A projection television is one that creates a small picture on some sort of physical medium, then uses a beam of light to further project that image onto a larger screen. While the projection television is nothing new, its quality is much better and its price much cheaper than when the televisions started coming onto the mass market in the 1980s. A projection television falls into one of two major categories: rear or front projection.
In the case of a front projection television, most are not true televisions at all, but rather projector systems. The early versions in the 1980s took up a tremendous amount of floor space. Many may remember them as having a red, green and blue light located at the top or bottom of the setup.
The front projection television has come a long way since those days. In most cases, today a front projection set simply consists of a video projector connected to a television feed. They are further put up on screens that are exactly like movie screens. Most of these projectors are mounted to the ceiling and many times the screens are also attached to the ceiling, or perhaps a wall, meaning no floor space at all is taken up.
The other type of projection television is the rear projected set. These sets work by using a lens to project a larger image onto the screen and may be reflective or transmissive. They make up the vast majority of projection sets on the market today. Most rear projection sets are DLP, which produces images through the use of very small, nearly microscopic mirrors, or LCD sets, which is the same technology used in notebook computer displays and some computer monitors. A rear projection television is also referred to as a flat panel television.
A rear projection television has a number of advantages over a front projection set. For example, they usually cost substantially less. Further, they have a better display at normal room lighting conditions. In the end, however, the preference for a front projection or rear projection television is a personal one.
Projection televisions do have some disadvantages as well. The technology used does allow for larger TVs, but there is a trade-off. Most do not display black very accurately. This can make a difference when watching scenes filmed in low light. In fact, most traditional television tubes, CRTs, do much better at portraying all colors, but due to their makeup and glass screens, can only be made so big.