TheMicro3D is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Projector Resolution Guide

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. 

  1. It is described in acronyms such as SVGA, XGA or WXGA (we’ll explain later).
  2. 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.

Aspect Ratio

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

SVGA

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.

XGA

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.

WXGA

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.

WUXGA

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.

720p

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. 

1080p

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.

4K

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 

ResolutionAspect RatioTotal Pixels Uses
SVGA 4:3 480,000Basic Powerpoint presentations where there is no need for detail
XGA 4:3 786,000Viewing web pages or any standard media from an older computer
WXGA 16:10 1,024,000Ideal for presentations from a new computer or laptop and gaming
WUXGA 16:10 2,304,000HD media, Blu ray and CAD drawings in large venues
720p 16:9 921,600HDTV and affordable movie projection (DVD)
1080p 16:9 2,073,600HDTV, Blu ray and home cinema
4K 256:135 8,847,360 Cinemas
4k 16:9 8,294,400 Gaming

Final Thoughts

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.

Leave a Comment