What is a Good Contrast Ratio for a Projector?

A projector is a device that is used for the projection of images. According to the type of images to be shown, the device has different characteristics. 

Video projectors have long been used as a presentation tool in business and commercial entertainment, as well as some high-end home theater systems. However, devices of this type are becoming more and more available and accessible to most people. 

There are many types of projectors, such as: 

  • Cinematographic projector. 
  • Video projector. 
  • Slide projector. 
  • Light projector. 

One of the most important things that you have to take into account when buying one of these projectors is the contrast ratio it has. 

All monitors and televisions rely on a certain contrast to display dark scenes or black areas of the screen. Almost all of them show the whites well, but the blacks are of another type. With low contrast, blacks or dark spots may have gray tones. 

What Contrast Ratio Should My Projector Have? 

A projector may have a great lumens rating, but your image will look washed out if the contrast ratio is low. In a dark room, a contrast ratio of at least 1500:1 is good, but 2000:1 or more is considered excellent. 

Contrast indicates the maximum difference in brightness between black and white. At a 1000:1 contrast ratio, the lightest point is a thousand times lighter than the darkest point. The higher the contrast of a projector, the sharper and more natural the projected image will be. 

You could say that while the higher the brightness, the better the color palette we will have in the image, and therefore, it will look better. It is useless to have a projector with a lot of lumens if it has low contrast, as a decrease in image quality will be observed in dark scenes. 

Typically, projectors have two fundamental types of contrast: 

Native Contrast Projector

This type is also known as Contrast On/Off or Contrast Full On/Off. 

It turns out to be the difference in brightness between a completely white frame (more intense illumination) and one with the darkest black (almost no brightness). 

ANSI Contrast Projector

This type of contrast measures the device’s response when projecting an image with a black and white checkered pattern, much like a checkerboard. 

ANSI contrast compares the average illumination of light areas with the average brightness of dark ones when black and white are spread throughout the image in the frame. 

This factor is more reliable than On/Off as a measure of good projector contrast. The higher the number of lumens, the higher the power to project the desired image will be. 

Which of the Two Types of Contrast Should I Choose for My Projector? 

It all depends on how you are going to use the device. If you want your images to be picturesque but not too bright, setting native contrast is a good idea.  

On the other hand, if you want your images to appear bright in certain areas of the projection, choose ANSI contrast. 

The contrast in these devices can be defined as each projector’s ability to differentiate between black and white. People in different situations use both native and ANSI contrasts, be it in cinema projectors, images, videos, slides, etc. 

There must be a balance between the lumens and the contrast ratio since if we have a projector with many lumens and a low contrast ratio, the image will look poor and without color. 

Is Dynamic Contrast Important in a Projector? 

It is a technique used to measure how much a pixel varies from black to white (or between grays) in a period of time. This figure does not depend on physical technology, such as actual contrast, but on software algorithms and image processing. 

The dynamic contrast’s main function is to automatically detect the incoming visual signal and adjust the image to create optimal contrast. That makes objects in the image easier to see, especially in dark or night scenes. 

That is a modern technology that makes the projection contrast improves dynamically according to the contrast distribution of the emitted signal. The Dynamic Contrast technique, which automatically generates a perfect image when controlled to match the environment, not only produces less strain on the eyes but also reduces energy expenditure by 30%. 

Dynamic contrast values are much higher than native contrast and generally higher than ANSI contrast. For this reason, the first ones are the ones that usually appear in the technical specifications. 

That is because dynamic contrast considers time and is calculated as the ratio of luminosities at different points in time.