic content if there is not a significant enough difference between whites and blacks.

Epson's exclusive Vertical Alignment (VA) LCD technology provides an opaque black to be the natural state, allowing a projector to achieve astounding blacks with a contrast ratio up to 200,000:1.


Resolution is the number of dots or pixels used to display an image. Higher resolutions mean that more pixels are used to create the image resulting in a crisper, cleaner image. High resolution is important for projecting detailed charts and graphs, text, and high-definition video. The resolution is indicated by a number combination such as 1920 x 1200. This indicates that there are 1920 dots horizontally across the display by 1200 lines of dots vertically, equaling 2,304,000 total dots that make up the image seen on the screen.

SVGA, XGA, WXGA, WUXGA - So what’s with all the acronyms, you say?  Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right type of projector resolution for your needs.  It’s important to get this right at the start as it will have an impact on your experience, the engagement and overall quality.

Business Projector Resolutions:

  • SVGA (800x600 pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio): SVGA projectors are low-resolution projectors that are more affordable and suitable for projecting simple data, charts and video clips.
  • XGA (1024x768 pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio): XGA is widely used. Most computers use XGA as their native resolution, so pairing computers to XGA projectors is common.
  • WXGA (1280x800 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio): WXGA is the widescreen version of XGA — delivering the same vertical resolution but providing 20% more horizontal resolution. This has become a common resolution for notebook computers and smartphone.
  • WUXGA (1920x1200 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio): WUXGA is becoming the standard for higher-end notebooks and workstation computers. In addition, WUXGA is used for installation projectors and large-venues that require bright, high-definition content.

Home Theatre Projector Resolutions:

  • 720p (1280x720 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio): This format is most commonly used for economical movie projection. It matches the 720p HDTV standard.
  • 1080p (1920x1080 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio): This is now the standard format for home theatre. It matches the 1080i/1080p HDTV broadcast and Blu-ray formats.

Article supplied by Jean Evans Highline Office Technology