What is a Projector? Types, Uses, Features & More

What is a Projector?

A projector refers to a specific kind of output device used to expand the images produced by a computer and reflect them on a large, flat, and light-colored screen, wall, or any other surface.

In other words, a projector is an alternative to a computer monitor that allows a large group of people sitting in a room to view the image of the computer presentation.


  • A projector is an output device that creates an image by passing brilliant lights through the small, transparent lens.
  • There are different shapes, sizes, and types of projectors available on the market that come with different features, functionalities, and price tags.
  • In most projectors either a VGA cable or an HDMI cable is used as the input source from a computer. A few may use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well.
  • A projector can be used to project images in real-time, or still and moving images.
  • There are lots of advantages of using a projector including its versatility and adaptability, but there are also a few downsides of it such as inferior audio.

Understanding Projector

What is a Projector

A projector is an optical device connected to a computer which enlarges the images of a computer screen and projects them onto a flat surface.

There are small, transparent lenses in the projectors that make them work in combination with a wide range of other parts and technologies.

A projector, depending on the design, can be used for either rear or front projection. There are some differences, mainly in the screen, between the two methods, such as:

  • In front projection, the screen is usually opaque white.
  • In rear projection, on the other hand, the screen is semi-transparent gray.

Front projection is more common in indoor settings, where the images are projected from the front of the screen and therefore do not need any empty space behind it.

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On the other hand, in rear projection, the images are projected from behind the screen and therefore need empty spaces behind.

However, rear projection is best used for commercial areas and outdoor settings since it is not largely influenced by ambient light and therefore produces better contrast. It is usually used in areas where space is not a problem.

Types of Projectors

Projectors usually come in different sizes and shapes. These devices can be freestanding and portable or fixed and mounted on ceilings.

The projectors mounted on the ceiling are usually larger in size. They can project images over a long distance, often more than 30 feet. These larger projectors are typically used in the following places:

  • Conference rooms
  • Classrooms
  • Auditoriums
  • Places of worship

The portable projectors are typically smaller in size and lighter in weight. These devices are usually good for projecting the images on a bright surface such as a light colored or white wall.

Based on the above, you will get different types of projectors, such as:

  • A CRT or Cathode Ray Tube projector – This is a video projector that uses a Cathode Ray Tube as the picture projecting element.
  • An LCD or Liquid Crystal Display projector – These projectors use liquid crystals and work on transmissive technology to project images.
  • A 4K and UHD projector – These projectors use much better technologies to produce images of high resolutions.
  • A PICO projector – These projectors use a better PICO technology, a combination of Picometer and technology, creating a revolution in projector technology.
  • A laser projector – These projectors use an extremely coherent beam of light to produce images of high quality.
  • A smart projector – These projectors not only come with a projecting mechanism but also a processor, Random Access Memory (RAM), storage, and a default operating system.
  • A DLP or Digital Light Processing projector – Used mainly in the front projectors, these output devices come with either one or three chips.
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The single-chip DLPs usually produce more than 16 million colors, while the latter produces more than 35 trillion colors, which makes the images look natural and lifelike.

Now you also have:

  • Mirror-based projectors
  • Prism-like DLP projectors
  • Hybrid LCD/DLP projectors
  • Retinal projectors

What are Projectors Used for?

The primary use of a projector is to expand the image on a computer screen so that it can be viewed by a lot of people in a room. The image can be a slide or a video presentation.

Typically, a projector can be used for different purposes, including but not limited to the following:

  • In conferences
  • In business meetings
  • In classrooms for educational purposes
  • Home theater or professional theater
  • For TV projection
  • For internet streaming
  • For playing video games
  • For advertising
  • For art installation

What are the Features of Projector?

The features of a projector would vary according to the make and model, but usually they include flexible connectivity options, high resolution, an interactive solution, brighter and better optics with more color clarity, and more.

Though all projectors may not have all of these features, some notable ones are:

  • Plug-and-play 3-in-1 USB connectivity
  • Mouse control
  • HDMI port
  • Wired network support
  • Remote network control and monitoring
  • Wireless network support
  • USB memory or document camera slide shows without PC
  • Dual VGA ports
  • External monitor or second projector connection support
  • Microphone connectivity
  • Better zoom ratio
  • Better contrast ratio
  • Closed captioning decoder
  • Powerful internal speaker system
  • External speaker support
  • Instant and direct on/off support
  • Network message broadcast for networked projectors

What are the Parts of a Projector?

There are different small parts and technologies used in a projector which include the ports, the control panel, the power source and more, each playing their respective roles.

Whether you use it at home, in the office, or in a larger entertainment setting, the different parts of a projector include:

  • Control panel
  • Intake vents
  • HDMI connector
  • Power connector
  • Arm latch release
  • Head latch release
  • Lens
  • Status lamp
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  • It offers larger images of the computer screen.
  • The screen size is customizable.
  • It reduces strain on the eyes since it reflects and does not emit light.
  • The compact size offers easy storage and maximization of space.
  • It is light in weight and offers greater portability.
  • The clear images allow for better viewing pleasure.
  • It adds more value due to the lower cost per inch.
  • It is more versatile and adaptable.
  • Images can be displayed on any surface.
  • It is future-proof.
  • It does not need additional or costly hardware to function.
  • It allows for adjusting images quickly and easily.
  • It offers a better and more theater-like visual experience.
  • It can be used for warmer, outdoor viewing.


  • It usually needs a dark setting for proper projection.
  • It needs more maintenance than a monitor or a TV.
  • The in-built audio system may be very low and not enough for everyone to hear, thereby asking for a good-quality external speaker system.
  • The installation process of a ceiling-mounted projector, in particular, can be quite overwhelming.


As you can see, a projector is a very useful alternative to a computer monitor for a large group of people to view a presentation.

Since the images projected are large and clear, people can view them easily. There are different types of projectors available on the market with diverse features that meet the needs of the users.

About Taylor Swift

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift, a UOPEOPLE graduate is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin