At our church we have an older 4:3 projector we'd like to upgrade. Funding does not currently allow us to go with a 16:9 screen, but we don't want to be stuck with a 4:3-only projector if we're going to be going widescreen in the next 2-3 years.

So I thought we might get a 16:9 projector now, use it to project our existing 4:3 song slides (1024x768), then upgrade the screen in the future and do full 16:9 projecting.

However I'm unsure what the video quality will be.

  • Can 16:9 projectors project in 4:3 at the same quality that a native 4:3 projector would? (I know that computer monitors have their native resolutions, and anything else looks fuzzy. Not sure if the same is true of projectors)

  • If a 16:9 projector is filling a 4:3 screen with a 4:3 projected image, will the lamp show faint bars going off the sides of the screen? (i.e. does it project several black pillarboxes on the side?)

2 Answers 2


our existing 4:3 song slides (1024x768)

The real resolution of a slide depends on the program and file format they are in. If the slides are in PowerPoint or similar, they have no native resolution, they have a proportion.

If they are JPG files or a video, yes, you are stuck with the resolution.

A projector has indeed a native resolution, if it is a 16:9 of good quality it could be full HD 1920x1080 or simply HD 1280x720px, in some cases 1366x768px.

A JPG of 1024x768 will be resampled but I really doubt this would be an issue. In any case it is better to store the slides as a real slide, and not as a "photo".

Regarding if a projector will "projet bars" depends on the model and on the graphics card of the computer sending the data. Most likely the computer will also send a 16:9 signal, and the bars will be given by the application, not by either the computer or the projector.

But if your computer sends an old SD signal, the projector might squish or squash the image.

  1. This depends on the projector you want to get. You can simply take the height-resolution, in the best case, you should get a projector with 768 pixels in the height, but I don't think that this exists. The fuzzyness is the same on a screen as it is on a projector. But you could simply up/down scale the image so the pixel fits.

  2. This also depends on your projector. Most cheaper projector don't have a true black or are even near to it, so you will get light at the sides, but this shouldn't be too bad

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