Home and business projectors are not the same. Find out how they differ from each other.

Resolution and Definition

The resolution of your projector is a big factor in determining the image quality, with a higher resolution image being sharper and less blocky. High resolution is more important when dealing with projectors than it is with home PCs because the individual pixels are magnified as the image displayed is much larger, which magnifies the size of the individual pixels.

Resolution is a term to identify the number of pixels the projector is capable of displaying. It comes in a width by height measurement. Resolution measurements are a little different between Home Theatre and Business projectors. In the home theatre space, you need to think about what devices you are going to connect and whether they are standard definition (576i/p), high definition (720p, 1080i) or full high definition (1080p).

When looking at the projector in a store, the resolution of the projector is the way to determine which signal format it will support natively. While many standard-definition projectors can display a high-definition image, they do so by scaling the image down to standard definition which, in most cases, results in loss of image quality. These are currently the three main Home Theatre projector resolutions:

  • Standard definition 576i/p: 1024x576 pixels
  • High definition 720p: 1280x768 pixels
  • Full high definition 1080p - 1920x1080 pixels

Business projectors are based on 4:3 PC monitor resolutions and aren't designated by whether they are standard or high definition. When considering which resolution to purchase with respect to business projectors, the decision is not based on what you are connecting to it but more so the quality of the image you want to project. Higher resolutions will always look better than the lower resolutions but at the same time come at a higher cost. There are currently three main projector resolutions:

  • SVGA: 800x600 pixels
  • XGA: 1024x768 pixels
  • SXGA: 1280x1024 pixels

Projectors operate in the same way as LCD monitors, in that they have a 'native resolution'. So the native resolution of an XGA projector is 1024x768 pixels, which means this is the maximum resolution it can project in. The image resolution of your source image can be higher, but the image will not be as clear as the projector must resize it to fit its constraints. Many notebooks use a resolution of 1024x768 pixels as their native resolution, making XGA the most suitable choice for boardroom presentations. There's not much of a price difference between XGA and SVGA projectors so we recommend going with XGA as not only will it likely be more compatible, but will offer better image quality. XGA is also capable of projecting SVGA images as they are backwards compatible with no distortion side effects.

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