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A Bit of History

Texas Instruments engineer Dr Larry Hornbeck was the primary inventor of the Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD). Further development of it from 1987 through to 1993 brought it to its present state as the Digital Light Processing (DLP) chipset designed for what is more commonly known as the Rear Projection Television or DLP TV. Currently, the world's largest manufacturer of DLP Rear Projection TV's is Mitsubishi Electric who among other things are specialists in the field of big screen TV's.

How Do DLP TV's Work

A Rear Projection TV uses an array of over a million microscopic mirrors (DMD's) that specifically measure 0.02 of a millimetre in width. The DMD's are individually hinged and controlled by a spatial light modulator and optical semiconductors. When the Digital Light Processing chipset receives a digital video or graphic input signal it converts it into a black and white video light signal. The light signal then passes through the projection lens, is amplified through the projection lamp and then filtered with color through the synchronized rotating color wheel. Images are projected up onto the rear side of the screen which is viewed in reverse from the outside.

Advantages and Disadvantages of DLP TV's

DLP Rear Projection Televisions do have a fairly loyal customer base with most who would say are an excellent TV. Considering the picture quality, picture clarity, picture sharpness, refresh rate and screen size to price ratio many would agree. But the DLP's through their time have not been without drawbacks which have unfortunately left an indelible mark of criticism among its peers forcing it to seemingly lose its rank among the shelves of many TV and electronic stores worldwide.

Some of those drawbacks are:

  • Having to replace a dimming or blown projection lamp every few years is probably one of its biggest knock backs. However, it is a projection TV and their bulbs now burn out just like any other video projector bulb.
  • Another thing that dissuades the average would be punter from becoming a fully fledged follower is the airy glow that the DLP's have with the constant illumination of the projection lamp inside the chassis housing of the DLP TV. This problem is similar to that of the backlight used in traditional LCD backlit TV's. It produces a lower contrast ratio where the black colors in darkened scenes are not true blacks but rather very dark bluish purple shades.
  • Then there's their physical bulkiness which is mostly attributed to them being the only TV of its kind to have mechanically moving parts in them requiring an appropriate size chassis base to house it. While they are reliably light weight compared to a Plasma or LCD TV of similar screen size, they do occupy a fairly large chunk of floor space.

Value for Money

On price, a new 73 inch Mitsubishi 1080p 3D ready DLP HD TV goes for just over $ 1,200. Whereas, an LG 60-inch 1080p Plasma HDTV is priced at $ 1,300 +. Put that alongside a Samsung 60-inch 1080p LCD / LED HDTV and that will set you back just a few dollars short of $ 2,500, which is over double the price of the DLP TV yet smaller in screen size. Mitsubishi's range of Rear projection TV's generally come in 65-inch, 73-inch and 82-inch screen sizes, and they will not break the bank either. But before you rush out the door and buy a DLP TV you should consider the costs of maintaining one. Replacing the projection lamp 2 or 3 times over the life of a new Rear Projection TV can mount up to well over a few hundred dollars. Of course, the lifespan of the projection lamp is also dependent on what settings the TV is configured to with regard to 'brightness', 'color saturation' and 'contrast' as well as how long and how often you use it on a daily basis . In essence, the key to a longer repeating projection lamp is "all settings in moderation".

Some final words of advice if you're considering buying a DLP Rear Projection television would be to read up on them, get one second opinion and go and see one for yourself to check it out and then make your own mind up. If however, you're already familiar with Mitsubishi's DLP technology and do not mind putting up with its little quirks then you might be interested and guided to know about the LASER TV. A new generation of completely revamped and upgraded DLP TV's which utilizes LASER technology as its primary light source resulting in unparallel picture quality in the big screen class of HD TV's.

As quoted by Gizmodo.com in reference to the LASER TV: "Better than the best TV on Earth." Click Here to find out more. Thanks for reading.

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1 Comment
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