DLP Technology FAQs
( Frequently Asked Questions )
Selecting a home cinema projector can seem like a daunting task and there is more to consider than just “How much does it cost?” With all the options and features available today, here are a few things to consider when selecting a projector to get the maximum value for your home cinema.
What is DLP technology?
DLP technology uses an all digital chip to project and display images. Invented by Texas Instruments, DLP technology is based on an optical semiconductor called the DLP chip.
How does DLP technology work?
DLP technology is based on the DLP chip which comprises a standard memory cell on top of which is mounted a rectangular array of up to a million hinged, microscopic mirrors.
In a DLP front projection system or HDTV, red, green and blue light is shone alternately onto the mirrors, which switch on and off in response to a video or graphics signal being fed into the underlying memory chip. The mirrors can switch at a rate of up to 5,000 times per second; the light they reflect is directed through a lens and onto the screen, creating an image.
In projectors for high brightness applications, three DLP chips are used – one each for green, red and blue. Light from the lamp is split by a prism into these three colours and directed towards the appropriate DLP chip. The image is then created by recombining these reflections from the corresponding pixel on each DLP chip.
What is DLP technology used for?
DLP technology is used in a range of projection and display applications, including:
- High definition televisions (HDTVs) (720p and 1080p resolution)
- Multimedia and data projectors used to deliver marketing, sales and training presentations
- Home cinema or entertainment projectors, where it is used for showing films, viewing HDTV programs on a large screen, playing video games, viewing digital still camera pictures, surfing the net, etc.
- Pico or pocket projectors that are incredibly small and mobile
- Video walls such as those found in the command and control centres used by telecommunications and utility companies
- Commercial entertainment applications such as concerts, corporate launch events, award ceremonies and casinos
- A wide range of other applications that demand the ability to quickly, easily and accurately modulate light
A version of DLP technology known as DLP Cinema technology is being used to replace celluloid-based projectors in cinemas around the world.
What are the advantages of DLP technology?
DLP technology enables business projectors, home cinema systems, high definition televisions and large venue projectors to deliver an incredibly clear and sharp image.
Because it's a digital technology, the performance of a DLP projection system remains consistently outstanding throughout the life of the projector, bringing exceptional reliability to the display electronics you use every day.
And because DLP technology is semiconductor based, its lightweight nature enables manufacturers to develop products that are smaller, lighter and more elegant than is possible with alternative technologies. Portable projectors featuring DLP technology can currently deliver an output of 2,000 lumens or more with a total weight of as little as two pounds. And the new generation of wide screen HDTVs featuring DLP technology are as shallow as 10 inches.
What is the difference between DLP® technology and DLP Cinema® technology?
DLP Cinema technology is derived from DLP technology, using the same Digital Micromirror Device semiconductor. While the typical DLP subsystem uses one chip, a DLP Cinema projection system uses three to deliver images of incredible clarity and a range of up to 35 trillion colours.
Both DLP Cinema and DLP technology are digitally precise; both can reproduce fast-moving images because of their rapid pixel-switching capabilities; and both use reflected light to deliver stunningly clear and sharp images.
The differences between the two technologies lie primarily in the way they are optimised. DLP Cinema technology is designed to deliver images that exceed the picture quality of film so that the film-going experience could be dramatically enhanced. DLP technology, used in projectors and HDTVs, also delivers outstanding video and graphic images for home entertainment and business presentations exceeding typical image quality created by other technologies.
What are the alternatives to DLP technology?
The main display technologies in use today for projection and display applications are:
- LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) – historically used in business projectors
- CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) – at the heart of most TVs and computer monitors
- LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) – emerging but unproven reflective version of LCD
- PDP (Plasma Display Panel) – used to create 'flat', wall-mounted displays
Who invented DLP technology?
DLP technology was invented by Dr. Larry Hornbeck of Texas Instruments in 1987.
Why has DLP technology become so popular?
The success of DLP technology can be gauged by several key indicators. First, virtually every manufacturer of projectors—whether for business, commercial, or home use—now features DLP technology in their product line-up. Secondly, more than 10 million DLP projection systems have been shipped to more than 70 manufacturers since early 1996. Moreover, DLP technology and the products featuring it have been consistent award winners winning two Emmy Awards for engineering excellence.