Ask the Board – January 27, 2020 | RICHARD DAUGHERTY


“Projections vs. display technology. When is one chosen over the other?”

We have seen different approaches to how content is delivered in lobbies, experience centers, waiting areas, etc. There is an opportunity to share a visual experience with the viewer and wow them with content, branding, and information. Delivering this experience via displays or projection is up to you and your budget. There are benefits to each approach, and I will go over the pros and cons for each. 

There are people who have a firm view that utilizing projection instead of LCD displays simplifies the design, and depending on the projector, it can be budget-friendly. Projection does not have large power demands which, when compared to an LCD video wall, can consume a lot of energy to operate. The ability to project large images without the need for purchasing several displays is a plus and also benefits from projecting a bezel-free image when compared to a video wall made up of several displays. Another huge advantage over LCD displays is having fewer points of failure. With the number of electrical components required for an LCD video wall, the percentage increases for potential issues along with the cost for replacement. 

When pursuing the projection solution, there are several things to consider:

  • What size is the space in which that projector will be located?
  • What is the expected size for the projected image?
  • Is there a lot of ambient light in the space?

Note: Projection can suffer quality loss when ambient light is a factor. The image can potentially get washed out, which means you will end up having the best quality output only at night.

  • Where will the projector be positioned? The positioning of the projector is crucial, because you don’t want people casting shadows on the wall where the planned image will be.
  • What is the “throw distance?” A lens can be costly depending on the distance from the projector to the surface to which the image will be projected.
  • What is the duty cycle? Depending on the hours of operation, the lamp can also add considerably to the budget, and depending on its intensity, the lumens required for image clarity can increase the cost of the lamp and limit its lifespan.
  • Onto what type of surface will the images be projected? Will there be a screen or a wall or will the images be projected on glass?

On the other hand, LCD displays have made technological strides in size and can offer sizes up to 100 inches. Obviously, an LCD this size comes at a huge cost. As mentioned above, projection can deliver the same and even larger screen sizes at a fraction of the cost. But, when ambient light becomes a factor, LCD will win every time. These displays will produce the same image regardless of how much light is in the room. Images will not get washed out and LCDs will still offer great contrast on the screen. Projectors with very bright lamps may still suffer from ambient light. But, when it comes to resolution, LCD displays offer excellent performance delivering 4K HDR and more. Projection is available in 4K HDR but can’t deliver the same performance or clarity.

When making the final decision, ask yourself and team the following questions:

  • What is the objective for the projector/display? 
  • What type of environment will the projection or display be located in?
  • Will ambient light be a factor in deciding projection or LCD?
  • How large will the screen need to be to be impactful with your content to your audience?
  • What type of content will be displayed on the screen? Video, images, 4K, 3D?
  • Will power consumption be a factor?
  • How long will the solution work before a replacement is needed? Display? Bulb? Etc.

About Author

Senior Solution Architect – Digital Media

Integrator Council

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