Virtual reality head-mounted displays, at least the ones not powered by smartphones, aren’t that easy to make, which is partly why dedicated HMDs are far and few in between, not to mention expensive. In addition to the variety of sensors and cameras required for tracking, the displays used in these headsets are often custom made per VR platform. One way to bring down prices and make VR headsets more common is to commoditize the components which is exactly what Japan Display, Inc. or JDI is doing with what may be one of the few mass-produced displays for VR HMDs.
The tech industry may have already gotten LCD displays down to a “T” but head-mounted displays have presented a different problem and avenue for growth. In addition to the optics that may save you or induce a sense of motion sickness, VR displays need to be clear, crisp, and fast to avoid artifacts such as image blurring and reduce latency that breaks the VR illusion. For these purposes, a single smartphone-like screen, no matter how pixel-dense, isn’t enough anymore.
That’s where JDI’s new LCD screens come in. It comes in two 2.1-inch 1600×1600 screens that break through the 1,000 PPI barrier. Such a high-density screen, in addition to a 120 Hz refresh rate, is critical to a comfortable and safe VR experience.
Comfort, however, also comes via the design of the headset itself. JDI promises that the screens are light and thin to avoid adding additional heft to HMDs. Additionally, JDI also provides screens that have corners cut out to accommodate different designs, like those that resemble glasses more than visors.
Mass-producing such VR-specific screens could help manufacturers jump into the VR market with cheaper headsets of varying capabilities. Of course, screens aren’t the only piece of the VR puzzle but it is one of the more difficult parts to get hold of. Of course, it still depends on how much JDI will be selling these displays to customers but don’t be surprised if affordable VR headsets started popping up left and right this year.