What Is a Projector? Backstory, Benefits, and Types!

Projectors have existed for a long time now, and when we thought they were going to be part of obsolete technology, they came out from the flames like a Fenix. Now, you can see a projector in classrooms, meetings, home theaters, or even gaming rooms.

What is a projector
Image Source: Pixabay

The projector has returned to provide a better experience of how we see things. Since the past lustrum, we have seen that home projectors are coming back to the worldwide stores – motivated for sanitary restrictions from 2020 – and we have seen that they bring top-notch technology like HD and 4k resolutions. But what is a projector? Is it beneficial for your house or office?

You’ll get the answer to these questions and more in this article that overviews everything related to projectors. Let’s dive in.

What Is A Projector

A projector is an optical device that you can use to “reflect” an image into a projection screen. Modern digital projectors can even project their light and show images into a surface. 

You can show images and videos like:

Video games

You can connect it to a computer, smartphone, laptop, gaming console, or practically anything that can be reproduced through a projector. It’s a great budget option to use as a monitor or TV because of its price, quality, and the possibility of displaying an image to more people at the same time.

You can find projectors of different sizes and shapes, it all depends on what you are going to use them for. For example, a projector used for a classroom won’t be the same as one for a cinema.

Parts of A Projector

Based on the type of projector you’re getting – and the manufacturer – you could get more or fewer functionalities. However, a regular projector has the following parts:


The lens is like the eye of the projector. It’s where the light comes out and projects whatever you’re watching on the device you connect it to.

There are different lenses. Some can add zoom or another telescopic feature so you can watch the image way better.

Projection Lamp

This part helps the projector with the projection of the image. You can get it so it can be a halogen or LED image.

The projection lamps can vary according to the Lumens’ capacity. This determines how bright the projector is.

HDMI and USB Connectors

These connections are the ones you connect the projector to a source media like a console, PC, laptop, etc. You can use HDMI or USB connectors, depending on which input the source media has.

Power Connector

The Power connector is the socket you use to connect your projector to a source of power. Without it, it won’t reflect anything you want to show.


There are projectors that come with their speakers. You can use them as a replacement in case the source media doesn’t have its sound system.

Control Panel

The control panel is how you control the Projector. Even though some peripherals have their mobile app, you can still manage them with physical controls. These are a series of buttons – or even a touchscreen – to command the projector.

Remote Control

Remote controls allow you to command the projector from a distance. This is old technology and now some of them have been replaced by mobile apps.

LAN Connector

Some projector versions have a LAN connector so you can use them with wired internet and do not depend on Wi-Fi.

Fans and Vents

Fans and Vents are the projector’s cooldown mechanism. They are quite important since you use them with a LED lamp which heats up.

How Does a Projector Work?

The Projector’s functionality is quite simple. It works by projecting light through the lens into a surface.

On the other hand, depending on the media you’re projecting, you can use the remote control to switch between slides – in case of a presentation – or not. If it’s a game, you can only use it to project what you’re playing at the moment.

History of The Projector

Before going deeper into the types of projectors and the benefits of using them, let’s dive into history for a bit.

The concept of projecting an image or video before inventing the projector wasn’t a dream. Old civilizations already knew how to project shadows on larger surfaces. One of these examples is the old Chinese magic mirror that was used to show common people what was known as shadow shows.

A more recent example is the invention of the Magic Lantern in 1659. This device used a concave mirror to project direct light through a glass that contained the image that was going to be projected.

Back in 1756, you can see the invention of the Opaque Projector, which used a combination system of prisms and mirrors to project something.

These two projecting devices were used mainly to entertain the masses. It wasn’t until the 1940-1960 period when the current slide projector mechanics were introduced using 35-millimeter slides to project images.

Finally, in the 2000s and 2010s projectors used similar technologies and were finally able to use the digital environment to project images from computers and other devices.

Types of Projectors

There are 2 types of projectors that you can find in a store.

Have in mind that you should buy the one that fits your needs as a customer not the one with the best attributes. They are:

Home ProjectorsThey are a modification of the business projector. It includes HDMI connectors and better resolution.
Office ProjectorsThese are specially designed for meetings. They have different aspect ratios and resolutions.

Features of a Projector

Not all projectors can be used for the same, but all projectors have the same features that you need to know if you want to buy one.

Among the most important projector features, you can find:

Resolution: It refers to how big the image you’ll project is going to be. There are projectors that have resolutions that go from 480p to 4K. If you’ll use it for home theater purposes, you better have at least one with a 2K native resolution. In general, the more native resolution, the better.
Aspect Ratio: This is the ratio you’ll find between the height and length of your screen. Current projectors support an aspect ratio of 16:10 or native 16:9. This will also depend on the source media you’re using. For example, a modern laptop can have a native aspect ratio of 16:10.
Contrast: The contrast determines how easy it is for you to see the image details or texts. If your projector doesn’t have a good contrast ratio, you’ll see bad-shaped images, blurry or gray.
Brightness: The brightness measures how well you can see low-light environments. There are projectors that don’t have good brightness and can affect your performance. To measure brightness, you use Lumens. You’ll need at least 2500 Lumens in a projector if you don’t want problems with daylight.
Zoom: Zoom lets you adjust the projector’s image and area. You can adjust it using the zoom lens according to the Zoom ratio.

Benefits Of a Projector

There is a reason why people are still using projectors in their homes or offices. It’s a comfortable device that solves quick projecting needs.

Here you can see all the benefits of using a projector.

Low price: Now that projectors are cheaper than how they used to be, you can get a great device according to a budget.
Portability: You can be wherever you want and take your projector with you. Whether you’re on vacation or working, you’ll get to use your gadget connected to a phone or laptop.
Comfortable to the eyes: You can adjust contrast, brightness, and more features so your eyes don’t get hurt when you’re using a projector.
Customizable images: You can modify the size of the images based on the size of the surface you’re projecting using the zoom lens.

What Should You Look For In a Projector

The moment of choosing a projector will depend on the use you want to give it, where you want to use it, and the devices you want to connect to the projector – including an optimal sound system, lights, Wi-Fi, etc – and of course, it will depend on the budget you have available.

The latter is essential when making a list of projectors that you can buy, but you can also add your personal tastes according to the needs you want to cover. 

You can either buy a high-quality projector to watch full HD movies or one with low latency for the use of video games.

In short, your budget and your tastes will help you to acquire the best projector for you.

It is worth mentioning that today, there are more types of projectors than there were 10 or 20 years ago. This is thanks to the advancement of technology. Just as you can have a top-quality projector installed in your home, you can buy a high-quality portable one, both at affordable prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

Doesn’t matter who you are, if you want comfort, portability, and high-quality images at a low price, you’ll need a projector. These are gadgets that adapt to your needs and help you get out of crucial situations like showing a business presentation or playing a video game when you don’t have a monitor.

It can even work for your PC setup when you don’t want to use a monitor. You can embed a projector on the roof and have a TV-size screen for your games.

Their versatility is undeniable, so it’s up to you to put them to the test.

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Alberto Araujo
Alberto Araujo

Alberto Araujo is a former tech support professional that had a change of heart and now aims to write top-notch tech content for his readers. Writer, digital nomad, tech-geek and hunger for knowledge, that’s how you can describe him. If you want to learn about technology, building PCs, and software applications to make your life easier, his content is for you.

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