Battle of the Resolutions: SVGA vs. XGA Projectors


With newer XGA projectors on the market offering high resolutions of up to 1,024 x 768, why should schools still consider purchasing a lower resolution SVGA projector (with a maximum resolution of only 800 x 600).

There are, in fact, some very good reasons for picking a lower resolution SVGA projector over an XGA one. The biggest reason is price, with XGA projectors costing up to $400 more than a comparable SVGA projector. But, even with budget constraints aside, SVGA projectors are still better suited for education. This is because much of a projector's educational use is to display large images and text used in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, which are particularly well suited for display at a lower resolution. It is, however, important to note courses that display a lot of windows on the screen, such as a programming course, would be better off with a higher resolution XGA projector.

Another reason for considering an SVGA projector is that a higher resolution projector can actually make some images harder to see. When both SVGA and XGA projectors are used to project the same-sized image on a screen, the XGA projector must show more pixels in the same overall space, so each pixel gets less space than it d'es with an SVGA projector. Since images are made up of a fixed number of pixels, those pixels will have less space devoted to them when displayed by a higher resolution projector. Finally, educators must remember that higher resolution projectors are not any better at showing video images. This is because composite video requires, at most, 500 lines of resolution, while the SVGA projector delivers 600 lines. So, an SVGA projector will show a video image as well as an XGA projector with its 768 lines. HDTV even looks just as good on SVGA as it d'es on XGA.

- R. Richardson

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.