What is the DLP Rainbow Effect? Reason & Best way to fix it.

Last updated by Nitish_Lakra on January 13, 2023

What is the DLP projector rainbow effect? Reason & How to fix it.

What is the projector rainbow effect should be your first question? When you are going to buy or choose the projector. Because this is normal with the DLP projector. 

If you are sensitive to the rainbow effect then you will notice the rainbow effect on the screen. 

About this, we are going to talk in detail. What are the reasons for the rainbow effect? Why you will see the rainbow effect on the screen?

And what are the things you should look for before? When you are going to buy the projector. We also look if you have bought the DLP projector

And the projector replacement date is gone. Then what are things you can do to get relief from the rainbow effect?

But let’s first know what is DLP rainbow effect.

What is the DLP projector rainbow effect? 

The DLP rainbow effect. Is nothing but a “stroboscopic” effect. It happens because of the slow DLP chip. During the DLP rainbow effect. You see the red, green and blue light flashing around the image. It happens when a very bright area moves across a very dark area of video.

The rainbow effect is also referred to as “RBE”.

For a practical overview of the DLP rainbow effect. You can check out the below video:-

Source: Lifestyle Lab

What is the reason for the rainbow effect on the screen?

So, before we get into how you can deal with the rainbow effect. Let’s know what are the reasons why you see the red-green light flashing on the screen.

  • You might have the DLP projector. Which color wheel speed is slow? The color wheel speed is measured in the RPM. And DLP projector processes one light color at once. So it’s important to know. The reason you are getting the rainbow effect on the screen. The slow color wheel could be the reason for the rainbow effect.

  • You might be darting your eyes to see the projected images on the screen. If they are sensitive to the rainbow effect. Because the projected image is made of the RGB color mixture. And it blends very fast. So you don’t see the rainbow effect, but things appear. When you move your eyes very fast.

  • The rainbow effect can also appear. When you are watching a movie with a black background. And some characters are moving in that scene. Or you might see the rainbow effect. When you have the movie subtitle on.

  • And while watching the movies in the action scene. You can also see the rainbow effect.

Now you know what is the reason why you are seeing the projector rainbow effect in your projected images. Let’s talk about things you can do to deal with the rainbow effect before and after buying.

Things you should do before buying the projector 

There are three things you can consider. When you are choosing the new projector. First thing if you are not a fanboy of the DLP projector. Then you can consider buying the 3LCD projector. You won’t get the rainbow effect. 

Because in the 3LCD projector you will not get the color wheel. All three colors will process at once. So the 3LCD projector is completely free from the rainbow effect on the screen. If you don’t like this option.

Then there are two options left for you. One will be affordable for most people. While another one is not affordable for most people.

When you are looking for a DLP projector. Check the specification of the DLP projector that you want to buy. And find what is the color segment of the color wheel.

And the speed of the color wheel. There are two types of color segment wheel general you will find in the DLP projector 4x and 6x. 

In the 4x you will get the RGB and white colors. And in the 6x you will find RGBRGB color. Go with the 6x to avoid the rainbow effect in most cases.

If you want to avoid the rainbow effect completely. Then you should buy the 3-DLP chip projector which is very costly than the 1-DLP chip projector. 

Most 3DLP chip projectors writing this article start from 30,000$. Which is very high for any home theatre enthusiast.

To buy this kind of projector. So now you know what you have to do before buying the projector to avoid the rainbow effect.

How can you reduce or try to fix the rainbow effect, after buying?

Ok, now you have bought the DLP projector. And the replacement time interval has finished. So what do you do to deal with the projector rainbow effect?

  • So we have already talked about the color wheel segment and the color wheel speed. Then there is one fact. Which every DLP projector manufacturer hides from use. Relation between the video HZ and the rainbow effect. If your video source refresh rate is 60 HZ. Then you will get the 240 HZ color wheel spin. A similar goes with the 50HZ video, with the 50HZ video you will get the 300 HZ color wheel spin. And with the 24HZ video, you will get the 288HZ color wheel spin. And the most important thing ahead about the color wheel spin.
    1. 0Hz to 150Hz: If the color wheel spins at this speed any viewer will get the rainbow effect.
    2. 200Hz to 250Hz: Significantly rainbow effect will reduce. But it will be exposed. When you are watching the movie with strong contrast.
    3. 300Hz: With the color spins HZ barely you will see anything even with the strong contrast ratio. About this thing, you can read more here.
  • You can try changing physically the way you are watching the screen. It can help you reduce the rainbow effect significantly.
  • You should watch another scene of the movie while watching the movie.
  • Stop darting your eyes while watching movies side to side. The more you do. More rainbow effects will see. To avoid this you have to sit at the appropriate place and need the right size of projector screen.
  • Reduce the contrast and brightness. And see what happens.
  • If you have one the subtitle or reduce the size of the subtitle.

Can everyone see the rainbow effect?

There is a study sponsored by Epson. In suburban Los Angeles people. In that medium and high range, both types of 1 DLP chip projector are used.

To know which projector has the most probability to see the rainbow effect. And here three myths and facts came out.

  1. In the modern 1 DLP chip projector rainbow effect is eliminated (Myth). In the test, all top-selling DLP projectors produced the rainbow effect (Truth).
  2. A very small amount of people are affected by the rainbow effect (Myth). Although 42% of people are affected by the rainbow effect (Truth).
  3. With the expensive 1 DLP chip, you won’t get the rainbow effect (Myth). But that’s not true. In the 4k UHD Optoma UHD60. Has the highest incidence of the rainbow effect (Truth).
  • Optoma UHD60: 42% see the effect. While 36% find it distracting.
  • Optoma HD143x: 36% notice effect. 39% find it distracting.
  • BenQ HT2050: 18% get the effect. 54% find it distracting/annoying.

Do laser projectors have the rainbow effect?

No, matters if you have a laser projector. If you have 1 DLP chip projector. The three-color lights flash every time.

And no matter which type of light source you are using. There will be a projector rainbow effect on the screen. 

There are some advantages of the one DLP chip projector. You will get a sharp image, with less price and convergence error.

And the disadvantage of the one DLP projector could be the rainbow effect.

If you want to completely avoid the rainbow effect. Then go with a 3 DLP chip projector. But right now 3 DLP chip projectors are extinct. That is used in the movie theatre.

Does an LED-based DLP projector have a rainbow effect?

Now in the comparison of the lamp projector-based DLP projector. In the LED-based DLP projector with the 4x color wheel. You won’t get the rainbow effect. Here 4x color wheel projector works like a 6x color wheel projector. 

Does screen color affect the rainbow effect you see on the screen?

No, it does not matter which screen color you use. You will use the projector rainbow effect on the screen. Which is very normal with any DLP projector.


The DLP projector rainbow effect can be a headache for those people. Those who are sensitive to the rainbow effect. There are some things you can follow before you buy the projector to avoid the rainbow effect on the screen. 

Or you can follow some tips to reduce the rainbow effect on the projector. After you buy the projector. I hope all these tips help you to deal with the rainbow effect.

See you next time…

Image: Thomas Ohlsson Photography

Categories: OnsME Blog


Nitish Lakra is a writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the publishing industry. He has written for numerous publications on a variety of topics including home theatre and projector. Nitish is passionate about educating and informing readers through his writing and strives to provide accurate and engaging content. When he's not writing, Nitish is enjoying the pc games, movies or cooking. My YouTube: @nitishlakra My Instagram: @nitish__lakra


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