How Brightness Affects Image Quality

How Brightness Affects Image Quality

For most smaller conference rooms, classrooms and other business settings a 3000-3999 lumen projector is ideal. This brightness level easily projects an 80″+ screen at a value price point and works well in moderate ambient light conditions.

The ANSI lumen spec measures the brightest white the projector can produce using a specific test pattern. But it does not take color accuracy into account.


The brightness of a projector affects the images it produces. Brighter projectors can show more detail on larger screens, making them ideal for larger spaces and home theater setups. However, too much brightness can cause images to look dull and washed out. Therefore, it is important to understand how projector brightness is measured and the factors that influence it.

While vendors tout their lumen ratings as being brighter than competitors, it is important to keep in mind that the ANSI lumen specification does not account for color balance. This means that even a projector rated as being brighter than another with the same ANSI white light lumen rating can produce images that look less vibrant than those of a competitor whose ANSI white light and CLO (Color Light Output) lumens are both based on a perfect calibration.

If you’re using a projector for home cinema or gaming in a dark room, 2000 lumens is an adequate level of brightness for a screen up to 100 inches. For a well-lit environment, you’ll want to increase the brightness and contrast ratio of your projector.


A projector’s contrast ratio is a key factor in image quality, especially when viewed in well-lit rooms. The higher the contrast, the easier it is to see fine details and read text. A high contrast ratio also makes colors look more vibrant and lifelike.

Contrast is measured by comparing the brightest white to the darkest black. However, most video content contains both white and black images, so a pure on/off contrast measurement is not accurate. To overcome this problem, some manufacturers publish a dynamic contrast rating, which is based on the measured brightness of the image at different levels of the color wheel. This is more accurate than a pure on/off contrast test, but it can still be misleading if the manufacturer inflates the numbers.

Another problem is that contrast is influenced by the way a projector reduces internal reflections and ambient light. These changes typically lower the peak brightness of the lamp or laser, movie Smart Projector projector for outside which can reduce the contrast ratio. Some manufacturers use special paints, coatings and techniques to increase contrast without lowering the peak brightness.

Despite the problems with contrast measurements, a good projector with a high contrast ratio is still important for most viewers. The best way to find a great projector is to read reviews by knowledgeable customers and experts and view units in person, preferably side by side.


The traditional ANSI lumen rating of projectors does not take color brightness or color accuracy into account. So a projector rated at 3000 ANSI lumens might be bright enough to project a picture that looks muddy and unattractive. This is a major flaw in the design of projectors. Professional buyers for corporations, schools and government routinely issue requests for quotes specifying ANSI lumen requirements but never include requirements for ideal color balance.

The new CLO (Colour Light Output) spec attempts to address this problem. It requires that all three independent red, green and blue filters on a single-chip DLP projector be turned off in order to produce white. This reduces ANSI white light output to zero, but raises ANSI color light output. Since the new spec considers both ANSI white and ANSI color, it can be used to directly compare brightness between projectors of different types.

As we can see on this test pattern, the DLP’s colors are much more accurate than the LCD’s, which has a serious blue-green bias that distorts the interpretation of the color bar chart and produces dimmer saturated reds. This distortion can be eliminated with some attention to contrast and color calibration, but it will reduce overall image brightness. This is a trade-off that can be made with the Brilliant Color control on many commercial DLP projectors to seek out the best balance between maximum lumen output and maximum color performance.

Image Quality

When it comes to projectors, image quality depends on a number of factors. Screen size, ambient light levels and content types all contribute to the overall picture brightness and contrast needed for a high-quality experience.

While it’s difficult to achieve a truly neutral or accurate color performance with most consumer projectors, this JVC is exceptional. It offers good out-of-the-box color performance with SDR content and excellent HDR playback. In addition, it has a great range of features for optimizing picture quality in different situations.

A big problem with ANSI lumen specs is that they only tell you how bright whites are, but not what colors look like. So even if a projector has 3000 ANSI lumens of white, the colors may be undersaturated and drab or have an objectionable tint. This is a major reason why proponents of the CLO spec argue that it provides more useful information to potential buyers than ANSI does.

Aside from a slight blue bias on this standard color bar test pattern, the JVC’s out-of-the-box calibration has given it very good color accuracy. The LCD, on the other hand, has a tendency to overdrive highlights, giving them a greenish cast. The LCD is also able to hold less detail in its darker shades, so the dark reds on this test pattern look downright pastel.

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