TI DLP® technology - frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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 is comprised of a standard memory cell on top of which is mounted a rectangular array of up to a million hinged, microscopic mirrors.

In a DLP projection system, 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 10,000 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 colors 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 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 colors.

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 optimized. DLP Cinema technology is designed to deliver images that exceed the picture quality of 35mm film and meet the DCI specifications for security. DLP technology, used in projectors also delivers outstanding video and graphic images for home entertainment and business presentations exceeding typical image quality created by other technologies.

What other applications are enabled by DLP technology?

DLP technology is best known for award-winning DLP Cinema and innovations in classroom projection display such as 3D and interactive projection, but the incredibly flexible technology is finding its way into a variety of non-traditional display applications as well. Developers are using the DLP chip to solve real world problems for industrial, security, medical and even automotive applications that require built in intelligence.

What size image can DLP technology display?

DLP technology can enable the world's smallest hand-held mobile projectors weighing under 8 ounces and light up the largest movie screens up to 100 feet. Engineers have begun medical research to inset DLP technology into the human eye as a retina replacement; there is no stopping where DLP technology will go next!

How's the color quality in DLP technology?

DLP products are the industry standard for all post production cinematic color calibration work due to the color spectrum produced by DLP technology. In February 2010, DLP Products received the 2009 Academy® Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) for color accuracy for DLP Cinema projectors.

What light source is used with DLP technology?

DLP technology is light source agnostic and can support a broad range of light sources, including LED, laser, UHP, and xenon, depending on the application need. DLP technology can also support a wide spectrum of wavelengths from ultraviolet (365 nm wavelength) to near infrared (2500 nm); in some cases, DLP chips are designed for a specific wavelength.

Where can I learn more about developing applications using DLP technology?

Learn about DLP chipsets and development tools to bring your DLP product idea to life on our Development Tools page.

How do I implement DLP SmartSource 3D projection technology in my classroom?

For multiple resources on getting started with DLP SmartSource 3D projection display in your classroom, visit the DLP education section.

Who invented DLP technology?

DLP technology was invented by Dr. Larry Hornbeck of Texas Instruments in 1987.

What is TI Designs?

TI Designs are TI's free reference design library that jump start system design and speed time to market. Comprehensive designs include schematics or block diagrams, bill of materials, design files and test reports. These designs support a broad range of applications including industrial, automotive, consumer, medical and more.

How is DLP technology used in 3D printing?

The differentiated DLP technology uses a stereo lithography technique, popular today in high-speed and accurate 3D printing. Using our DLP LightCrafter™ 4500 evaluation module, we are able to accurately expose object layers to enable quality prints.