Wobulation is to HDTV what glaze is to doughnuts. Of course, you can eat a plain doughnut–a few people would say they even prefer them–but really, doesn’t that gooey sugary coating make the doughnut better? Wobulation makes a digital image better by allowing it to be projected at double its resolution–without changing the light or increasing pixels–and maintain a distinct, crisp image.
Will Allen, from Hewlett-Packard, invented wobulation. “As I learned how digital projectors worked, I realized they had a striking number of similarities with inkjet printers,” explains Allen. “Both devices create a color picture from a matrix of points composed of primary colors.”
By applying the same thinking to projection, wobulation overlaps points of light. It actually projects two independent, overlapping images, so that one pixel is replaced by two–but it all happens so precisely and quickly that all the human eye notices is a smoother image.
Wobulation technology is applied in High-Definition (HD) displays utilizing Texas Instruments’, Digital Light Processing (DLP). The DLP chip is covered in thousands of tiny mirrors and, up until recently, the number of mirrors on the chip was not sufficient to create a true HD image. By having the chip project first half the pixels in an image and then the other half, you get an HD resolution image and—successful wobulation.
The newest version of the DLP chip has mirrors to draw all of the pixels at once and refreshes the picture at a rate of 60 times per second for a true 1,920 by 1,080, High-Definition picture. Ah, progress.