Home Theater Review


Digital Light Processing (DLP)


Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology is a video technology owned, promoted and trademarked by Texas Instruments for video playback. DLP technology is used in rear-projection HDTVs, as well as front projector units. There are designs that use multiple DLP chips to add additional resolution to the video image on the high end of front projectors.

How DLP Works
DLP technology uses micro-mirrors the way an LCD use pixels to reflect color and light onto a screen. The resolution of the DLP HDTV is directly related to the number of mirrors that can have light reflected from them. Through movement of the mirrors, the DLP device and create colors and shades of gray that make up a video image. Many video enthusiasts and video calibrators say DLP technology makes the best, deepest blacks for HDTV use.


There are two main "flavors" of DLP:

1-chip DLP
1-chip (one chip) DLP projectors are the entry level of front projection technology using Texas Instrument's Digital Light Projection system. One-chip DLP projectors use a color wheel to create color. 1-chip DLP projectors are generally not as bright as 3-chip designs.

3-chip DLP
3-chip (three-chip) DLP projectors are at the highest level of Texas Instrument's video front projector video technology. Each chip is dedicated to the three primary colors (red, green and blue), providing much more projector power than in a one-chip unit.

While prices of digital projectors have become amazingly affordable in recent years, the additional cost for three-chip DLP projectors is generally justified by their ability to create a bright image on much larger screen sizes than 1-chip DLPs.

All DLP chips are made by Texas Instruments. Projectors based on the technology are made by Digital Projection, projectiondesign, Sharp, Optoma, and others.

Read our reviews for the Digital Projection M-Vision Cine 230 projector, the Digital Projection M-Vision Cine LED series, and the Optoma HD8600 projector.