DLP-based projection displays are well-suited to high-bright-ness and high-resolution applications: (a) the digital light switch is reflective and has a high fill factor, resulting in high optical efficiency at the pixel level and low pixelation effects in the projected image; (b) as the resolution and size of the DMDr increase, the overall system optical efficiency grows because of higher lamp-coupling efficiency; (c) because the DMD operates with conventional CMOS voltage levels (~5 volts), integrated row and column drivers are readily employed to minimize the complexity and cost impact of scaling to higher resolutions; (d) because the DMD is a reflective technology, the DMD chip can be effectively cooled through the chip substrate, thus facilitating the use of high-power projection lamps without thermal degradation of the DMD; and (e) finally, DLP-based systems are all-digital (digital video in, digital light out), so reproduction of the original video source material is accurate and the image quality is stable with time.
The general movement of the display industry is in the digital direction. Digital sources that are currently available include digital video disk (DVD), digital satellite system (DSS), and the Internet (World Wide Web). In the future, the recently approved Advanced Television Standard (ATV) and the digital distribution of movies (digital cinema) will be added to the list of digital sources. Interfacing these digital sources to currently available analog displays requires digital-to-analog conversion and, in some instances, analog encoding (e.g., s-video or composite), which result in degradation of the source image quality. DLP-based displays, on the other hand, preserve the digital integrity of the source image all the way to the eye. The result is the best possible video quality.
The DMD light switch (Figure 4) is a member of a class of devices known as microelectromechanical systems. Other MEMS devices include pressure sensors, accelerometers, and microactuators. The DMD is monolithically fabricated by CMOS-like processes over a CMOS memory. Each light switch has an aluminum mirror, 16 (im square that can reflect light in one of two directions depending on the state of the underlying memory cell.
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