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Explained: How LED Projectors Work

Everyone has used a projector at some point in their life, but very few people actually know how LED projectors work. There are currently three different types of video projectors on the market: lamp-based, laser-based and, most recently, LED-based. The latest type might only have been around for a short time, but it’s already gaining rapidly on its predecessors.

Read on to discover how LED projectors work and the innovations they bring, or discover ViewSonic’s solutions by clicking here.

It might not seem like it, but the advent of LEDs had a huge impact on our daily lives. This technology plays a big role in the miniaturization of our electronic devices, from smartphones to 4K TV screens, up to the headlights of our cars. And after sweeping the display industry, it is now finding its way into our video projectors.

Even if you probably already know the principles behind a lamp projector, chances are you’re still wondering how LED projectors work. If this is the case, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a closer look at this technology and explore the benefits it offers.

How do LED projectors work?

An LED, or light-emitting diode, is a small light source that glows when current passes through it. LEDs have been common in electronic devices for decades, usually as alert or indicator lights. The first LEDs were limited to red. But they soon developed, both in terms of power and flexibility, to produce different colors and much higher light intensities.

One of the most significant developments for LEDs in recent years has been the innovation of high output LEDs. These now come in a variety of sizes and capacities. Smaller versions are sharp enough to comprise picture cells for digital TVs, while larger LEDs are sufficiently powerful to light a room or illuminate digital projectors.

These recent developments change the very core of how projectors have been operating so far. For more context, let’s take familiar lamp projectors. In those, the traditional lightbulb acts as the light source. Its white light is directed toward a color wheel that spins very fast to produce colored lights, occasionally causing the so called “rainbow effect”.

Unlike lamp-based projectors that transform the white light into colors, LED projectors directly generate colors by combining LEDs in three colors of light: red, green and blue. This solution provides a wider color palette that results in both more natural and vivid colors.

How Led Projectors Work

Benefits of LED projectors

LED projectors offer many benefits over the traditional lamp-based ones, both in terms of viewing experience and operating ease. The LEDs don’t need to warm up after turning on or to cool down when switched off. This minimizes the time you need to wait for the projector to get started. With instant power on, your device is always ready to use.

LEDs aren’t only quicker to use, they’re also greener. They require less power to operate, saving up to 50% more energy than their lamp-based counterparts. And since they have a lifespan of 30,000 hours (corresponding to a use of 4 hours per day for over 20 years), the LED projectors require a lot less maintenance. This also means cutting down on the toxic mercury lamps of traditional projectors that contribute to polluting the environment.

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Because they generate very little heat, LED projectors don’t need to be equipped with powerful, noisy fans. This makes them not only quieter, but also with more internal space, resulting in smaller and more portable devices. Some of the newest LED projectors models are in fact so light and compact that they can easily fit into a handbag or even a pocket!

Last but not least, LEDs also provide an enhanced viewing experience. They produce a higher perceived brightness thanks to a higher color saturation what translates into a wider color gamut for more vibrant and colorful images. This is a huge plus if you’re a movie enthusiast looking to set up your own home theater.

Benefits of LED projectors

How LED projectors work in different settings

LED projectors are, compared to the traditional lamp and laser-based models, very versatile. They find their way into all kinds of setups, be it leisure or work. Let’s have a look at some practical use scenarios:


With the rise of LED projectors, the home theater experience has never been more accessible. Intensity and color reproduction used to be a common issue in the past, not to mention the irritating fan noise disturbing audiovisual immersion. LED projectors address these shortcomings and now offer resolutions up to 4K. They also produce a wide color gamut of 125% Rec. 709, the main standard in the entertainment industry. You can now expect a true-to-life cinematic experience at home, especially if you pair your projector with a good set of speakers.


Projectors in education need to be reliable, easy to set up, and require little maintenance. The LED projectors, with their instant power on, long lifespan, and effortless configuration, check all of these boxes. Especially important for schools is the fact that there’s no need to replace the lightbulb anymore, meaning less downtime for teachers, and less cost for school administrators. Moreover, they now also come in a compact format with inbuilt speakers, making school trips even more entertaining.


LED projectors work like a charm in business environment. They offer comprehensive connectivity with features like screen mirroring, USB-C for data transfer and power, and Wi-Fi. The instant power on saves time in meetings, and the LED lifespan leads out for a reduced TCO over time. Their short throw ratio also allows for setups in small meeting rooms where it never would have been possible previously. And just as for schools, the portable models, with their in-built battery, also come in handy for sales staff in the context of presentations outside of the office.

Travel and leisure

LED projectors are becoming even more convenient than regular smartphones or laptops when it comes to entertainment on the go. Now commonly equipped with quality built-in speakers, Wi-Fi, durable batteries, and even direct access to streaming services, they offer a nice alternative when it comes to travel or vacations. With their compact format, you can now simply pair up your phone and stream the latest episode of your favorite TV show in your backyard, on holiday or even on the beach!

Final Thoughts

In the end, it’s really not difficult to understand how LED projectors work: LEDs just replace the traditional lamp bulb as the light source, coming in three colors: red, green, and blue. But what may appear as a small technicality actually packs a lot of punch. LED projectors are more versatile, produce brighter images, require less maintenance, and cost less over time. On top of that, they find their way in all kinds of environments, from schools, to businesses, to your backpack!

Still wondering if you should invest in a LED or lamp video projector? Then you’ll be interested in this article. Otherwise, click here to discover ViewSonic’s broad range of LED projectors.

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