16 April 2013 by Shifali Rao
Contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest black and the brightest white your projector displays so larger ratios give better picture detail.
However, we recommend you to make this a less important criteria for comparing two projectors since manufacturers use various methods in their calculation, which are as good as comparing apples to oranges. So if you see a 500:1 on projector A and 5000: 1 on projector B, it doesn't necessarily mean B has greater contrast than A.
Currently, there's two very different standards used to calculate projector contrast ratios:Full on/Full off and ANSI contrast ratios. ANSI ratios are calculated with a checkerboard with 16 rectangles, 8 of which are black and 8 of which are white. The average light output of the 8 white checks against the average light output of the 8 black ones gives you the ANSI contrast ratio. This is much more reliable than any other standard since it also takes into account the ambient light which would be present in a realistic environment.
Another thing about contrast ratios is that even the difference between 500:1 and 5000:1 is not discernible in brightly lit rooms, so higher contrast ratios are only recommended if you want home cinema and are able to shut out all ambient light during the screening. Otherwise you're just spending a whole lot more for nothing.
This selection of the best projectors is narrowed down to the top rated models which have contrast ratios of 5000:1. A contrast ratio this high is great for home cinema and movie lovers who care to shut out any ambient light in the room and experience the effect superior picture quality and excellent picture detail.