All things projection

All Brightness is Not Created Equal


Over the weekend, my wife and I went to our local consumer electronics store – we are in the market for a new washer and dryer. Unable to decide on a model, we took a break and wandered over to the projector section. Sounds weird, I know, but as someone who works very closely with projectors, I’m always curious about how they’re displayed on shelves and talked about by store employees. Just my luck, a customer was asking about the differences between a few projectors (DLP-based models), and as the employee was going through the specs he stated that one model offered 2,700 lumens, implying that the projector is very bright.

I shook my head. What the employee didn’t tell the potential customer was that 2,700 lumens for that particular model only covered the projector’s white brightness, not color brightness. According to testing by an independent lab, the color brightness performance for this particular DLP-based projector was only 700 lumens1.

What does this mean? While the projector might very well look bright when projecting white, the color projected would be much darker and muddier. Click on the video clip below to learn how low color brightness can hurt a projector’s performance.

When buying a projector, the first and most important question should be: What are the lumen ratings for white brightness AND color brightness?

For the DLP-based projectors you’ll find in your local consumer electronics store – they use 1-chip DLP technology – you will not see a color brightness rating published by the manufacturer. Why? Because their color brightness is much lower than their white brightness. And that’s because with 1-chip technology, only one color is available at a time, giving you colors that are less bright.

One of the biggest advantages Epson projectors provide over these DLP projectors is that Epson projectors utilize 3LCD technology, which results in equal ratings for color and white brightness, for projected colors that are rich and bright. 3LCD projectors are 3-chip, which means the engines send light continuously, not sequentially, so all colors are available all the time, resulting in brighter, better colors.

In fact, Epson projectors have up to 3x higher color brightness than competing 1-chip DLP projectors2. In a recent study, it was also found that 9 out of 10 respondents prefer images from Epson 3LCD projectors3.

So next time you’re at your local consumer electronics store, or even researching projectors online, make sure you look for BOTH color and white brightness ratings. If you’re in the store and don’t see a manufacturer’s color brightness rating for its projector, you can even tell the store employee that color brightness is so important, it is now an industry standard, courtesy of the International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM). You can learn more about the science behind color and white brightness on our Color Brightness website.

Now, can anyone offer a recommendation on a washer and dryer?


1 Data obtained from independent third party laboratory testing of a unit according to the international standard for measuring color brightness, IDMS 15.4.

2 Color Brightness (Color Light Output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Color Brightness will vary depending on usage conditions. The projectors used by a third-party lab for measuring Color Brightness were leading Epson projectors and leading 1-chip DLP projectors based on NPD sales data for June 2013 through May 2014 and PMA Research sales data for Q1 through Q3 2013.

3 Leading business and education projectors vs. leading 1-chip DLP projectors, selected according to NPD data as of July 2015. Based on U.S. research conducted by Radius Research.


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