When researching projectors you will most often see the number of lumens referenced as a brightness scale. The lumens metric actually only measures white light and doesn’t reference the rest of the color gamut. A new standard, Color Light Output, also known as Color Brightness, gauges the brightness of colors and shines a spotlight on the fact that not all projectors are created equal despite the fact that they may be comparable in features and lumens.
Most of today’s projectors utilize one of two technologies: 3-Chip LCD (or 3LCD) and 1-Chip DLP. Both mix the three primary colors of red, green and blue to create a fuller spectrum of color. The DLP technology displays the colors sequentially as they rotate on a color wheel whereas the 3LCD technology blends the colors and displays them simultaneously resulting in a brighter, more vibrant projected image. The Color Brightness measure of projectors using the 3LCD technology is therefore typically much higher.
Many manufacturers now publish specifications for both White Brightness and Color Brightness. When comparing projectors, a buyer should consider the Color Brightness in order to get a better idea of how true to color and vibrant projected images will be. The difference can be dramatic with some projectors having lumens of 4,000 or 5,000 while having Color Brightness of only 800 or 900. This can have an impact on presentations in that certain colors may not even appear such as a bar on a bar chart that can be missing completely and images will lose vibrancy so that skin tones can look pallid and lose detail. The Color Brightness of a projector should be comparable if not equal to the White Brightness to ensure that projected images are the most representative of the intended display.