LCD vs. DLP
Of the 20 models in this report, seven use LCD technology and 13 use Texas Instrument's DLP. Traditionally it has been thought that DLP produces a slightly smoother image that is good for video, and LCD a crisper image that is good for data. However these technologies have improved to the point where one can achieve excellent data and video results from both technologies.
LCD tends to be more light-efficient than DLP. The brightest units in the category, the 1200 ANSI lumen Mitsubishi X70 and the 1100 lumen Toshiba TLP-650, both use LCD panels with 150-watt lamps. By comparison, the InFocus 435z DLP system needs a 270-watt lamp to produce its slightly lower 1000 ANSI lumen rating.
Similarly, among the models with small 120-watt lamps, the InFocus LP330 DLP produces 650 ANSI lumens, while the Epson 710c LCD system generates 1000 ANSI lumens with the same light source. The Davis DP-X16 is the exception to the trend. It produces 1000 ANSI lumens with its 120-watt source, but only by foregoing the zoom lens in favor of a brighter fixed focal length lens.
DLP Product Supply
There is a more practical issue to be concerned with at the moment: DLP product supply. Since last summer Texas Instruments has had difficulty producing the displays in sufficient quantity to keep the DLP-based projectors in adequate supply. Many of the most popular units have been back-ordered for months. Buyers today may face extended lead-times to get their hands on the products. There is no indication that the current supply problem will be alleviated any time soon.
This creates a significant opportunity for recently announced LCD products. In particular, new high-performance LCD models from Mitsubishi and Epson are scheduled to commence shipments in February. They may find a bonanza waiting for them as their DLP-based competitors continue to deliver a lot of promises and very few projectors.