DLP versus LCD

Which One Is Better?
(Originally Printed 8/26 In Our Free Newsletter.  Sign-Up Today!)


DLP vs LCDDLP or LCD? Which is the better technology and which is the right choice for your TV? Those are the questions on many people’s minds as they think about updating or upgrading from their current television.

Before we look at the differences, let’s take a look at what the two technologies have in common. First, both DLP and LCD are true digital technologies where images are produced by pixels (one million for a 720p and two million for a 1080p) changing states from all open to partially open to closed. The amount of light let through (or reflected) affects the colors eventually seen on the screen. Also, both technologies are essentially lit from behind the screen (backlit) unlike plasma which has actively lit pixels. DLP and LCD TVs accept many different types of signals including Digital TV, Analog TV, Standard and High Definition Discs, and in many cases, PC/Mac.

DLPSo now that we know what they have in common, in what ways do they differ? Well, the way that they create an image is quite a bit different. DLP technology is reflective at its core with a light source shining on the DLP chip which creates a grayscale image to which color is added. Because they are reflective, DLP TV sets require more depth than an LCD TV. Although they are still very slim compared to TVs in the 20th century. One of the biggest advantages of this reflective system is that the image can be scaled to make almost any imaginable size TV. And in fact, DLP TVs are currently made in sizes from 60” up to 82”.

LCDLCD TV panels are a transmissive technology made up of pixels each comprised of a red, a green, and a blue cell. Each cell operates basically like a light valve allowing more or less light through the cells to create color combinations. The advantage of this transmissive technology is that it allows TVs to be manufactured which are thinner than DLP TVs easily lending them to wall mounting. One of the main drawbacks is that the LCD panels themselves are the pixels so they are not easily scalable. LCD TVs are typically 55” or less. So TV size is one of the largest differentiating factors between DLP and LCD.

Beside size, what are the main performance differences between DLP and LCD? You may have heard the term “Black Level” before. This is a measurement of how close to a perfect black a display can get. The closer a TV can get to a perfect black, the more vibrant and dynamic colors will be. The combination of a superior black level and DLP’s BrilliantColor™ technology which addresses six colors versus LCD’s three, generally gives DLP the advantage in color reproduction. Manufacturers are beginning to use LEDs as a light source for better LCD TVs to improve color performance. DLP also offers much faster video performance allowing it to avoid most of the motion blur issues that often affect LCDs with fast moving video content. Better LCD TVs increase refresh rate to help combat this blur.

Now that you know the similarities and differences between these two technologies, which is the right one for you? First, ask yourself how large a TV you are looking for. In terms of practical size limits, typically for a 60” TV you would not want to be closer than 8’. 9’ for a 65”. 10’ for a 73”. Etc. If you are looking for 65” or larger, think DLP. Second, ask yourself do you want to wall-mount your TV. If the answer is yes, think LCD. And what about plasma, you are wondering? We’ll save that for another time.

Article written by Matt Barber © 2009 Premier Electronic Solutions