The Development of Digital Projection - From CRT to Modern Laser TV Projectors

The Development of Digital Projection - From CRT to Modern Laser TV Projectors

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Digital projection technology has undergone a remarkable development in recent decades. From the bulky CRT projectors of the early days to the sleek and advanced laser TV projectors we use today, the evolution of digital projection is a testament to rapid technological progress. This article looks at the history of digital projection and highlights the key milestones from the early days of CRT projectors to the state-of-the-art RGB Laser TV projectors of today.


1.The beginnings of digital projection - CRT projectors
Introduction of CRT technology

Cathode ray tube (CRT) projectors were the first form of digital projectors and appeared in the middle of the 20th century. CRT technology was based on three separate cathode ray tubes, each corresponding to one of the primary colors red, green and blue. These tubes projected the image onto a screen by combining their outputs to create a full-color image.

Features and limitations

CRT projectors were known for their excellent black levels and high resolution. However, they were also very bulky and heavy and required a dedicated room for installation. The complexity of setup and calibration as well as the high maintenance costs limited their use to professional environments or dedicated home cinema rooms.

Decline of CRT projectors

In the late 1990s, CRT projectors began to decline in popularity. Advances in other projection technologies and the demand for more compact and user-friendly solutions paved the way for their eventual replacement. One of the iconic CRT models was the expensive Sony VPH-G90, a 110Kg projector with a brightness of 350 lumens and resolution of 2500X2000.


2.The triumph of LCD projectors - Epson leads the way

In 1989, Epson introduced the world's first LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) projector, revolutionizing the industry. The Epson VPJ-700 was a groundbreaking product that used three small passthrough LCD panels, one for each primary color, to project images.

This innovation marked a significant departure from bulky CRT projectors.

Advantages of LCD technology

LCD projectors offered several advantages over CRT projectors. They were smaller, lighter and easier to set up and maintain. The image quality was also impressive, with bright and vivid colors that made them suitable for a variety of applications, from business presentations to home entertainment.  The only concern was the low resolution of maximum 1024X768 on first generation LCD projectors.

Market expansion and competition

The success of Epson's LCD projectors spurred other manufacturers to enter the market. Brands such as Sony, Sanyo and NEC quickly developed their own LCD projectors, leading to a rapid improvement in the technology and a drop in prices. By the early 2000s, LCD projectors had become the standard for professional and home use.


3.The advent of DLP projectors
Introduction of DLP technology

Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology was introduced by Texas Instruments in 1987, but it wasn't until the late 1990s that DLP projectors became commercially viable. DLP projectors use a digital micromirror device (DMD) to reflect light through a color wheel to produce images with high contrast and excellent color accuracy. Infocus was one of the first brand that started to use the DLP technology on their consumer projectors.

The iconic first home cinema projector - Infocus X1

Advantages and applications

DLP projectors quickly became popular due to their compact size, high reliability and excellent image quality. They're particularly popular in home theaters and as portable business projectors. The ability to produce deep blacks, excellent ANSI contrast (the basic weakness of CRT and LCD projectors) and vibrant colors made them a favorite among movie lovers.  

Continuous development

The continuous development of DLP technology has led to the development of 4K DLP projectors, which offer ultra-high resolution and improved image quality. These projectors are now used in both the professional and consumer sectors. Behind the DLP 4K resolution is the Texas Instruments XPR technology where a special mechanism is moving fast the image diagonal and multiply the final pixels on the screen.


4.The emergence of Laser projectors
Introduction of Laser projection technology

Laser projection technology is a huge step in the development of digital projectors. Laser projectors use lasers diodes as a light source, which offers several advantages over conventional lamp-based projectors. The first laser projectors came onto the market in the mid-2010s and the brand that developed and made the laser sourced projectors famous on the public was the Casio.

The first Laser-Led hybrid projector from Casio - XJ-A250

Leading brands and innovations

Casio was the first brand believed in laser technology developed the first Laser-Led projector back in 2010, but brands such as Epson and Sony have played also a pioneering role in the development of laser projectors. Epson's LS10000, launched in 2014, was one of the first laser projectors for home theater, offering 4K enhancement and a high contrast ratio. Sony's VPL-VW5000ES, launched in 2016, brought true 4K resolution and HDR compatibility to the market.

Advantages of laser projectors

Brightness: Laser projectors can achieve a much higher brightness than lamp-based projectors and are therefore suitable for large venues and outdoor use.

Longevity: The lifespan of laser light sources is much longer than that of conventional lamps, often exceeding 20,000 operating hours.

Color accuracy: Lasers can produce a wider color gamut, resulting in more accurate and vibrant colors. Also there is no color “drift” throw time like the lamp-based projectors.

Instant on and off: Unlike lamp-based projectors, which require warm-up and cool-down periods, laser projectors can be turned on and off instantly.


5.The future of digital projection - Laser TV projectors
The rise of RGB Laser TV projectors

Laser TV projectors have turned the world of video projection on its head. With this new generation of projectors, the gap between televisions and projectors in terms of practicality has narrowed dramatically, while losing none of the magic of the big cinema reflective projection image. Equipped with the latest generation of RGB laser light sources that ensure an even wider color palette than the standards (BT.2020) and unparalleled brightness, this new generation of projectors enchants not only home cinema enthusiasts, but others as well.

The ability to place them just a few centimeters away from the projection surface makes them incredibly easy to install even in very small rooms, and their combination with special CLR screens, which reject up to 90% of ambient light, transforms them into a variable size TV with an incredibly reflective UHD image. They support all the latest standards such as Dolby Vision and HDR10+ and can deliver a picture that was beyond the dreams of big picture enthusiasts just a few years ago.

One of the best RGB Laser TV projectors for 2024 - AWOL Vision LTV-3500pro

With their incredible color performance and explosive brightness, projectors like the AWOL Vision LTV-3500pro take us into the future, a future that is here sooner than we imagined.



The evolution of digital projection technology from CRT giants to modern laser TV projectors reflects the relentless pace of innovation in the sector. Each technological leap, from CRT to LCD, from DLP to Laser TV, has led to significant improvements in picture quality, comfort and ease of use.

Today, Laser TV projectors are at the forefront of this evolution, offering unparalleled performance and versatility for both professional and home entertainment applications. As technology continues to advance, we can only expect further breakthroughs that will enhance our viewing experience even further.

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