DLP vs. Laser Projector – Which one you should choose?

Many people debate whether DLP or Laser Projector is better, and some are even convinced that one or the other is the best projector technology in existence. With that being said, there are many variables to consider when comparing these two projection technologies and ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

Both DLP and Laser Projector projectors can be used for presentations, movies, gaming, and more. However, their differences aren’t just skin deep as there are major differences in features such as performance.

So let’s start the battle: DLP vs. Laser Projector

DLP Projector

What is a DLP projector?

A DLP projector has a liquid crystal layer between the light source and the reflective surface, where the image is projected. Liquid crystals are made of molecules that can be switched on or off to achieve different colors.

In front of this reflective surface, you will find a series of 3 mirrors that move in relation to each other to give you the best projection. DLP projectors have been around for some time now, so if your first projector was a Laser Projector it is likely a DLP one.

DLP is more light-sensitive than most other technologies available on the market. They need bright light in order to work well – they won’t work well in dimly lit rooms or when using dimmers.

DLP projectors come in many sizes and power levels, with some offering everything from a 100-watt power source up to 5000 watts for those who need a top-quality projector.

DLP Projector

Haven’t you heard – DLP’s have the best image quality?

Most DLP projectors offer brilliant image quality, their resolution is excellent (for an LCD projector) and their contrast ratio is very high. You can tell when looking at a DLP projector as they give off a warm glow in any lighting environment.

It’s quite hard to compare these two technologies because they are quite different, but if you want to see exactly how good one or the other is you should read our comparison between these two we are going to cover here.

Advantages of DLP projectors

Light sensitive:

DLP projectors need the best lighting in order to give you the best image.

Wide color gamut:

DLP projectors have a wide color range, this means that you can get much more accurate colors than with your average Laser Projector (most Laser Projectors offer a limited color range).

Decent resolution:

If you are looking to watch BluRay or HD TV content than DLP projectors will have resolutions higher than what most other technologies are able to provide.

Dull images with Laser Projector:

Laser Projectors don’t offer any type of contrast ratio and their resolution is very low (for the size of the device).

Color Wheel

A color wheel is the main difference between a laser projector and a DLP projector. A color wheel takes the RGB color input from your media input (TV cable, Xbox, PC, etc.) and separates it into red, green, and blue components. Once these three colors are separated they can change to any color in the spectrum.

The problem is that because there are only three cells in a Laser Projector’s color wheel they will be unable to display some colors properly because each cell must switch on and off very rapidly in order to display the desired color.

In some cases, you may even notice dark/bright lines running horizontally across your screen when there is a small pattern or movement. This is because the colors are being displayed incorrectly.

You might not see this when watching a movie as it’s easy to zone out these kinds of distractions, but once you start watching a movie on the most expensive projector available you will notice that the colors aren’t right and they are not in the correct spots in relation to each other – and it’s quite annoying.

The DLP Projector does not have any color wheel – instead, it has a rotating prism. This gives it much more flexibility as the prism can display anything within its range of colors (16.7 million+). For example, green is made up of red and blue lasers which are combined by a filter.

Various Prices

DLP projectors are more expensive than most other technologies, but that doesn’t mean that cheap DLP projectors don’t exist. DLP projectors have various price ranges, so if you are looking for a cheap projector you should research the different options and settle with the one that is the best for your budget.

DLP Projector 1

Disadvantages of DLP projectors

Cost:

Most DLP projectors cost more than most other technologies on the market. If you are on a budget then Laser Projectors are quite good value for money, but if you want the best quality there is a price to pay.

Setup:

Some DLP projectors have issues with setup and they often require professional installation. For example, some DLP projectors require calibration at regular intervals – something which can be quite annoying for those people who want to watch a movie or watch TV.

Laser Projector

What is a Laser Projector?

A Laser projector has a very different technology compared to a DLP projector. With the laser projector, there is a red laser that shoots out towards the screen, where it bounces off and returns back to the device.

Then there are two mirrors that effectively zoom in on this light (without changing its color) and reflect it back out to the screen. The light never leaves the device. This is one of the main differences between these two technologies – with a Laser projector quite literally everything happens within 100 microseconds.

What is a Laser Projector?

This all sounds good, but how well do they perform?

Laser Projectors have a very high contrast ratio and a very bright image. Their resolution is also one of the best on the market as they offer up to 1080p native resolution. Many “normal” projectors don’t even offer this much. You can tell that an image is projected through a laser in the dark because it’s a quite dim light (as opposed to a warm glow with DLP).

It’s important to note that there are some people who don’t like the light output from laser projectors because it doesn’t look natural at times – this can be annoying if you are watching movies or playing games.

Advantages of Laser projectors

Brightness:

Laser Projectors are extremely bright for the size of the device. They also offer a high contrast ratio and a very good resolution for the market.

Speed:

Lasers projectors can show you moving images within 100ms because they don’t have a color wheel (as discussed earlier). The color only changes when it needs to, as opposed to other technologies which attempt to change the colors on every frame.

Most Laser projectors will offer you between 2x and 4x zoom which means that you can get a much larger picture by using this technology.  The zoom is usually adjustable so that if you want to get a closer look at anything on your screen you can.

Quality:

This is a very good technology for watching movies. You will notice a big difference when you watch a movie on the biggest Laser projector available as opposed to the smallest one, this is because Laser projectors offer very high contrast ratios and they offer accurate colors which will make your movie much more enjoyable.

Interactive Projection:

This is a new type of projection where you can actually interact with your surroundings – something which has never been seen before. You can play games on these devices, watch 3D movies and even use your finger as a laser pointer to draw on your screen. The potential with this technology is huge and we are going to see some awesome products hit the market in the near future.

Long lamp life:

Most Laser projectors have lamps that last for around 20000 hours which means that you can watch movies at home or at the park for many days without thinking about the lamp replacement.

Advantages of Laser projectors

Disadvantages of Laser Projectors

You will need to install your Laser Projector, but it is nowhere near as complicated to set up as DLP projectors. Most Laser projectors don’t require any installation as they come with a simple built-in remote and headphone port. If you want these items then you will need to buy them separately.

Laser projectors have several disadvantages compared to DLP projectors as well. The main disadvantage being the fact that they are not as light-sensitive as DLP projectors (they need bright light in order to function properly). Also, the lamp on a laser projector is quite big and bulky and it can be hard to get a laser projector into a living room as they are quite heavy. You also shouldn’t leave your Laser Projector running for more than 10-15 minutes at a time or it might burn out. These two points may seem minor, but you would be surprised at how often people turn their laser projectors on and off just because they had left them on for too long.

Which one you should choose: DLP vs. Laser Projectors

In the end, your final decision will come down to price and your use. These projectors are very good at what they do and if you are after a projector for watching movies or playing games then they won’t let you down.

I personally prefer laser projectors because they offer better colors, better contrast, and a good resolution that is perfect for watching movies or playing games. They also have more brightness which means that they can be used in direct sunlight – something which isn’t possible with DLP projectors.

Which one you should choose: DLP vs. Laser Projectors

Again DLP projectors are good too, but they require calibration which can be annoying, they are not as bright as laser projectors, they have a lower resolution and they are not so good for watching movies. I personally use both of these projectors depending on what I want to do with them, but if you were to ask me which one I preferred above all others then it would have to be the laser projector.

Good luck with your purchase and don’t forget that if you’re after a DLP projector then make sure it has a color wheel because this is an essential part of the technology! If you want more information about the Laser Projector or any other projector please read some of my other articles.

Conclusion:

Both technologies have different benefits and disadvantages. With DLP projectors you can get a wider range of colors because there is a color wheel that helps in making the colors more accurate, but with laser projectors, you have a much higher resolution.

When it comes down to deciding on which technology is best for you it really depends on your budget and the level of quality you are looking to achieve. It’s up to you to decide which technology is better suited for your home theater experience – there is no right or wrong answer here as they both have different advantages and disadvantages.

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