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A novel design methodology for LED-array-based projection displays has been developed. By combining etendue limitation, system intensity, and efficiency requirements, a novel parameter space is proposed. Using this parameter space, LED lens-array and compound parabolic concentrator (CPC)-array illumination systems have been designed. A 1000-lm LED light source is built. Based on these lens-array and CPC-array illuminators, several LED-based liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) projection systems are suggested. Among them, a one-panel LCOS projection system is proposed and tested. The method discussed here should be useful in the design of LED-array illumination systems for projectors in general.