Unveiling the DMD Chip - The Heart of DLP Projectors

by Dangbei Official on May 19, 2024

Smart projectors have become a ubiquitous part of our lives, from conference rooms and classrooms to home entertainment centers. But have you ever wondered what lies beneath the sleek exterior, creating those captivating visuals on the screen? The unsung hero of DLP projectors is a marvel of microtechnology - the DMD chip.

dmd chip in dlp projector

What is DMD?

DMD stands for Digital Micromirror Device. In simpler terms, it's a tiny silicon chip packed with millions of microscopic mirrors, each a mere few microns wide - about the size of a red blood cell! These mirrors are the magic ingredient that transforms digital information into a projected image.

How DMD Chips Work in DLP Projector

Imagine a vast army of tiny soldiers, each holding a reflective shield. This is essentially what a DMD chip looks like. Here's a breakdown of the magic that unfolds within a DLP projector:

How DMD Chips Work in DLP Projector

1. Light Source: The projector lamp generates a powerful beam of white light.

2. Color Separation: A prism or color wheel splits the white light into its primary colors - red, green, and blue.

3. DMD in Action: Each micromirror on the DMD chip can tilt on a hinge. A digital signal from the projector controls the tilt of each mirror. Here's where the real magic happens:

  • On Pixels: When a mirror is tilted towards the projection lens, it reflects light towards the screen, creating a bright pixel (the building block of an image).
  • Off Pixels: When a mirror tilts away from the lens, light is diverted to a light trap, effectively creating a dark pixel.

4. Rapid Fire Tilting: The mirrors on the DMD chip tilt millions of times per second, so fast that our eyes perceive them as continuous variations in brightness and color, forming the projected image.

5. Color Creation: Depending on the projector technology, there are two main approaches to create a full-color image:

  • Sequential Color: The projector cycles through the red, green, and blue light sequences rapidly. The DMD chip modulates each color's light to create the final image on the screen.
  • Single-chip DLP: A fast-spinning color wheel with red, green, and blue segments shines colored light onto the DMD chip. The mirrors reflect the appropriate color based on the digital signal, creating a full-color image at once.

    What Are the Advantages of DMD Chips?

    DLP technology boasts several advantages thanks to its DMD chip:

    • Sharp Resolution: The number of micromirrors crammed onto a DMD chip directly impacts the projector's resolution. Higher-resolution chips boast more micromirrors, allowing for a finer level of detail in the projected image. This is particularly beneficial for high-definition content like Blu-ray movies or intricate presentations with detailed data visualizations.
    • Fast Response Time: The rapid tilting of the micromirrors allows DLP projectors to handle fast-moving scenes with minimal motion blur, making them ideal for action movies and sporting events.
    • Compact Design: DMD chips themselves are remarkably small compared to other projection technologies. This allows for the creation of sleek and compact projectors. Portable projectors with DMD chips are ideal for business presentations on the go, classroom settings, or even backyard movie nights.
    • High Contrast: Since a DMD chip can completely block light for dark pixels, DLP projectors deliver exceptional contrast ratios. This translates to deep blacks and vibrant colors, perfect for presentations, movies, and high-definition content.

    Differences Between DMD Types

    DMD chips come in various sizes, with the most common being 0.23", 0.33", and 0.47" diagonal. The size determines the number of micromirrors a chip can hold:


    0.23" DMD Chip

    0.33" DMD Chip

    0.47" DMD Chip

    Chip Size (Diagonal)

    Smallest (typically)


    Largest (typically)

    Micromirror Count (Estimated)

    Lower (millions)

    Mid-range (millions)

    Higher (millions)

    Number of Pixels

    960 x 540

    1280 x 720

    1920 x 1080

    Maximum Resolution





    Most Affordable, Compact

    Good Balance of Resolution & Cost

    Highest Native Resolution, Sharpest Image


    Lower Image Detail

    May not be ideal for high-resolution content

    Most Expensive


    • 0.47" DMD: These chips can house millions of micromirrors, enabling high native resolutions like 1920 x 1080 pixels or even higher. This makes them ideal for high-end projectors, delivering sharp, detailed images perfect for home theater applications or professional presentations demanding exceptional clarity.
    • 0.33" DMD: A widely used size for mid-range projectors, these chips offer a good balance between resolution and cost. They typically can project 1280 x 720 pixels, suitable for business presentations and entertainment in moderately sized rooms.
    • 0.23" DMD: The smallest and most affordable option, these chips are found in portable projectors and offer lower resolutions suitable for basic presentations. They offer 960 x 540 pixels, which are adequate for basic presentations or displaying data on the go.

    Best DLP Projectors from Dangbei

    Dangbei Mars Pro 2 4K Laser Projector with Google TV

    dangbei mars pro 2

    Mars Pro 2 is the world’s first Google TV 4K laser projector with built-in, licensed Netflix access. At its heart lies a powerful 0.47-inch DMD chip, the key to delivering stunning, effortless 4K Ultra High Definition visuals. But the brilliance doesn't stop there. This smart projector boasts a laser light source of 2450 ISO lumens, ensuring exceptional picture quality with incredible brightness—perfect for replicating the cinematic experience at home. It also marks the first projector to combine laser-illuminated Ultra HD picture, Dolby and DTS:X surround sound, the vast content universe of Google TV, officially licensed Netflix, and advanced smart controls. This makes it a truly all-in-one entertainment hub, transforming spaces into a movie theater, a gaming arena, or even a sports bar.

    Dangbei Atom Google TV Mini Laser Projector

    Dangbei atom google tv mini laser projector

    Dangbei Atom is the first Google TV Mini Laser Projector designed by Dangbei. The 0.33-inch DMD chip in it ensures that it can offer 1080p Full HD visuals while keeping a compact form factor. Boasting 1200 ISO lumens, Atom could well be the brightest projector on the market compared with other low form factor home projectors. This revolutionary smart projector is perfect for movie nights, presentations, and more. Plus, it's incredibly lightweight and slim, so you can easily put it in a case and take it with you. With Google TV smart OS, you can stream your favorite content from a vast array of apps – no need for a separate streaming device!


    The DMD chip, a marvel of microtechnology, lies at the heart of DLP projectors. These tiny chips, packed with millions of microscopic mirrors, are the unsung heroes that bring captivating visuals to life. As DMD technology continues to evolve, we can expect even smaller, faster, and more versatile chips that will push the boundaries of image quality and application possibilities of smart projectors. So, the next time you witness a stunning projection, remember the tiny titans within - the DMD chips, silently orchestrating a visual masterpiece.


    Q: How can I tell what size DMD chip my projector has?

    A: Most projector manufacturers don't typically advertise the specific size of the DMD chip used. However, you can often find the projector's native resolution in the user manual or product specifications. 

    Q: Is a bigger DMD chip always better?

    A: Not necessarily. While larger chips generally offer higher native resolutions and sharper images, they also tend to be more expensive and are found in high-end projectors. The ideal DMD chip size depends on your needs. For basic presentations or portable use, a smaller chip with a lower resolution might suffice. For high-resolution content or a cinematic home theater experience, a larger chip with a higher native resolution would be preferable.

    Q: What other factors should I consider when choosing a DLP projector?

    A: Besides the DMD chip size and resolution, other factors to consider include:

    Brightness (lumens): This affects how well the projector performs in brightly lit environments.

    Contrast ratio: Higher contrast ratios provide deeper blacks and richer colors.

    Lamp life: How long the projector lamp is expected to last before needing replacement.

    Connectivity options: Ensure the projector has the necessary ports to connect to your source devices, like laptops or Blu-ray players.

    Throw ratio: This determines the distance you need to place the projector from the screen to achieve a desired image size.

    Q: How long can I expect a DMD chip to last?

    A: The lifespan of a DMD chip is generally tied to the overall lifespan of the projector itself. Projector manufacturers typically specify a lamp life expectancy in hours. The DMD chip itself is a solid-state device and less prone to wear and tear compared to the lamp. In most cases, the projector would likely need a lamp replacement before the DMD chip malfunctions.

    Q: Where can I learn more about DLP and DMD technology?

    A: The Texas Instruments website, a leading manufacturer of DMD chips, offers a wealth of information on DLP and DMD technology: https://www.ti.com/dlp-chip/overview.html.