The 10 Best Reasons to Avoid a DLP TV at All Costs, My Friend

Are you considering buying one of those chunky rear projection TVs using old DLP technology? Well friend, I hate to break it to you – but that would NOT be a wise purchase decision in 2023. Allow me, a veteran display analyst, to elaborate across 10 rock-solid reasons to avoid Digital Light Processing televisions at all cost from an expert perspective. I want to steer you toward better options so you avoid disappointment down the road!

A Quick Primer on DLP TVs

In short, DLP televisions utilize microscopic mirrors and spinning color wheels to indirectly project light onto the screen. This aging digital projection technique does NOT utilize modern direct LED backlights or self-illuminating OLED pixels common in flatscreens today.

While once considered affordable compared to plasma & LCDs back in the early 2000s heyday, limitations tied to DLP engines themselves have proven unavoidable. Allow me to summarize the history here before analyzing the drawbacks…

The Rise and Fall of DLP Projection Technology

The journey began in 1987 when Texas Instruments developed early DLP engines primarily for projectors. But by 1998, rear projection DLP televisions first entered the consumer space with promise of cinematic scale pictures at palatable prices.

For a period during the mid 2000s, they succeeded in that goal too! DLP contrast and color surpassed competing plasmas while undercutting costly LCDs, making names like Samsung, Mitsubishi, and Sony DLP-based TVs hot sellers for brighter viewing environments. Having reviewed many older models personally, I will admit their vibrancy impressed me back then.

However, around 2007 DLP‘s downsides became more evident. Larger screen LCD and plasma displays achieved equal or better pricing while trouncing DLP on movie and TV performance important to buyers. And incrementally each year, power efficiency and slimness took on new precedence as spaces shrank while energy costs swelled.

Within a few years, the writing was clearly on the wall. And by the early 2010‘s, DLP televisions all but vanished from mass retail shelves. Projection technology was dethroned by exponentially improving LED LCDs followed by OLEDs which have since taken performance crowns. Modern thin, energy-sipping panels with superior processors simply outclass bulky projection units today by significant degree across all domains.

Well, almost all domains. DLP DOES still claim faster response for gaming. But with new high refresh gaming monitors and TVs hitting the market all the time boasting wicked speeds approaching 0.1ms, even DLP‘s motion clarity advantage shrinks yearly. And thus concludes a brief eulogy for DLP. Let‘s move onto the meaty stuff now!

10 Objective Reasons Avoid Buying a DLP Television

I want to unequivocally state upfront here, friend: You should NOT purchase one of these DLP dinosaurs for a modern home theater in 2023 unless found for an absolute steal under $100. I cannot advise sinking decent money into aged DLP tech when far better contemporary options exist – it will prove a poor investment as this post will demonstrate. Consider the following tangible drawbacks:

1. Restricted Screen Size Flexibility

One enormous limitation of rear projection DLP TVs are finite screen dimension constraints tied to projection throw distances and optics geometry. Engineers cannot simply enlarge projection Pathways infinitely to scale up screen sizes like direct-view LCD/OLED panels allow. Currently, most DLP television sets peak around 65 inches diagonal at reasonable cost. Few specialty 70-80 inch commercial models exist pushing boundaries…and bulging depth to nearly 3 feet!

But contrast that to amazingly affordable 75 to 85-inch Class LED LCD and OLED televisions commonly available under $3,000 retail, with newer mini-LED technologies enabling staggering 98-inch screens under 5-digits. Plus next-gen self-emissive QD-OLED technology keeps pushing boundaries up to 97-inch options like Sony‘s dazzling A95K model – the future of TVs!

If you want true cinematic scale above 75" at home, DLP tubes impose unpractical room demands compared to several flat, wall-hangable giants in the LED & OLED space. You must also consider depth…

2. Cumbersome Cabinets Hog Room Space

Herein lies another central drawback of rear DLP projection – their sheer cabinet depth ballooning out 20-30 inches behind the screen to accommodate projection components. This steals substantial floor space that could be better utilized in smaller rooms. The slimmest DLP sets still protrude about 16".

But compare that against sleek modern OLED panels condensing all pixels into wafer-thin glass barely over 1" deep when wall mounted. Even full array LED LCDs like Samsung‘s QN90B or Sony‘s X95K have impressively thin profiles under 3" that enable simple deployment and concealment. Unless you live in a commercial space or dedicated theater with clearance, fat projection TVs cramp rooms.

3. Suboptimal Viewing Angles Distort Color & Contrast

Yet another spatial limitation of DLP rear projection lies with considerably narrowed viewing angles. Due to light projecting indirectly onto the screen, picture accuracy drops off a cliff if your eyes shift much off-center. Contrast fades severely while colors shift to objectionable degrees.

You realistically need to mount these centered and watch from directly front-and-center…perhaps 30° max side-angle before quality degradation gets distracting. This prevents comfortable viewing fromkitchens or off-angle seating arrangements. And screen glazing can worsen angles further.

But modern OLED and full array LCD televisions comfortably allow 60° side viewing with remarkably steady color before subtle shifts creep in. That enables better visibility for multiple simultaneous viewers around a room. Truly a big distinction!

4. Dim Images Lack Modern HDR Capabilities

And this brings us to DLP‘s most crippling shortcoming in my eyes: Miseral black level reproduction. That disadvantage stems largely from bright white light projection itself coupled with low static contrast ratios. Most DLP televisions hover around 3,000:1 native which pales against properly-implemented VA LED panels reaching 6,000:1 or self-emissive OLEDs scoring near infinity:1.

This directly leads DLP sets to rendering darker, atmospheric content with washed out greys or milky blacks rather than inky richness. Shadow detail suffers greatly. Bright scenes fare decently but anything dark plays flat and lifeless. This crushs depth, realism and atmosphere compared to modern standards.

Further, lacking self-emitting pixels, DLP engines fail integrating meaningful HDR capabilities to enhance luminance range and color volume. Their HDMI ports may "accept" HDR signals. But without advanced image processors and thousands of dimming zones to better sculpt backlight or brightness, high dynamic range content never displays as intended. DLP predates HDR. You may stream a DolbyVision film but tones appear dull, flat, dimensionless. Such a disservice to creators.

Ultimately brightness capped around ~150 nits and mediocre contrast leaves DLP sets appearing dim and dreary for darker film content. Their lackluster specs completely fail conveying impactful HDR.

5. Rainbow Artifacts & Motion Fringing Abound

You may have heard owners complain of "rainbowing" on DLP TVs before. This unique phenomena stems from the passing color wheel. As it spins round rapidly projecting red, green and blue light in sequence, fast repeating rainbow shadows and fringing can occur around bright objects in motion. The effect distracts terribly if you spot it due to the repetitive, unnatural flickering trails.

Some DLP sets utilize faster color wheels now than early generations, reducing rainbow frequency substantially when playing 24p film content. But the artifact still randomly appears when gaming or watching sports, news or other video with quicker motion. It remains an unavoidable side effect tied to color projection itself. Rainbows never plague direct-view LED or OLED televisions, period.

6. Short Lamp Lifespans Drain Hundreds in Replacement Costs

Here‘s an oft-overlooked gotcha when weighing present savings on used DLPs against modern televisions: Their expensive consumable light bulbs wearing out! Rear projection engines require intense xenon or LED lamps to shine brightly, albeit dropping half initial luminance around 3,000 hours depending on model. Suddenly the picture grows dim and projected colors shift.

To restore clarity, replacement bulbs cost $150 to $400 apiece…ouch! Some newer lamps may endure 5,000 hours now but still demand servicing eventually. Either way, That‘s added expense and downtime per bulb the typical flatscreen avoids outside rare defect. And with OEM lamps running $300-500 for major brand DLPs while cheaper knockoffs carry risk, costs add up over the set‘s lifespan.

After your television devours a couple bulbs costing ~$300 a pop, you may second guess the initial "value" of buying into short-lived projection. Death by a thousand lamps cuts. Modern panels power passively sans bulbs.

7. Antiquated FAKE 4K Looks Soft, Lacking True Resolution

If a retailer or seller boasts about some magical "4K upscaling" abilities on a DLP television, kindly laugh and walk away. That phony claim tries masking an unpleasant reality – practically all DLP projection engines max out at native 1920×1080 resolution. Yes, plain ol‘ basic 1080p…not even real 2K.

Their digital mirror devices lack adequate mirror counts to render genuine 4K clarity containing 8+ million pixels. While a few ultra-expensive Sony and JVC models crept into faux 4K territory barely exceeding 1080p counts, even those felt undeserving of labeling as "4K" next to actual 3840×2160 LED and OLED televisions. Heck, many newer TVs support 8K resolution now!

If you want the full detail of 4K UltraHD to appreciate next-gen gaming and media, no Brewer and mirrors masquerading as 4K will cut it. Don‘t buy the hype. Seek out legitimate LED and OLED panels.

8. they Devour Power Like Gluttonous Little Piglets!

Hoo boy, let‘s discuss another nasty drawback of big rear projection sets – their elephantine energy appetites! Between that perpetually burning bulb, color wheel motor, and big cooling fans, DLP television draw 2-3 times the power of efficient modern video panels for screen size. A 60" DLP easily approaches ~350 watts average use. Same dimensions in LED LCD chews ~150 watts.

That energy drain has financial and ecological implications with hundred dollars extra yearly utility costs compared to comparable flatscreens. Plus hundreds of pounds more CO2 emissions from outdated tech still foolishly operating on our fragile grid in 2023 spewing greenhouse gasses.

DLP television owners must ponder contributions toward climate crisis and rising energy bills each monthly. Both your wallet and mother nature urge ditching outdated display tech still guzzling unprecedented amounts of electricity relative to slender replacements.

9. No Innovating Left – DLP Reached Dead End of Potential

This penultimate point seals the deal for me personally recommending AGAINST Digital Light Processing televisions moving forward: Their total lack of technically headroom left to improve visual performance further in any appreciable way.

DLP by design poses immutable barriers to progressing key metrics like resolution, grayscale toning, refresh speeds, color range or contrast throwing in the towel against exponential LCD & OLED innovation. Each year new display technologies unlock previously unimaginable capabilities in affordable packages. 2023 will witness QD-OLED, Mini-LED, Micro-LED and likely new emissive advancements like QNED steal the stage as DLP remains forever stuck in the past.

While I admire the initial run of DLP ultimately accelerating LCD & plasma development, let‘s bid adieu to aging digital projection. Without viable runway left, no amount of marketing magic will overhaul DLP‘s dated limitations outside total reengineering defeat. We have objectively better tools now for reproducing reality.

10. Just Look How Far Superior Modern Display Tech Has Come!

This final point convergence everything supported above into an irrefutable exclamation. DLP tech appears downright primitive placed against the advanced televisions found in stores today. I‘m talking brilliant 4K and 8K clarity meeting gorgeous organic LED contrast married to quantum dot color, silky animation and unmatched luminance range.

Picture all of this beautiful science condensed into ultra sleek, space saving designs. Energy sipping powerhouses built around customized neural network processors and AI image reconstruction delivering jaw dropping realism miles removed from flickering single-chip DLP and feeble edge lighting found in budget spaceheaters still hawking lies of "4K". Come on now, the differences drip off the screen like hot butter on flapjacks.

OLED, QLED, Mini-LED and beyond wholly outclass aging digital projection tech in collective fashion. DLP desperately clings onto fleeting niche traits like motion resolution out of necessity to distract from inadequacies elsewhere. But make no mistake – projectors peaked then plunged decades ago yielding to bonafide television revolution. The emperor wore no clothes all along!

Comparison Chart – DLP TVs vs Modern Display Technologies

I created the below visual chart to summarize key specification differences covered more in-depth throughout my guide. Toggle categories ON/OFF to better understand how severely DLP displays fall behind contemporary televisions across crucial performance metrics defining the viewing experience. Mouseover any spec for descriptions.

Categories include:

  • Resolution + Features
  • Contrast + Luminance
  • Color Accuracy
  • Viewing Angle
  • Response + Refresh Rate
  • Lifespan + Burn-in resistance
  • Power Efficiency
  • Size Options Available
  • Average Cost Per Screen Size

Play around with the interactive chart below to better understand how vastly DLP technology compares against leading modern television types by category. I hope it provides clarity around exactly WHY spending hard-earned money on outdated display tech proves highly inadvisable in practice, no matter the sticker price. Lean toward the future – or regret stagnating in the past.

Hopefully the above video and chart drive home the vast performance gaps between antiquated DLP projection and contemporary LED-LCD plus OLED panels. The numbers speak loudest. Specs simply overwhelm in every category.

Helpful Advice – What You Should Buy Instead for Best Picture

By now as a reader and friend you‘ve hopefully realized, like me, the foolishness of investing in obsolete DLP televisions today despite their outward "affordability" masquerading massively inferior quality underneath. Tiny mirrors and feeble lamps cannot hold a candle to the visual powerhouses now unleashed thanks continuing display innovation.

Rather than waste money and space on a dinosaur, I urge considering one of the following state-of-the-art 2023 television recommendations matching your budget:

Under $1,000Hisense U6H – Fantastic starter 4K TV with quantum dot color, full array local dimming and 120Hz gaming chops proving you need not overspend for cripsness.

Under $2,000LG C2 OLED – Our favorite mid-range OLED television with stunning contrast and viewing angles which punches well above price. The sweetspot!

Money No ObjectSony A95K QD-OLED – Cutting edge blend of quantum dot and OLED technologies producing the most lifelike, nuanced 4K HDR images available under $5K. Absolutely magnificent!

Any of those industry-leading screens above will enable noticeably better clarity, smoothness and especially contrast that make images pop versus lackluster DLP tech stuck in the past. Their wide viewing angles and array of features support better futureproofing while drawing much lower power too.

I sincerely hope my guide above explaining drawbacks helps lead you toward a superior and satisfying flatpanel purchase rather than downward DLP spiral. Feel free to reach out with any questions! Just looking out for a fellow friend and gadget lover. Let‘s enjoy arresting new TV tech instead of archaic toys. Cheers!

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