DLP or LCoS?

I have reviewed a lot of TVs and I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the different technologies available so when I heard we were getting an LCoS rear projection TV in to review, I got very excited.

This is our first LCoS TV and after the barrage of DLP TVs and Projectors that we have had recently I was looking forward to checking out LCoS, reportedly better than DLP in many ways.

Before I continue it is probably good just to do a quick run down of DLP and LCoS just so you can get an idea of what I'm on about.

DLP technology is reflective which means that the light source is reflected off the DLP chip which creates the image. All DLP chips create greyscale images which are then coloured by a spinning colour wheel. DLP has the richest blacks of any technology but the colour wheel hampers the technology as the oscillating colours can be detected by some people, which is known as Rainbow Effect and it can cause serious strain on the eyes. This is the biggest flaw of DLP technology and unfortunately, one that I am rather susceptible to.

LCoS on the other hand does not use a colour wheel. It uses a prism which splits the light into three beams which are then coloured by the LCoS chip. The three coloured beams are then combined into one stream by another prism and then sent through the lens at the screen. This produces an extremely high resolution image with very few flaws. The only downfall to this technology is that it has problems generating black.

The TV we got in this week to review is puzzling to say the least. It is an LCoS TV but it also has rainbow effect. Rainbow effect is not possible on and LCoS TV, or so we thought.

Texas Instruments owns DLP technology. If you use it, you have to pay them a large sum of money. LCoS on the other hand, can be used without this expense. The problem is, in order to have a single chip LCoS machine, chip has to work very hard to keep up with the image and up until now that has never been possible. The Studio Experience 42" LCoS TV is a single chip LCoS rear projection TV. It seems that the people at Uneed Systems have worked out how to make single chip LCoS systems with a very similar housing to DLP technology but by replacing the DLP chip with an LCoS one.

The result is a new technology that is puzzling to say the least. Apart from the financial benefits of using this, we can't see any other reason to move this technology in this direction. The biggest advantage of LCoS was the smooth images with no rainbow effect. This is now gone. The smooth image is still there but the rainbow is horrible.

I will have a full review of the Studio Experience TV up in the next few days but until then, I just wanted to share my thoughts on this technology, something which seems a little pointless but is exciting because of its very nature. For now, the thing that you should come away with is that single chip LCoS technology does exist. Whether it is any good, remains to be seen. I've included an image pulled from the Uneed Systems website of their single chip LCoS system - fascinating stuff.

The LCoS Array
The LCoS Array

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Dave Jansen

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