Custom Displays

DrinkTea

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I heard that a little while back, it was all the rage in Korea, I think, to buy the panels and necessary electronics then build your own housing for a monitor. Perhaps this is all in my imagination, but I remember hearing about it when first reading about the cheapo Korean monitors.
Now, the reason I ask is, why couldn't we do this? Panels are readily available on alibaba (and probably other places) and if I'm not mistaken, most use an LVDS connector, for which there exist plenty of generic adapters to standard input connections. If it were possible to get a group together to build niche type monitors, that would be wonderful. For example, my primary use is text, and so high PPI is important. What about a 13 inch 1920x1080 secondary screen for reading books or papers or code. Or even better, I think I saw the panel used in the chromebook pixel available!
Just think, the possibilities are endless... or I could be nuts. Either way, I'm new here, so be nice?
 

wra18th

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Welcome to the forum. What you propose is interesting. I'd like to know this as well.
 

sfor

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I was actually looking for someone having mod-ed, or giving instructions how to mod, or actually having manufactured a high ppi 13-17" stand alone monitor to use as a secondary screen in all the uses you mentioned. It amazed me that no one, as far as I looked, had come up with such a thing.
 

illitirit

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i would love someone to mod me a 27 inch 2560x1600/1400 120hz monitor lol, i would absolutely be floored if it could be done
 

DrinkTea

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It amazed me that no one, as far as I looked, had come up with such a thing.
My guess is that it's a niche market that wouldn't be profitable or on the radar of larger companies. That being said, I have the feeling it can be done, and profitably at that, as I imagine the market for these would bear at least a moderate premium to buy. I know I would.
If I recall correctly, there have been custom monitor products/business that grew out of a devoted subgroup of users (high refresh rate, right?). So, if you think this is possible, and think you can help, post or let me know! I think we will need the following.
1. Supply of panels. I believe there is a wide selection on alibaba.
2. Supply of power supply and signal converters. Also, someone knowledgeable about how it all works together.
3. Design and manufacture of housing. Perhaps these could at least be prototyped with a 3d printer if anyone has access.
4. Logistics both for raw materials and customers.
5. Analysis of costs, pricing and other economic decisions.

EDIT: I know this is a bit vague and I'm sure I've left things out, but it's hopefully just to get people thinking and motivated.
 
Last edited:

DrinkTea

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So, no one's interested in trying to make this a reality? Come on, I know it's possible! There have to be some people around here like me who care about text as much if not more than gaming! No?
 

Tych-0

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544
i would love someone to mod me a 27 inch 2560x1600/1400 120hz monitor lol, i would absolutely be floored if it could be done
I've been waiting for this beast myself, I know many of us [H] types are, and I for one am certainly willing to pay a premium for it.
 

poindexter

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I would be very interested in a super high PPI secondary monitor for reading, like the chromebook pixel screen mentioned above, but I'm not sure how well Windows (or Linux) would manage the very difft PPI of my main screen and such a secondary screen. I read a ton of text in PDF and would love the high PPI.

I wonder if the chromebook pixel display is in anything else? It looks great. Love the aspect ratio.
 

Mark Rejhon

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i would love someone to mod me a 27 inch 2560x1600/1400 120hz monitor lol, i would absolutely be floored if it could be done
If this is done, consider adding a strobe/scanning backlight mode to this.
www.blurbusters.com/category/homebrew

Traditional 120 Hz only has approximately 50% less motion blur (2x less motion blur) than 60 Hz LCD. LightBoost LCD's can have up to 92% less motion blur (12x less motion blur) than 60 Hz LCD. That's 1 pixel of motion blur where you used to get 12 pixels of motion blur, during the same speed motion. Consider the thought of doing a stroboscopic backlight modification when doing a 120 Hz mod of any factory-supplied parts (you can order LCD parts from Alibaba, etc). See Scanning Backlight FAQ as well as Zero Motion Blur FAQ.
 

DrinkTea

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As a starting point, I believe this is the model number of the display used in the Chromebook Pixel:
LP129QE1-SPA1
Here is a datasheet for it:
https://www.revo-sys.com/prodimages...2.9-LP129QE1-SPA1-LVDS-2560-1600-400-NITS.pdf

It does look like it's available for purchase. For individual units, it's in the $200-300 range just for the panel alone, but it looks like purchasing in bulk you can get it a lot cheaper... at least from what I've seen on alibaba.

It also appears you can get similarly sized screens in 1920x1080 resolution for a lower end but still good cheaper model.

So, if any of you have connections in this industry, or the engineering knowledge, or want to help finance it or even just want to help in any way please let me know. A product that I, and I bet a lot of other people want doesn't exist but we can bring it into being!

Also, I know, what I'm proposing is very text centric (or a great secondary display for a laptop), but I can see a future where people have custom screens for whatever their purpose may be.
 

TheHobbyist

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I have experience with this and can contribute on a number of levels. Depending on the demand, I can make this happen. It's a no go if it can't at least break even.
 

DrinkTea

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I have experience with this and can contribute on a number of levels. Depending on the demand, I can make this happen. It's a no go if it can't at least break even.
That would be fantastic and I'd love to speak to you in more detail about this. And the latter goes without saying! I guess step one is figuring out everything that we would need and an assessment of costs. Step two I guess would be estimating demand at various price points. I imagine keeping it simple at first, offering no more than three models, and probably only one or two, would be wisest?
 

Mr.Pixel

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I'd definitely be interested in something like the Chromebook display as a secondary monitor, especially if the cost could be kept to acceptable levels and it had nice reading properties. Definitely more interested in the higher density display rather than the 1080p one. What would be really nice is a high density display that could show an 8.5"x11" page at actual size, but the Chromebook display is reasonably close.

Unfortunately I don't have much to contribute to the hardware side of things you need right now, but if you get stuck and need ideas or just someone to bounce ideas off of feel free to PM me. A few things to consider for now:
1. Either a dual-link DVI or DisplayPort connector would be required to run the chromebook display as full res and 60fps. The 60fps would probably be desirable just to keep it in sync with most displays even if it is primarily for reading.
2. Cleartype font smoothing in windows only works with horizontal displays, so using one in portrait mode renders this useless. Some software does their own smoothing, and the small pixels makes it less of a problem, but it is something to consider.
3. It would be nice to see some reader friendly options implemented. For example: non-PWM dimming, easily adjustable brightness (think nice big wheel on the side), good default color (not necessarily calibrated), standard VESA mounting option, maybe a switch to invert colors (white-on-black-mode), etc....
4. It might be possible to get help from a service like Kickstarter, though that would also introduce a whole new set of issues. I think a working prototype would definitely be helpful before this stage.

As much as I'd like to also see the 120Hz gaming display, developing a reader seems the simpler of the two and probably a good place to start testing the waters of specialized displays.
 

DrinkTea

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I'd definitely be interested in something like the Chromebook display as a secondary monitor, especially if the cost could be kept to acceptable levels and it had nice reading properties. Definitely more interested in the higher density display rather than the 1080p one. What would be really nice is a high density display that could show an 8.5"x11" page at actual size, but the Chromebook display is reasonably close.

Unfortunately I don't have much to contribute to the hardware side of things you need right now, but if you get stuck and need ideas or just someone to bounce ideas off of feel free to PM me. A few things to consider for now:
1. Either a dual-link DVI or DisplayPort connector would be required to run the chromebook display as full res and 60fps. The 60fps would probably be desirable just to keep it in sync with most displays even if it is primarily for reading.
2. Cleartype font smoothing in windows only works with horizontal displays, so using one in portrait mode renders this useless. Some software does their own smoothing, and the small pixels makes it less of a problem, but it is something to consider.
3. It would be nice to see some reader friendly options implemented. For example: non-PWM dimming, easily adjustable brightness (think nice big wheel on the side), good default color (not necessarily calibrated), standard VESA mounting option, maybe a switch to invert colors (white-on-black-mode), etc....
4. It might be possible to get help from a service like Kickstarter, though that would also introduce a whole new set of issues. I think a working prototype would definitely be helpful before this stage.

As much as I'd like to also see the 120Hz gaming display, developing a reader seems the simpler of the two and probably a good place to start testing the waters of specialized displays.
Mr. Pixel, thank you for your comments and support. Also, very pertinent name!

I'll address your points individually.
1.
Yes, that would be necessary. I'm wondering if there's a way, for a small LED lit display like this if you can carry video and power over the same cable (thunderbolt perhaps?) or to just use USB for power.
2.
I have monitors in portrait mode and it seems like there's some smoothing going on. Can you get me a source for this, because if it's true it is an issue we would need to work out.
3.
Some of those ideas sound good for hardware, others might be better to include in some special software sold with the display. But for the initial units, my inclination is that simpler is better - partially to reduce the number of points of failure and partially to keep down cost at first. Regarding the mounts in particular, I'm guessing we'd sell mounts separately, both to keep costs down and to allow people to pick their use case more flexibly (secondary laptop screen, flat-on-the-desk reader, desktop supplement, etc.)
4.
I too, have thought about kickstarter or something similar. At the very least it would allow setting of a minimal sales goal to ensure profitability.

Well, as I've said before, gotta keep it simple at first. Specialize then spread out. And anyone who's interested in any way, please post here! Let's build momentum and make this happen!
 

sfor

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Great thread! I 'd say "I'm in" but I am afraid I have limited financial resources and technical expertise. Anyway my two cs are:

a. With very high ppi panels around the corner this should come to the market fast.

b. What could hurt it is the availability of cheap high ppi tablets to use as text reading alternatives, why buy a monitor that has cables attached when you can simple send the pdf to a tablet or kindle paperwhite (for reflowable text that is not pdf).

I am playing the devil's advocate here with the first two points because I want to come to my main suggestions of how these two pitfalls can be avoided.

Keep it simple. Just go for the chrome pixel panel, an aspect ratio a LOT of people have said they absolutely love and one of the stupidest laptops ever made in terms of its price point and the limited os. It's a given not many are going to buy it, but many lust over the panel and would get it for a price the fraction of the cost. (as an aside, google has done another idiocy here with a non laminated, non treated glass overlay that's ruining the high ppi of the panel with reflections).

So, kickstarter this baby with a run of a few hundred to a thousand chrome pixel panels, in some (and here design prowess is needed) stylish but not too precious, functional and highly adjustable (to the point of being able to almost go full flat on the table) stand. Try to get to a price point that will be similar to a low end tablet, which can be achievable and still allow for a 20-30% profit margin, say around 300-350 dolllars. For OS X it won't be a problem with text rendering as apple has already enabled hidpi modes that work pretty well either natively or via a sort of hack with switchresx, for windows it might posit more issues, but anyway windows 8 has gone some way into custom dpi settings and anyway it's not that anyone's going to run legacy Apps on this screen. Ports should be limited for cost cutting, I 'd go with thunderbolt and usb 3.0 port, use one if you have a thunderbolt enabled computer for both video and power, use usb for alternative power supply and thunderbolt (mini dp) to dvi (adapters such as this abound nowadays and they are not expensive).

The marketing for this should be, here's the chrome pixel panel, at a fraction of the cost for you, stand alone and super adjustable to supplement any existing screen set up with a high ppi screen for anything from reading text, browsing your email in a relaxed eye friendly way, writing a document etc.

What do you all think?

edit:
@Drinktea re font smoothing, I don't think it's an issue with such high ppi screens, apple's dropped it altogether in the retina ipad because they can't enable it for both vertical and horizontal as the screen adjusts with orientation, but it's not really required after a certain high ppi.
Have a look too at airdisplay for ipad which renders the ipad a secondary display for a mac. It's something to consider, either as competition, or if there's a chance to pay a licencing fee to apple and include a chip with the monitor that makes it airplay ready.

edit 2:
I really like the standard vesa thing as that would mean no hassle sales, just grab one and stick it your vesa stand/arm if you don't opt for our stand.
 

DrinkTea

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@sfor: I think you get what I'm going for.
In my experience, using a tablet along with the computer is kind of a pain in the ass. Sending documents back and forth is annoying at best. Also, the tablet versions of operating programs are usually not full featured. For example, in acrobat, I like being able to remap black text and white backgrounds to more screen-friendly colors, which I haven't found a way to do on android yet. Also, you're limited in the tasks you can perform on the tablet. If I want to dedicate one of these to my R or Python code/consoles, I can't do that if it's a separate tablet. And it gets rid of a ton of overhead. They'd be lighter, and why do I need batteries and processors and touchscreens and everything else I wouldn't use anyway. Though a touchscreen could be useful... I also imagine having several either side by side or stacked. It could be great to have one for document editing and one for coding and one for research, etc. Sometimes it can be hard to decide how to arrange multiple windows on one big screen, but several smaller monitors provides a natural way to do it.

Now, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to go around buying 2 or 3 tablets just for that. So, overall I think the benefits over a tablet will be cost and simplicity. No frills, minimal ports, lighter, and no extra software just to connect it.
 

janas19

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This would ultimately just be a niche because the majority of people are not that discriminating over the PPI count. Basically what you want is to custom make your own monitor because you are way ahead of the monitor OEMs.
 

DrinkTea

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People are discriminating over whatever marketers tell them they need to be discriminating over. The key here is clever marketing showing people the difference. And a niche is a fine place to start. Programmers and anyone who writes a lot would jump all over it.
 

sfor

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i disagree janas, more and more people get exposed to high ppi via their phones and tablets, and are then looking at their computers and going shit that looks bad, high ppi monitors are not here yet for desktops, so that opens a nice, niche ;) , door and a market opportunity for gettin some of that high ppi magic to supplement their computing experience. i could well imagine say a mac user unable to afford a retina pro model, to just stick a thunderbolt powered chrome pixel aspect ratio mini screen to their imac an keep it on the side for mail, text, pdf, code, etc.
 

sfor

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as an aside, a stand imitating the g3 "lamp" imac but with a smaller half orb doubling as a usb/thunderbolt extention hub would look and function great. you could even actually stick a 2.5" hd space there as thunderbolt allows for fast daisy chain peripherals.... an suddenly the idea seems to morph into a lamp imac looking (and lest we forgwt the first ones did have 15" inch panels) stand alone monitor that can also function as a mini android powered computer... hmmm, tasty, no? a versatile stand that's a raspberry pi case to.
 

DrinkTea

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Let's not get ahead of ourselves. One of the downfalls of many great ideas is trying to do too much, too soon. But yes, it does sound spiffy.
 

alek

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Nice. is this hard to accomplish or is it simply to buy a panel (any size?) and that thing in post above to get the monitor 2560px? :D
 

TheHobbyist

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To make this thread work, we are going to need summary of the key points of the thread in the OP (Original Post). My biggest limitation is definitely time and catching up on the thread usually results in me missing some key posts. It would also help keep discussion on topic.

Lots of ideas flooding in! Very exciting! However, lets attempt to define our goals, as it seems some people are looking for a different product than the OP is =) (i.e. high dpi accessory display vs ultimate high res high refresh rate monitor) Both products are equally awesome and desirable in my opinion and both fall under the "Custom Displays" moniker, but for the sanity of the thread I think we need to unify the topic.

my 2 cents
 

TheHobbyist

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My guess is that it's a niche market that wouldn't be profitable or on the radar of larger companies. That being said, I have the feeling it can be done, and profitably at that, as I imagine the market for these would bear at least a moderate premium to buy. I know I would.
If I recall correctly, there have been custom monitor products/business that grew out of a devoted subgroup of users (high refresh rate, right?). So, if you think this is possible, and think you can help, post or let me know! I think we will need the following.
1. Supply of panels. I believe there is a wide selection on alibaba.
2. Supply of power supply and signal converters. Also, someone knowledgeable about how it all works together.
3. Design and manufacture of housing. Perhaps these could at least be prototyped with a 3d printer if anyone has access.
4. Logistics both for raw materials and customers.
5. Analysis of costs, pricing and other economic decisions.

EDIT: I know this is a bit vague and I'm sure I've left things out, but it's hopefully just to get people thinking and motivated.
You are definitely on track here, this is how business gets done. Continue refining this list, adding answers and becoming less vague and more specific.

1. For supply of panels, cut out middle men if at all possible. Every jump adds more expense. Who makes the panel you are interested in? Contact them directly.

2. I have an understanding of how all the pieces come together. Component sourcing follows similar advice to above.

3. I can, and have, designed the housing in a few different configurations. Also, I have access to manufacturing channels.

4. By raw materials, I believe you are referring to components, in which case, see above. What do you mean by logistics of customers?

5. This is what I like to refer to as the limiting reagent. After all research and development is done, this is what makes a project possible. As such, it is important to look at and define as much as possible before investing too heavily into the R&D.
 

TheHobbyist

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As a starting point, I believe this is the model number of the display used in the Chromebook Pixel:
LP129QE1-SPA1
Here is a datasheet for it:
https://www.revo-sys.com/prodimages...2.9-LP129QE1-SPA1-LVDS-2560-1600-400-NITS.pdf

It does look like it's available for purchase. For individual units, it's in the $200-300 range just for the panel alone, but it looks like purchasing in bulk you can get it a lot cheaper... at least from what I've seen on alibaba.

It also appears you can get similarly sized screens in 1920x1080 resolution for a lower end but still good cheaper model.

So, if any of you have connections in this industry, or the engineering knowledge, or want to help finance it or even just want to help in any way please let me know. A product that I, and I bet a lot of other people want doesn't exist but we can bring it into being!

Also, I know, what I'm proposing is very text centric (or a great secondary display for a laptop), but I can see a future where people have custom screens for whatever their purpose may be.
Individual unit pricing is what makes prototyping so expensive. An important lesson here is that quantity is paramount in reducing cost. Again, alibaba is good for info, but if you know specifically what you want, skip middlemen.

Due to the quantity rule, the more common 1920x1080 resolution panels are less expensive because literally millions come off the production lines. This also brings up the point that it is important to understand what makes a panel great and how vision and defined terms like ppi and resolution interact with each other.

I have useful connections and knowledge in engineering and manufacturing, and I have financial resources (not to the extent of say, Google, lol!)

I had not revealed so, but as part of ThreeZeroProject, I have done most of the ground work for this product. I suppose this is the first "leak" of information. As such, I definitely share your enthusiasm for the idea.
 

TheHobbyist

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That would be fantastic and I'd love to speak to you in more detail about this. And the latter goes without saying! I guess step one is figuring out everything that we would need and an assessment of costs. Step two I guess would be estimating demand at various price points. I imagine keeping it simple at first, offering no more than three models, and probably only one or two, would be wisest?
This is sound reasoning. Further refining your goals will answer questions for you such as number of models. In my honest opinion and preference, quality is king over quantity. Really nail 1 or 2 ideas, don't flood an already flooded market with more junk!
 

TheHobbyist

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Great thread! I 'd say "I'm in" but I am afraid I have limited financial resources and technical expertise. Anyway my two cs are:

a. With very high ppi panels around the corner this should come to the market fast.

b. What could hurt it is the availability of cheap high ppi tablets to use as text reading alternatives, why buy a monitor that has cables attached when you can simple send the pdf to a tablet or kindle paperwhite (for reflowable text that is not pdf).

I am playing the devil's advocate here with the first two points because I want to come to my main suggestions of how these two pitfalls can be avoided.

Keep it simple. Just go for the chrome pixel panel, an aspect ratio a LOT of people have said they absolutely love and one of the stupidest laptops ever made in terms of its price point and the limited os. It's a given not many are going to buy it, but many lust over the panel and would get it for a price the fraction of the cost. (as an aside, google has done another idiocy here with a non laminated, non treated glass overlay that's ruining the high ppi of the panel with reflections).

So, kickstarter this baby with a run of a few hundred to a thousand chrome pixel panels, in some (and here design prowess is needed) stylish but not too precious, functional and highly adjustable (to the point of being able to almost go full flat on the table) stand. Try to get to a price point that will be similar to a low end tablet, which can be achievable and still allow for a 20-30% profit margin, say around 300-350 dolllars. For OS X it won't be a problem with text rendering as apple has already enabled hidpi modes that work pretty well either natively or via a sort of hack with switchresx, for windows it might posit more issues, but anyway windows 8 has gone some way into custom dpi settings and anyway it's not that anyone's going to run legacy Apps on this screen. Ports should be limited for cost cutting, I 'd go with thunderbolt and usb 3.0 port, use one if you have a thunderbolt enabled computer for both video and power, use usb for alternative power supply and thunderbolt (mini dp) to dvi (adapters such as this abound nowadays and they are not expensive).

The marketing for this should be, here's the chrome pixel panel, at a fraction of the cost for you, stand alone and super adjustable to supplement any existing screen set up with a high ppi screen for anything from reading text, browsing your email in a relaxed eye friendly way, writing a document etc.

What do you all think?

edit:
@Drinktea re font smoothing, I don't think it's an issue with such high ppi screens, apple's dropped it altogether in the retina ipad because they can't enable it for both vertical and horizontal as the screen adjusts with orientation, but it's not really required after a certain high ppi.
Have a look too at airdisplay for ipad which renders the ipad a secondary display for a mac. It's something to consider, either as competition, or if there's a chance to pay a licencing fee to apple and include a chip with the monitor that makes it airplay ready.

edit 2:
I really like the standard vesa thing as that would mean no hassle sales, just grab one and stick it your vesa stand/arm if you don't opt for our stand.
Brilliant post. This is one to highlight and review many times.
 

TheHobbyist

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This would ultimately just be a niche because the majority of people are not that discriminating over the PPI count. Basically what you want is to custom make your own monitor because you are way ahead of the monitor OEMs.
People are discriminating over whatever marketers tell them they need to be discriminating over. The key here is clever marketing showing people the difference. And a niche is a fine place to start. Programmers and anyone who writes a lot would jump all over it.
As part of ThreeZeroProject, and a fundamental principle of business that I follow:

Some concepts and topics are hard for an average consumer to follow/master. Businesses take advantage of this to their own benefit. They often stifle innovation and improvement to the effect of bolstering their bottom line. Now don't get me wrong, profit is an important part of business. However, if your methods include "taking advantage" and "exploiting" your customers, I think the way you do business sucks.

In my mind, I will investigate and master these complex concepts and topics as I am able to. Then, I will use that information to provide consumers with superior products and bridge the gap between their knowledge and what a product is capable of.

Informed/enlightened consumers will then drive progress.

I disagree with cleaver marketing. I believe more in effective demonstration and instruction. I don't aim to deceive, I aim to inform.
 

Mr.Pixel

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138
I have monitors in portrait mode and it seems like there's some smoothing going on. Can you get me a source for this, because if it's true it is an issue we would need to work out.
Font smoothing still occurs, it's just not doing what it's supposed to link. It looks like the "Metro" part of Windows 8 has done away with ClearType for this reason link.

Again, not really critical from a design standpoint, but just something that end users should be aware of to get the most out of the display.
 

sfor

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I 've been rereading this thread, with everyone's great contributions here. It's a slow Sunday here and I decided to write a hypothetical kickstarter pitch:


The DisplayPal, your computer screen's closest friend your best ally.


All great projects start with an unmet need and a vision for something better and more enabling for our work flows and our hobbies. That's how this project got under way. Some of us were coders, others were writers, musicians, business people; we all shared a love of technology but also a frustration with our available options of screen technology.

We wanted to supplement our desktop computing experience with a computer monitor that had as great a text clarity as our tablets and phones. One that handled reflections optimally. That didn't use poor pulse width modulation implementations that induced headaches and migraines. That was housed in an proper ergonomic stand.

Surely in 2013 that shouldn't be that hard to find some of us thought as we prepared our hard earned cash to buy?

How wrong we were.

Computer monitor frustrations


Since there is no ultra high ppi stand alone computer monitor let's see if we can use a notebook instead!

Some notebooks on the market had great screens with a high number of pixels per inch that looked as good as our phones and tablets. Almost all of them were the wrong aspect ratio. They were perfect for watching movies. But we didn't want our screens to watch movies on. There was a cutting edge tv we'd paid dearly for sitting in the living room for that. We wanted to use them for everything but watching movies actually. We wanted to code, write an email on, read a pdf, read music notation, go over that spreadsheet.

Almost all of them required that we pay upwards of $1000 dollars for the benefit of using the screen. Worst of all, all of a sudden, almost all had gone touch screen and were using glass overlays that were marring their excellent screens with distracting reflections.

And there was a little issue with ergonomics: You simply can't get rid of that keyboard, you can put it on a stand, raise it, lower it, maybe if you had too much coffee put it sideways for portrait. You can't really sit it flat… Simply poor ergonomics.

There's plenty of tablets out there to use as a secondary monitor!

We thought me might add a tablet to our desktop set ups to make things better. These had high ppi screens, surely they could be of help. To some extent they were of help. But very quickly frustrations started cropping up. Reflections from the glass overlays were unbearable; the fact that we couldn't just drag and drop something on to our adjunct screen/tablet, we had to icloud it, dropbox it, skydrive it, go to the right application on the tablet then download it and open it up.

Then there was the problem that some of the applications we were working on simply didn't have a tablet counterpart. We also tried applications that would wirelessly extend our dekstops to our tablets. They didn't work well, they were hacks. There's a reason why our main displays are not wirelessly connected to our computers as our mice and keyboards are, it degrades quality. In addition our expensive high ppi tablets, that cost twice the price of your average computer monitor, but couldn't really function as one, didn't even have the required screen real estate. They were ok for handhelds to be used close to the face, but they failed miserably at being stand alone monitors.

All these problems cropped up because we didn't want a tablet to use an extra screen to begin with, we had to try to make do with one because all the major display manufacturers were shortsighted or didn't see enough profit in coming up with what we wanted:

An affordable, special use monitor of great quality and clarity, fine tuned to be ideal for text, and anything requiring a lot of detail, with enough screen real estate, in an aspect ratio that was perfect for everything but movie watching (as if we didn't have enough devices already to take care of that).

But high ppi desktop monitors are just around the corner?

One of our options was to wait for a certain large manufacturer to come up with a 20" high ppi display, costing an arm and a leg, and guess what, they were suggesting it as a tablet! Another one had just come out with a $4000 panel. Surely that will come down in time, in a couple of years it might even be close to $2000. And what was the ppi of that? 137 points per inch, what the ipad mini had and is considered close to worst in class. Sure it can be retina-zed if you move it two feet away, but then again everything can given enough distance.

We had had enough. We wanted to have the best available option, right here, right now, and we would make it to meet all our needs. And because it would be a product created to address all of our frustrations and implement our vision of what we really need for our work flow and our hobbies, it would be a great product.

Frustration started becoming excitement.


A Basic Check List:

So what makes a great secondary monitor, we hinted about some aspects of it, let's distill them with a checklist starting with a basic ABCDE (and P):

A, as in Aspect Ratio: We love movies as much as the next person, that doesn't mean all of our devices should have aspect ratios made for movies. We can enough horizontal screen real estate in our main monitors, thank you very much. We want the DisplayPal to keep us focused with enough horizontal screen real estate. (…)

B, as in Bezel: Bezels are an anachronism, they shouldn't be there, they should be as thin as possible. Even companies known for their great design get them wrong. Take apple for instance. What are those big fat bezels doing around the screen, why do they have a glass overlay on top that render them mirrors. We don't want a mirror square halo around our screens. The bezel should not look like it's there at all.

C, as in Clarity: High pixel count, tight pixels, clear text, detailed images. No glass overlays with a gap that induce double images and attract glare.

D, as in Display quality: Attention to contrast, color saturation, image stability, no pwm flicker.

E, as in Ergonomics: There shouldn't be a position or set up that the stand of the monitor won't be able to accomodate. We want a circus gymnast of a stand. If we wanted poor desktop ergonomics we'd pay five times over and buy a notebook.

oh, and P:

The big P: Price. We want to price this as cheap as a low end tablet from a reputable manufacturer. We are not into this to make money, we have a day job. We 'd like to make some money because that's how you keep a business going. But we want to solve the problem we had for the many people around the globe that share it with us.

We said: We could go for a big % cut and make a niche product that people rich enough will be able to afford. We decided against that, we are opting for volume. Nothing would make us happier than getting DisplayPal on as many desktops as possible.
 

sfor

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
81
Something else I noticed:

The chromebook pixel's display in portrait is almost (to 0.15 inches) the same vertical height as a 21.5" 16/9 screen, and three chromebook pixel displays in sequence are slightly larger than a 21.5" panel in the horizontal direction. What does this mean? Any 21.5" imac user can set this monitor in portrait next to their imac and have it match it's height. With an aluminum imac-esque bezel/stand this makes it the ideal email/pdf/notepad side panel.

these two comparisons are very telling and give you a nice intuitive feel about the pixel display as a standalone monitor, one compared to an ipad, the other to a 21.5" 16:9 panel:

http://www.displaywars.com/12,85-inch-3x2-vs-21,5-inch-16x9
http://www.displaywars.com/12,85-inch-3x2-vs-9,7-inch-4x3

Esp. so from the comparison to the ipad (which could be a great visual way to present it on a pitch) it's very evident how much larger the pixel screen is, and how much better suited it is as an adjunct monitor, how much more enabling both the vertical and horizontal extra margins are.

The more I look at this in portrait the more I am drooling over it, lol!

edit:
http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/716128363/lcd_panel_LP129QE1_SPA1.html

I am getting a $50-$100 price range per only 100 of these chromebook panels, if at a 1000 say you take it down to $50, and add maximum another $50 for electronics, housing and stand (an uninformed guess of course), plus say another $20 going for other costs. That would mean you could well price this around $180-$200 dollars. That's the price for a 7" kindle fire hd. It's more than competitively priced.

edit 2:
some competition none with the appropriate ppi (note power and video over usb):
http://www.ikey.com/flat-panel-displays/displays-desktop/fp10-usb.html
http://www.ebuyer.com/290647-toshib...ium=products&gclid=CIKs_da6yrYCFQ6S3god3QcAIA
http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/AOC-e1649Fwu-16-LED-LCD-Monitor-16-9-16-ms/6195290/product.html?cid=211017&kid=9553000370208&track=pspla&kw={keyword}&adtype=pla
 
Last edited:

DrinkTea

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
373
Summary of key points so far, as I understand it:

1. Product overview
a. What is the product?
A laptop-sized, high DPI display that can be used as a secondary monitor and for reading comfortably on a desktop or as a high quality portable secondary display for a laptop.

b.
What are potential competing products and why are they insufficient?
i. There are usb external displays for laptops. All that I found were poor resolution and overpriced for what they offer.
ii. Tablets, either as a second device or used as an external display enabled through any of several apps. Tablet screens are smaller than the range we are going for (~13 inches) and the use of a special app adds unnecessary complexity. Also, they are costlier, due to battery, touchscreen, CPU, etc.. Finally, they are unsuitable for desktop use if you want more than one (would you buy two tablets of the same size?)

2. Target market (in no particular order)
a. Programmers. They work with text all day long. Any kind of high DPI screen would be welcome
b. Academics. They read a lot of scholarly papers. Having something like this might remove the need to print a lot of them out. Although a touch enabled version might be good at some point to allow for taking notes in the margins.
c. Business people, especially those travelling a lot. It can be very helpful to have a good second (or third if they're light enough) display on the road. Also, it will allow them to cram a lot of information readably onto the screen (think spreadsheets).

I'm sure there are more in this category, but this is what I thought of off the top of my head. Ideally, everyone will be in the market once they see the product.

3. Materials
a. Panel.
The panel used in the chromebook pixel, made by LG, seems to be available for purchase. This is the ideal choice.
b. Inputs.
As few as possible to keep down cost and enhance simplicity. If it can be powered and driven over thunderbolt, great! If not, and because thunderbolt is uncommon, either DisplayPort or dual-link DVI with USB power from the target computer (if it's possible to power over usb).
c. Frame
Probably high quality plastic. Or really, whatever's light, durable, and inexpensive without feeling cheap.

4. Logistics
a. Component sourcing
Ideally the panel can be purchased directly from LG to cut costs. A friend and former business partner of mine is Korean and will try to help us deal directly with them if necessary. I have seen input boards on alibaba, but there may be better places. Similarly, I am still unsure about the frame. Is it typical to give the designs to the panel manufacturer and have them deliver the complete package if the order is large enough? At least for prototypes, would 3d printing one be the easiest option?
b. Customers
Regardless of if the original orders come through kickstarter or elsewhere, we're going to need to figure out the most efficient way of getting these delivered. Do we assemble things here and just ship them or have them shipped from overseas? We're also going to need to handle returns and customer service.

5. Marketing
OK, so when I said "clever marketing" I didn't necessarily mean deceptive. But you do need to educate people and you need to do it in a way that resonates with them and is typically simple. It's fine to have materials for more sophisticated customers, but we need to remember that we're competing with a lot of crap out there, and it's easy for people to be misled. And sometimes a simple demonstration isn't quite the push they need. It can be really surprising how malleable people's preferences are and how they don't know what they want until they're told they want it. It's like Henry Ford is purported to have said (but probably didn't) "If I had asked people wht they wanted, they would have said 'a faster horse'"

6. Cost and pricing
From preliminary research, it looks like the total BOM + assembly will be under $200. As for pricing, I don't know it - it's a new product category and that will take time to research. But, this isn't a charity and it doesn't make sense to invest our time if we can't sell enough units at a price that would give a "fair" profit. But, probably in the $300 range is my guess. I can start to put together surveys, distribute them and do the necessary data analysis to assess demand and price sensitivity soon.

So, to summarize again. We are building a laptop sized high DPI display to be used with a desktop or laptop. It will be a high quality, no frills monitor primarily for reading so it can be sold at a reasonable price.

You know, I've never understood the marketing for current high DPI panels. The biggest benefit really is text, but they're never marketed that way. So, there's our opening.

I hope I've addressed everything so far.

Viva la resolution!
 

suiken_2mieu

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 7, 2010
Messages
2,910
As I know the primary use of this display is text, I would still like to use the display for gaming. Keeping the display to about 1 frame lag would be awesome.
 

DrinkTea

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
373
As I know the primary use of this display is text, I would still like to use the display for gaming. Keeping the display to about 1 frame lag would be awesome.
But why do that when you have a nice big monitor in front of you? I think resolution differences will be much less apparent for gaming than lag, blur, ghosting, frame rate, etc.
 

suiken_2mieu

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 7, 2010
Messages
2,910
But why do that when you have a nice big monitor in front of you? I think resolution differences will be much less apparent for gaming than lag, blur, ghosting, frame rate, etc.
A small high resolution monitor would be great for portability and I use my pc for gaming as one of my main uses. I could also see using this monitor as another place for a view port in games that support it. There's a guy working on making a plugin to get multiple view ports working on many games.

I also see this display being very mobile. I have a Keyboard next to my pc, but it would be nice to have monitor in front of it while recording.

A small high resolution display fits a lot of gaps in my setup.
 

DrinkTea

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
373
A small high resolution monitor would be great for portability and I use my pc for gaming as one of my main uses. I could also see using this monitor as another place for a view port in games that support it. There's a guy working on making a plugin to get multiple view ports working on many games.

I also see this display being very mobile. I have a Keyboard next to my pc, but it would be nice to have monitor in front of it while recording.

A small high resolution display fits a lot of gaps in my setup.
Interesting. Thank you for the feedback. While the main emphasis is text, if it can suit certain gamers at little to no extra cost, that's certainly a whole other market that would be great to have. I really appreciate comments like this that can help provide a better sense of what the product should be and how it will fit into the market!
 

Nidryn

n00b
Joined
Nov 17, 2012
Messages
10
Well, that escalated quickly.

Seriously though, this is pretty impressive. I'd be down for a few.

You don't seem to have considered return costs for the monitor - how will you factor that in?
 
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