Projectors are the unknown soldier of modern life. Be it at school, work, cinemas, or even at home, projectors have become essential.
But whenever there is talk about projectors, resolution always comes up. So, what is it really?
What We Mean by Resolution
The resolution of any display device is the number of pixels (picture elements) used to display one image. More pixels in one image equals a high pixel density, which leads to higher quality and more detail.
High resolution is essential because it means that if you view the screen from a distance, you will see the small text clearly; if you view it from up close, you will not see those ugly pixelated images no one wants to see.
How Is Resolution Described
Now that you basically understand resolution, you have to know it is usually described.
- It is described in acronyms such as SVGA, XGA or WXGA (we’ll explain later).
- It is described in the number of pixels in width x the number of pixels in height. As an example, 1280×800 pixels means that it has 1280 pixels in width and 800 pixels in height. This equals 1,024,000 pixels.
Many people mix up resolution and aspect ratio. Aspect ratio is the ratio of the width of an image to its height.
Most Common Aspect Ratios
- 4:3 in XGA and SXGA
- 16:10 in WXGA and WUXGA
- 16:9 in standard HDTV, 1080p
Types of Projector Resolutions
Short for Super Video Graphics Array or Ultra Video Graphics Array, is the oldest display projector resolution.
It is considered the lowest resolution. Yet, it is sufficient for basic use. Obviously, SVGA projectors are the most affordable.
It has a screen resolution of 800×600 pixels, meaning it renders a total of 480,000 pixels and an aspect ratio of 4:3.
Short for Extended Graphics Array, is the popular successor of SVGA. It is a 60% upgrade from SVGA, offering a sharper image and higher resolution.
Most computers now are compatible with XGA projectors.
It as a screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels, meaning it renders a total of 786,000 pixels and an aspect ratio of 4:3 as well.
Short for Wide Extended Graphics Array, is an impressive jump from XGA, as it offers 20% more horizontal resolution. Besides, it is about three times better detail than SVGA.
The rise of smart devices and the flourishing of the gaming industry helped popularize it.
It has a screen resolution of 1280×800 pixels, meaning it renders a total of 1,024,000 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10.
Short for Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array, is fit for the larger screens applications, as its name suggests.
It has a screen resolution of 1920×1200 pixels, meaning it renders a total of 2,304,000 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10 as well.
It is a high definition resolution, suitable for all high definition display devices. Contrary to popular opinion, the (p) here stands for “progressive scan,” not “pixels.”
It has a screen resolution of 1280×720 pixels, meaning it renders a total of 921,600 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9.
Also known as Full HD, FHD, or Standard HDTV, is a popular high definition resolution.
It has a screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, meaning it renders a total of 2,073,600 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9 as well.
The big boy has arrived. Of course, it is expensive. It is an ultra-high-definition resolution. While it is all the rage right now, many people find the extra pixels it offers redundant, since the human eye can’t tell the difference most of the time.
It has a screen resolution of either 4096×2160 pixels or 3840×2160 pixels, meaning it renders a total of 8,847,360 pixels or 8,294,400 pixels. It has an aspect ratio of 256:135 pixels or 16:9 pixels. The number of pixels differs due to different uses.
Table for Resolution, Aspect Ratio, Total Pixels and Uses
|Resolution||Aspect Ratio||Total Pixels||Uses|
|SVGA||4:3||480,000||Basic Powerpoint presentations where there is no need for detail|
|XGA||4:3||786,000||Viewing web pages or any standard media from an older computer|
|WXGA||16:10||1,024,000||Ideal for presentations from a new computer or laptop and gaming|
|WUXGA||16:10||2,304,000||HD media, Blu ray and CAD drawings in large venues|
|720p||16:9||921,600||HDTV and affordable movie projection (DVD)|
|1080p||16:9||2,073,600||HDTV, Blu ray and home cinema|
Choosing the right projector is hard, but only when you are not informed. Simply aim as high or low as your needs and budget; do you need something to do the job and costs you very little, or do you want a high-end experience where money isn’t the issue?
Also, remember to match your projector with the resolution of the source to get the best experience.