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  Resolution

 

The sharpness and clarity of the picture on the screen is determined by a projector's resolution.
Resolution is simply the number of pixels (or "picture elements") the projector uses to create the image. The more pixels it uses, the "higher" the resolution.

Resolution is usually quoted in two numbers, such as "800 x 600," where the first number refers to the number of pixels from side to side across the screen, and the second number refers to the number of pixels vertically from top to bottom.
You will also find resolution quoted in abbreviated terms such as SVGA, XGA etc. We will explain later on what these terms refer to.

What is native resolution?

Most projectors are compatible with a whole range of different resolutions. This means they can convert or compress and display an image from sources with higher or lower resolution (e.g. computers).

Native resolution is the resolution of the image the projector will produce. It is dictated by the size/resolution of the DLP chip or LCD panels.
If a projector's native resolution is 800 x 600, that means that the actual number of physical pixels on the display device is 800 x 600.


Scaling

The projector's process of converting a different input format to its native output format is called "scaling." Although most projector can scale different resolutions up or down, it is highly recommended you match your projector's resolution to your source as scaling will degrade the quality of the image.
Some projectors are very good at scaling, so the resulting image fuzziness is relatively minor, and the image is very adequate no matter what the source. The quality of scaling varies widely among projectors and like all technology, it is constantly being improved. If scaling is an important consideration, be sure you see it demonstrated as you would use it.


Projector resolutions

Below you will find a list of common projector resolutions.

Resolution Number of Pixels Aspect Ratio Description
SVGA

800x600
480.000 pixels

4:3
It is an entry level projector reolution and is quite popular thanks to the lower purchase cost.
WVGA

854x480
409.920 px

16:9
Entry level home cinema resolution, also often refered to as 480p
XGA
1024x768
786.432 px
4:3
Currently the most popular resolution as it is compatible with most computers and notebooks and provides good value for money.
HD2

1280x720
921.600 px

16:9
Mid range home cinema resolution also known as 720p. It is the minimum resolution a projector needs to be to be HD Ready.
WXGA
1280x800
1.024.000 px
16:10
An increasingly popular resolution for use with widescreen laptop computers.
SXGA+

1400x1050
1.470.000 px

4:3
High range resolution used for very detailed applications such as CAD drawings or video surveillance.
UXGA
1600x1200
1.920.000 px
4:3
High range resolution used for the most detailed applications such as technical plans or medical applications.
HD

1920x1080
2.073.600 px

16:9
High range home cinema resolution also known as 1080p. This resolution is true HD resolution.
2K
2048x1080
2.211.840 px
 
The highest commercial home cinema resolution. The high cost of these projectors make them accessible only to the wealthiest people.


What resolution is right for me?

As mentioned earlier it is best to match your projector's resolution to the source's resolution. For example if your notebook computer runs in XGA resolutions, you should buy an XGA projector.

The application is also important in deciding which resolution to choose. If you simply want to show diagrams, pie charts or Powerpoint presentations without a lot of details, an SVGA projector may be enough. But if you want to show detailed spreadsheets or plans, you may have to invest in an XGA or even SXGA model.

If you are unsure, talk to a specialist who will be able to advise you.