Now that LCD and plasma displays have taken over, you may have noticed, most rear projection TVs are no longer around. That is except for DLP. Yes, I know, DLP technology is used on both rear projection displays and well as front projectors, but in this article, I am primarily going to discuss rear projection TVs, aka "microdisplays" (for detailed info on front projectors, see projectors).
How it works:
A DLP projection TV is controlled by a chip called a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) which has hundreds of thousands of hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors (one for each pixel). When the chip receives an image, the mirrors tilt either toward or away from the light source inside the DLP, creating light and dark pixels. In doing so, a grayscale version of the image is created, with up to 1,024 shades of grey. This process happens very rapidly to in a video. To create color, the light source passes through a color filter before it reaches the chip's surface.
Mitsubishi DLP WD-73837
Smooth Picture, Great Color
The image created by a DLP is basically just reflected light, so they produce a significantly smoother image compared to LCDs, as well as more accurate colors.
Big Size for Small Price
If you're looking for the most screen for the money, DLP is the way to go. For example, Sony's 60" LCD model KDL-60NX800 retails for $3499.99, compared to Mitsubishi's 73" DLP model WD-73737 can be purchased for $1999.99. 13" more for $1000 less? Not bad, not bad at all.
DLPs may look a little bulky, but they are actually quite light. No more than two people are needed for placing a 60" DLP set on a TV stand.
The lamps on a DLP are easily replaceable, which gives them an incredibly long lifespan, especially compared to the old CRT rear projection models.
Poor Viewing Angle
The DLP technology has greatly improved the horizontal viewing angle on rear projection TVs, but they still suffer from poor vertical viewing angles. As you move farther away from eye level with the screen, its picture gets more and more difficult to see. If you're looking to purchase a DLP, be sure to take the height of your TV stand into consideration.
As discussed earlier, DLPs depend on a color wheel to add color to a grayscale image. For some, this process causes "rainbows" to appear. This effect may or may not appear for your eyes, so be sure to give DLPs a try in your local electronics shop before making a purchase.
Slimmer, but Still Thick
DLPs, while much thinner than CRT projection displays, are still quite thick compared to plasma and LCDs. This, combined with their awkward shape rules out any possibility of wall-mounting a DLP.
Long-lasting, but Costly to Maintain
A DLP's lamp may be quite easy to replace, but it's definitely not cheap. For a typical DLP, expect to spend about $300 on a lamp, labor not included. With these costly expenses, its important to decide how long you actually plan to keep the TV before getting a replacement.
DLP may not compare to some of the upper-end LCD and Plasma models, but if you're looking for a really big screen for a cheap price, DLP is the way to go. Also, if you have limited space or are looking for a wall-mountable unit, you'll have to go another route.