DLP Projection Technology
In DLP projectors the quality of the DLP chip has a massive effect on the overall image quality the projector can produce.Unlike resolution (which is pretty easy to measure and for end users to understand) people need a better understanding DLP technology, so knowing what to look in the DLP chipset is a good first step in understanding the technology and making it easier to choose a decent quality home theaterprojector.
"DLP projectors work by shining a light source through a spinning colour wheel towards a tiny chip with millions of microscopic mirrors. The quality and size of this chip play a large role in the overall image quality of the projector. "
A closeup image of a DLP chip
What is Dark Chip?
Texas Instruments invented the DLP chip and market them as a “Dark Chip”.
The first generation Dark Chip (now called a DC-1) set the ball rolling in the “affordable” home theaterprojector market. In many respects it was completely revolutionary for it's time and offered class leading contrast ratio and accuracy (for the price).
An example of the mosquito net effect The lines between individual mirrors
Dark Chip vs.Dark Chip 2?
DC-2 was a massive step forward in image quality and a revelation in it's time. An obvious improvement, even to the “average consumer” over the DC-1, with much smaller gap between the tiny mirrors and a significantly reduced mirror anchor point.
The pixel structure of the image became much smoother and more "film -like".With greater overall image fill, the DC-2 gave greater image depth and with the “dimpling” effect significantly reduced, the image was much sharper.
The Dark Chip 2 is a very credible bench mark of quality for a modest priced projector.
Dark Chip 2 to Dark Chip 3?
Things were refined even further with the Dark Chip 3. By making the mirrors themselves much closer together, and virtually eliminating any effect from the mirror anchor, the DC-3 now offers a significant improvement in the smoothness of the image. Gone is any “screen door effect” and the image is crisp, smooth and effortlessly life like.
With the Dark Chip 3 we have seen the technology of DLP mature and deliver what the inventors always implied the technology was capable of.
Dark Chip 3 is so good, that often the other parts of the projector become the weak point in the design. The DC-3 is often reserved by manufacturers for use in their best projectors.
The DC3 is pretty much the reference for very good picture quality in consumer grade projectors.
Some of the nicer projectors that we sell utilise this DC-3 chip include:
Dark Chip 4
Yes – the best can get better.The Dark Chip 4 is even further refined, with subtle improvements to what is considered to be perfect (the DC-3).
By darkening the actual chip and teaming it up with reference quality lamps, optics and video engines, projector manufactures can achieve up to 30% higher contrast levels.
These chips are obviously only ever seen in some of the most expensive projectors on the market, but if you want the best, check out projector options from the Italian Manufacturer Sim2