DLP Rainbow Effect: can you see it, and do you hate it?

So our 3-LCD projector is dying, the blue LCD is burning out resulting in a blue haze over the right half of the picture.

I was all hot to trot to get the Casio Green Slim XJ-A235 projector with like 20,000-hour bulb life. In fact, I ordered one when a Slickdeal from Newegg came along.

Then we got it home and tried watching a movie on it, and holy shit, the DLP rainbow effect! Both my wife and I were seeing it a lot in high-contrast scenes. I was frankly shocked. I thought I would be somewhat sensitive to it (I’ve always been unable to play games without vsync, so I know I’m pretty aware of sub-frame tearing on all fronts), but it was quite amazing how obtrusive it was. In fact it became borderline eyestrain quite quickly!

THEN I realized Newegg had a no-return policy :-P Fortunately I was able to sell it to a coworker with substantially fewer rainbow-effect qualms. And even better, another Fatwallet deal came along for a new Epson 3-LCD projector from CowBoom.com for $450, so I jumped all over that and I think I got the last one :-)

But in any case, I am now curious to know some crap statistics. And what better way to gather them than a Qt3 poll!

(Edit: Obviously this poll only applies to you if you’ve seen single-chip color-wheel-having DLP TVs or projectors, especially in a dark room. The rest of you, the last option is all yours.)

I can see the rainbow, and it doesn’t bug me. It doesn’t bug me because I don’t own a DLP. I just watch it at friend’s who do have one. I suspect that if I had it at my own home, it would drive me batty having to see it all the time.

DLP was on its way out when I was buying my TV, but I did look at some sets, and never noticed the rainbow effect.

My parents have a DLP. I’ve had to replace the bulb twice and still never seen this effect.

Had a DLP as my primary for a few years and now it is in the bedroom and no rainbow for me.

If you saw one of the later ones with RGB LEDs, it was virtually unnoticeable. You only see it on the ones with a projector bulb and spinning color wheel. I had just such a DLP for many years. It’s lightly annoying, but every display technology has its artifacting, so.

Now are we talking about a DLP Rainbow?..


I saw both types, though the color wheel models I was seeing at that point would have been 6 segment, higher speed wheels, not the older 3 segment slower ones. So that would have helped.

Ultimately I wound up getting a plasma. :)

We’ve had a DLP for the past five years, and it’s not been a problem.

i can’t answer the poll because, yes i do see rainbow, but only if i rapidly shake my head.

Double DLP rainbow all the way.

Phew, at least two other people are similarly sensitive, so I don’t feel tooooo totally crazy. No wonder they sell well if most people really can’t see / don’t care. Very interesting results! Glad I posted this, would poll again, A++++

They don’t sell well AT ALL these days, of course. They were only really popular in the brief window between CRT dominance and flatscreen dominance.

Depends if you’re talking displays or projectors. They still sell mighty well in the projector world. (We’re a projector-lovin’ bunch of fools at our house… would rather have the little box on the ceiling than the big-assed black rectangle dominating the wall.)

Oh, right, yeah, projectors. Forgot about those.

My current DLP is an LED model and doesn’t have a color wheel, but before that I had a bulb version and never once saw the rainbow, even trying to pick it out.

It’s a shame the tech died a premature death due to the fascination with thinness. Yeah, thin matters if you’re going to wall-mount. But if it’s on a stand, as long as it’s relatively thin, who cares? By going DLP, I was able to get a 67" 1080P screen in 2008 for about $1,500. At that time, LCDs > 50" were $3K and up.

Yeah, I had a DLP for a long time too, Denny, but plasmas are better for reasons that have nothing to do with thinness. True 1080p (I think even current DLPs still use wobulation? Those 2006-era ones definitely did), much brighter image, better visibility from angles, better visibility in sunlight, no optical distortions from projection, no overscan, PLUS they’re thinner, and not so expensive any more (I paid $1700-something for a very good 57" plasma).

Man, that’s a buncha money. We just paid about $550 (including a one-year replacement warranty) for a 720p 3-LCD projector, and it puts out a friggin’ 80-inch picture. Of course, it’s not as bright as a plasma, and it’s not 1080p, but for 1/3 the cost I’m very happy living with it.

(Heck, I only have an old non-Elite 360 anyway. Does the Elite version do full HD video – 1080p video – over HDMI from Netflix? It obviously doesn’t do Blu-ray…)

We might upgrade to 1080p / 3D in a few more years when the XBox 720 comes along, but for now, we are plenty happy sticking at the 720p level.

I don’t think Netflix actually streams higher than 720p. And yeah, a projector is sweet if you have the room for it. My (rented) living room with piles of windows would pretty much comprehensively not work for a projector.

Plasmas have a lot of advantages over DLPs, but I’m not sure that brightness is one of them. Over projectors, maybe, but our rear-projection DLP can be blindingly bright. And I’ve never noticed any projection distortion on our set, nor the rainbow effect. Plasmas do have a better black level, though, as well as many of the other advantages you listed.

We went with DLP back in the day partly because they were cheaper than competing technologies, partly because plasmas at the time had issues with burn-in (bad for gaming), but mostly because we compared various sets in the store and just really liked the picture quality of the DLPs. That said, the other techs have come a long way over the years, and the prices have come way down, and if we were to look at new TVs today, we might very well go with a plasma or LCD.