Texas Instruments' DLP technology

How does DLP® technology work?

The semiconductor that changed everythingDLP logo Texas Instruments

At the heart of every DLP® projection system is an optical semiconductor, known as the DLP® chip. It was invented by Dr. Larry Hornbeck of Texas Instruments in 1987.

The DLP® chip is probably the world's most sophisticated light switch. It contains a rectangular array of up to 2 million hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors. Each of these micromirrors measures less than one-fifth the width of a human hair.

When a DLP® chip is coordinated with a digital video or graphic signal, a light source, and a projection lens, its mirrors can reflect a digital image onto a screen or other surface. The DLP® chip and the sophisticated electronics that surround it form what's called DLP® technology.

The grayscale image

A DLP® chip's micromirrors are mounted on tiny hinges that enable them to tilt either towards the light source in a DLP® projection system (ON) or away from it (OFF) - creating a light or dark pixel on the projection surface.

The bit-streamed image code entering the semiconductor directs each mirror to switch on and off up to several thousand times per second. When a mirror is switched on more frequently than off, it reflects a light gray pixel; a mirror that's switched off more frequently reflects a darker gray pixel.

In this way, the mirrors in a DLP® projection system can reflect pixels up to 1,024 shades of gray to convert the video or graphic signal entering the DLP® chip into a highly detailed grayscale image.

Adding colorThree-chip DLP projection

The white light generated by the lamp in a DLP® projection system passes through a color wheel as it travels to the surface of the DLP® chip. The color wheel filters the light into red, green, and blue, from which a single-chip DLP® projection system can create at least 16.7 million colors. And the three-chip system found in DLP Cinema® projection systems is capable of producing no fewer than 35 trillion colors.

The on and off states of each micromirror are coordinated with these three basic building blocks of color. For example, a mirror responsible for projecting a purple pixel will only reflect red and blue light to the projection surface. Our eyes then blend these rapidly alternating flashes to see the intended hue in a projected image.

Digital cinema: three-chip DLP® projection system

DLP® technology-enabled projectors for very high image quality or very high brightness applications such as cinema and large venue displays rely on a three-chip configuration to produce stunning images, whether moving or still.

In a three-chip system, the white light generated by the lamp passes through a prism that divides it into red, green and blue. Each DLP® chip is dedicated to one of these three colors; the colored light that the micromirrors reflect is then combined and passed through the projection lens to form an image.

Why choose for DLP projection?

Razor-sharp pictures

Video and graphics produced by DLP® technology are sharper because the DLP® chip minimizes the gaps between pixels in an image. Spaced less than one micron apart, its mirrors create a smooth film-like image.

Lifelike images

DLP® technology delivers crystal clear, razor-sharp and lifelike images for ultimate picture quality. DLP® technology is capable of extremely high contrast ratios (up to 12,000:1), providing a stunning viewing experience - crisper whites, ultra-rich blacks and images that "pop" on-screen. Pictures generated by DLP® technology are real and seamless.

100% digital DLP® chip

The DLP® chip is reflective and 100% digital. The all-digital chip, with its millions of microscopic mirrors, delivers a precise, lifelike image with vibrant colors.

Ideal for alternative content

The ultra-fast DLP® chip has an unparalleled 16 microsecond pixel response time. Digital cinema projectors powered by DLP® chips deliver a precise and razor-sharp picture, making it ideal for projecting non-feature content such as operas, live sports, music concerts and even mass game-playing events.