Sony-backed Japan Display launches new high-end VR screens that could power PSVR...

Sony-backed Japan Display launches new high-end VR screens that could power PSVR 2

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Japan Display, a joint venture between Sony, Hitachi, and Toshiba, today announced separate 1,001-pixel-per-inch (PPI) and 803PPI displays specifically designed for VR use. While the new screens boast visual improvements that set the stage for a second-generation PlayStation VR, they also hint at a future market trend in VR design: lower-size, lower-weight headsets.

Not surprisingly, both next-generation screens promise enhanced resolution, reduced motion blur, and low latency compared with current options. The key selling point is pixel density: Today’s PSVR offers a relatively low 386PPI, compared with 615PPI for the HTC Vive Pro.

Japan Display claims that as “even more compact-size LCDs and higher magnification lenses are required to decrease the size and weight of HMD devices,” only “over 1000PPI” options will be sufficient to actually shrink headsets. So it appears that the joint venture’s 803PPI screens are intended for headsets roughly as large as current options, while the 1,001PPI screens will go into smaller, lighter units.

Unlike the current PSVR screen — a single 5.7-inch, 1,920 by 1,080 panel that uses OLED technology — both of the new screens are eye-specific LTPS TFT-LCDs, featuring “IPS designed for VR.” Notably, only the higher-end 1,001PPI screen can match the current PSVR’s 120Hz refresh rate, as the lower-end 803PPI screen has a maximum 90Hz refresh rate — enough for most VR apps, but with higher system latency.

Above: Comparison of pixel density between VR headset screens.

Image Credit: Japan Display Inc.

Japan Display’s 1,001PPI screen is smaller, measuring 3.25 inches on the diagonal with an RGB resolution of 2,432 by 2,160 and a 2.2-millisecond “worst case” gray-to-gray response time. The lower-end version is 3.60 inches on the diagonal, offers 803PPI with a 2,160 by 1,920 RGB resolution, and promises a 4.5-millisecond response time. Representative images of each screen suggest that even the lower-end version will eliminate the so-called “screen door effect” seen in many consumer-grade VR headsets today, though the higher-end version will obviously offer even more detailed graphics.

The new displays will be demonstrated this month at the SID Display Week in Los Angeles, and are expected to ship in products by the end of March 2019. Even if one of the new screens doesn’t wind up in a next-generation PSVR, one of its siblings will: Japan Display claims that these screens will “accelerate the design of even higher resolution displays for VR-HMD applications in the future.”



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