JDI, a display conglomerate consisting of the display businesses of Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi, announced this week the development of ultra high resolution panels that are made specifically for virtual reality headsets.

In a press release issued this week, JDI says that it has already begun shipments of a 651 PPI (pixel per inch) made-for-VR LCD display which uses the RGB subpixel layout (compared to the PenTile layout used by the Rift and Vive displays). The 1700 x 1440 3.42 inch display has a 1.18:1 aspect ratio, meaning it’s mostly square compared to the typical 16:9 rectangular aspect ratio of a smartphone or TV display; that’s because two of the displays are designed to be used in a VR headset—one for each lens—which also opens the door to hardware IPD adjustment (like we see on the Rift and Vive).

Comparison of pixel fineness between a low ppi display vs. a high ppi display | Photo courtesy JDI
Comparison of pixel fineness between a low ppi display vs. a high ppi display | Photo courtesy JDI

For comparison, the Rift uses a pair of 1080 x 1200 displays (same as Vive) with a PPI of ~456, while Gear VR’s PPI comes in at 575 PPI (when used with the Galaxy S7). So the new JDI display has around a 30% higher PPI than the Rift and the Vive, and around 12% more than Gear VR. When it comes to pixel count, the numbers are even more impressive; the JDI display has 2,448,000 pixels per-eye, 48% more than the 1,296,000 of the Rift and Vive, and 25% more than Gear VR’s 1,843,200.

Comparison of motion blur between a smartphone display vs. a VR display | Photo courtesy JDI

JDI says the IPS display is capable of a 90Hz refresh rate and a 3ms black-to-white response time, which is critical to keep low to reduce motion blur that’s especially noticeable when in VR.

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The company says they have already begun shipping samples of the 651 PPI VR display, but they aren’t stopping there; JDI is already teasing the development of an 800 PPI display which would represent massive increase in pixel count, somewhere in the realm of 2088 x 1768 resolution (assuming the same 3.42 size). That would put it at 3,691,584 pixels, 65% more per eye than what’s in the Rift and Vive today, and 50% more than Gear VR.

Even though 1920 x 1080 looks sharp and fine on a standard desktop monitor or HDTV, the nature of a VR headset demands much more pixel density to achieve the same apparent fidelity. That’s because the screens in a VR headset are mere inches from your eyes, while being magnified and stretched by the lenses around a far larger field of view. As display technology achieves increasingly higher resolution, the image in the headset becomes clearer and more immersive, thanks to it being harder to see the individual pixels. The effect of 3D is also enhanced as resolution increases because lines become sharper, making it easier for your eyes to identify depth cues.

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But the need to render high resolutions means the need for greater processing power to fill all those pixels, a challenge which many think foveated rendering should make much more tractable in the next few years.

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  • Ian Shook

    651ppi doesn’t really seem like that big of a leap

    • Xron

      I guess that would work for 2nd gen displays, 800ppi+ for 3rd.
      We need way more proc~ power to achieve stable 90fps rate even on ~456ppi that rift or vive have now (mainstream users I mean). Even gtx 1070 and 1080 have hard time rendering games like elite dangerous at 90fps with all maxed out.
      Some people think that next year nvidia will make upgrades of gtx ~1060 only abt 10% faster and a bit cheaper than now. It would suffice for 1rst gen vr devices but for 2nd you will need atleast gtx 1070 to have a decent quality in a good game… Not many of us will have graphics card near its proc. power…
      Anyway, lets hope I’m wrong and nvidia or amd will make some adjustments to their vga hardware and software, so we can play decent games on 2nd gens headests atleast on ~1160, not needing 1070 or above.
      Btw, I guess headsets will come early 2018.

      • “Even gtx 1070 and 1080 have hard time rendering games like elite dangerous at 90fps with all maxed out.” <<< And why does the game need to be maxed-out?

        • DiGiCT Ltd

          I assume his max out is more based on setting MSAA to the max and stuff like that.
          As real maxing out is based on the devs, you cant max out low or mid poly models to high ones as they are designed by the devs, same for textures, they cant be made better as the ones in the game itself.
          MSAA is required for VR and a minimum of 4 is giving a good VR view already.
          However if you have very complex shapes and many of them in the view area, it will need a lot of GPU power.
          I’m not sure what he is trying to do, as i cant say a gtx1070 performs bad, i could only agree on it if he would say a gtx 970, as for sure I had issues with that, but swapping it for a 1070 was i big leap ;)

          • Also have to look at the VR platform. Steamvr doesn’t have the performance of Oculus drivers to start with even without Oculus ASW. I’m a vive user with a 1070. Although my GPU is held back by my ancient CPU. Waiting for Kaby lake before upgrade.

          • DiGiCT Ltd

            Yes that is true, steamvr driver is not good designed yet, one of my business asociates had this figured out a while ago, as they do real CAD data into VR, and we are talking about millions or even billions of polygons, the steamvr driver just crashes on that.
            Those guys make high end CAD models for insutrial design and work very close to PTC as part of the software comes from them which is implemented in PTC software.
            They did all possible ways, and at the end its just the driver having performance issues.
            The rift was better in it, although it could also not handle the amount of rendering.
            They showed me a device which was inhouse designed, although i cant say its is totally VR, but rather mixed reality.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Because that’s what gamers these days expect, otherwise they think it’s ‘2006 graphix’..

          • Not me. I always reduce the graphics until I get the desired FPS… even before I had VR. Without VRworks support in most games we’re not getting the full performance of the 1000 series GPUs. I hope Nvidia do a better job at encouraging devs to support VRworks. Would be nice to have multi-res and VR SLI.

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        High res rendering can be solved by using SLI in VR.
        Nvidia has added that already to the latest gameworks sdk which in turn will be added to unity and ue4 for developers.
        It is true however that more pixel on screen cost more gpu power, but thats the least problem IMO.
        gtx 1060 had no SLI due to budget card but 1070 and 1080 can.
        I am using a 1070 and i cant say it preforms bad.
        The main reason your elite and dangerous runs bad could be simply because it does not have the optimizations a pascal based gpu offers, but its rather developed on a gtx 970, as that was available during their dev time or a gt980 or titanx.
        But those cards were all not designed for VR.
        Nvidia 10 series are real VR cards.
        I used a gtx 970 as it was already in my machine, but during development I also hit limitations in VR, the root cause was actualy the vga cards as now i changed to 1070gtx and all what i wanted to do runs smooth.

        • Xron

          You can reach high to ultra settings on Elite: dangerous with 90fps as mark, only while having titan x pascal…
          Even on gtx 980ti (~gtx 1070lvl) you cant use proper super sampling and have to put something to medium high to get decent fps, even more so on project cars :)
          Few links to check it.
          http://edgeup.asus.com/2016/08/26/whats-best-graphics-card-vr-complicated/ <– graphic card latency test.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzOAdqqY-Q0 <- – Elite with 980ti supersampling.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSx4xriHuxI <– Elite with titan xp.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Sorry to burst your bubble, but SLI is not common among regular consumers (which is the target needed to make VR a real success (ofcourse it’s already a success for the enthousiasts). SLI is not the solution (unless you have one card 2 chip SLI).
          gtx 1060 had no SLI due to NVidia already knowing newer API’s don’t need SLI for multiGPU processing, and they also know that only a fraction of people will actually use SLI. SLI brings more (unnecessary) complexity to the chip, so why bother if only a small portion uses it, and new API’s don’t need it..
          It’s real VR dedicated refinement/processes like the 10 series have that’s needed for VR. And 1070 and 1080 also only have limited SLI capabilities compared to the previous generations (only limited to 2 cards)..

          • Nicholas

            The multi-projection rendering in the 10 series should make VR easier…if anyone bothers to support it properly. But SLI would make it sublime. Try looking at what Valve have been saying in their GDC talks – a single GPU-per-eye is the ideal use case for SLI in VR. It means you can realistically render to a higher resolution with better effects at 90fps.

          • Zerofool

            I agree but I can’t imagine devs targeting their games at such configurations until dual-gpu systems become the minimum (or should I say ‘recommended’) spec. Otherwise people will just complain that their newly bought VR-ready PC can’t run the games at max settings.
            But there’s a glimpse of hope. The next card from AMD (currently known as RX 490) is rumored to be a dual-GPU card, having two Polaris 10 chips onboard (the same ones as in RX 480) and is suspected to be priced near the GTX 1080 level. The official announcement is expected by the end of the year. If Nvidia responds with similar card, the recommended specs for the next gen HMDs could very well sport such a dual-GPU card. The GPU generation after that (AMD Vega and Nvidia Volta) will use HBM2 memory which will make such dual-chip cards actually compact (maybe even more so that some single-GPU cards nowadays). Just thinking about all this stuff makes me excited about 2017 and beyond :) My wallet, however, nods disapprovingly ;)

          • Andrew Jakobs

            I know it would be ideal to use 1 single GPU per eye, but unless the graphicscard itself comes with 2 GPU’s it’s not really an option for mainstream VR. Most gamers/consumers don’t have SLI. So all the enhancements in regard must come from techniques which can be baked into a single GPU.
            Yes real enthousiasts will buy a dual highend graphics card (like the GTX1080 at the moment), but that’s just not the people one can target as a company (it’s great if you have resources left for enhancing your game/experience for current SLI highend cards, but it’s a waste of money which is better put to use on the next project when the current highend cards are becoming mainstream cards).

          • DiGiCT Ltd

            The reply is based on setting max settings into VR apps.
            1060 is basically not having SLI , else people would buy 2 of those budget cards instead of 1070 or 1080.
            Sli is only on higher priced models.
            Sli for VR has for sure opportunity for High end demanding VR aplication users, i did not sya for the masses, but it for sure a must.
            Think business wise as arcade VR places, as there people can enjoy high end VR for a lower price.
            Also a wider and higher pixel HMD like the StarVR will for sure benefit huge from a SLI setup.
            I did not say it is for most common users, but i can say there is need for it in certain VR situations.
            Not everybody has a BMW or a rolex, it does not mean there is no need or future for it.

    • Get Schwifty!

      It may not sound like it but a 40% bump in fidelity is pretty big. Excited to hear about this, hopefully Rift/Vive will be in this neighborhood or better yet exceed it with their Gen 2 HMDs.

  • VRgameDevGirl

    I cannot wait!

  • Cl

    Isnt 651 ~43% more than 456? Not 30%. Depends on how you look at it since 456 is 70% of 651.

    • Buddster

      A theoretical 2 ppi display with a 1:1 aspect ratio would have 4 total pixels. Increasing the density 50% would be 3 ppi and make 9 total pixels. That’s over 100% increase in resolution.

  • Maitom

    Higher ppi doesn’t mean you necessarily have to render at a higher resolution, even a pixelated image will be better than seeing the black lines between pixels. So it will be good for every application.

    • Augure

      This, thanks for recalling it. Let’s not let “PC master race” cunts rot the technical discussion around VR.

      I hear too many people saying “but VR iz so powerrrzful, can’t run on mobile/console/non-high-end GPU devicez”, and don’t understand that VR is a process of rendering and displaying that can be applied to anything, not a new mysterious tech that necessitate SLI GPUs because “two images”.

  • I’d think the thinner, lighter headsets these dedicated displays will yield would be almost as exciting as any increase in resolution. That VIVE can be positively painful to wear at times when running around my room. I suppose the HEAVY cord doesn’t help either. :/

  • Torben Bojer Christensen

    LCD – IPS ?!?
    …have been tried before in the rift. Does not yield the same dynamics and fidelity as OLED and is thus less immersive panel technology than OLED.

    All current highend VR sets are OLED. So why the improvement in resolution done on an inferior panel technology? I dont get it unless its a mistake in the article? (here is hoping)

    • Zerofool

      It’s not a mistake – here’s the press release:

      Apparently, the display can achieve low persistence with high enough brightness. The specs says 150 cd/m^2 at 10% duty cycle (meaning that the screen is lit for only ~1.1 ms). This means that the rest 90% of the cycle the backlight is off, giving enough time for the pixel switching to occur (6 ms in the worst case according to the specs sheet, so the 9-10 ms of darkness should be good enough). The final image should be crisp, without any artifacts. It will be interesting to see it in action, hopefully in a consumer product next year.

      • Torben Bojer Christensen

        Damn! …Thats just terrible!

        It is even stated in the press release that it has the usual and terribly dismal LCD native contrast ration around 700:1 compared to OLED’s perfect blacks and virtually Infinite native Contrast Ratios.

        Oh, why …but why would they go and do that?
        Black will be gray with only 700:1 contrast ration :-(

        Higher resolution, Yes thank you very much.
        But backlit LCD?!? …Nooooo! :-( :-( :-(

        • Zerofool

          That was my first reaction too but I trust the engineers at Oculus, HTC/Valve, Sony, etc. If the tech is good enough to replace OLED screens, than we’ll see them in the next gen products. I’m pretty sure, however, that there are advancements in the OLED area too, they’re just not public yet. Only time will tell.

          > OLED’s perfect blacks and virtually Infinite native Contrast Ratios. <
          In the current implementation in HMDs (I can only speak for the Vive which I own, but I believe it's the same for the rest too), the screen never turns off completely. This is done to fight the black smear effect which otherwise occurs. Recently, in a SteamVR beta that "fix" actually wasn't working and the screen actually went completely black. The contrast was great and Apollo 11 looked even more epic. But the black smear was pretty obvious and was taking away a lot from the experience.
          So even with OLEDs, we're currently left with LCD-grade "dark grey" black levels. I haven't seen any measurements of the contrast ratio of the screen, but I presume it's more than 700:1, yes. But maybe it's a sacrifice worth making. As I said previously, there are some talented engineers in all the top VR teams, so I believe they will use whatever technology strikes the best balance between the many properties the displays must possess.

          • Torben Bojer Christensen

            With the specs presented, it is clearly a tradeoff where blur and latency has been prioritized over contrast ratio and dynamics. As u, I too trust there must be a reason for this tradeoff, and the engineers have found that blur and latency is the paramount parameters to prioritize in order to obtaining even more immersive and nausea free VR experiences, even though the contrast and dynamics surely will suffer. I hope there will be similar ingenuity applied to getting OLED implemented into high-res VR game as it offers better contrast and dynamics

  • Zerofool

    I think that the more important factor here is the sub-pixel structure. RGB has 50% more sub-pixels than PenTile at the same pixel count. The 1440×1700 LCD screen has 7,344,000 sub-pixels while the current 1080×1200 OLED screens have 2,592,000 sub-pixels. That’s a factor of 2.83 – that’s just huge! It should greatly eliminate the SDE if the fill factor is good enough.

    In the same time, Sharp has shown 1008 PPI IGZO LCD screens (the actual panel type is unknown) for VR – 1920×2160, 2.87″ – although it’s not explicitly stated that it’s RGB and no details were given regarding low persistence or duty cycle.

    Anyways, things are moving fast and it’s interesting to see how things will develop. Eye tracking and foveated rendering can’t come soon enough :)

  • Nicholas

    LCD? Pass…

  • wheeler

    What about black levels and contrast? This is one area where OLEDs have a big advantage over LCDs, but I’m not sure how they compare when you take into consideration correction for things like blacksmear and OLED mura.

    In addition, how does the response time compare to OLED displays? Even today the old 21″ trinitron CRT monitor I have stored away makes my IPS LCD look like garbage in its smoothness, contrast, and black levels. If only it didn’t hurt my eyes so much–otherwise I’d use it. I just bring it out now and then to remind myself.

  • victor

    More fov PLEASE !!

  • whitedragon101@gmail.com

    FYI its an 88% improvement in resolution for Rift and Vive.

    1% of 1,296,000 = 12,960
    2,448,000 – 1,296,000 = 1,152,000
    1,152,000 / 12,960 = 88.8%

  • Doctor Bambi

    I love articles like this one; whispers of tomorrowland. @_@

    I was hoping we’d be hearing about new panel structures beyond the typical rectangle. If we want to have any significant bump is FOV without sacrificing weight, we’re going to need to shed preconceptions of what a screen can or should be.

  • Leonardo Phillips

    The important parameter to reduce the aliasing is not the PPI, it is the number of pixels. For example, if we took a screen like that of the Vive and we reduce its size we would have an higher PPI display, if we use a lens with a magnification able to cover the same current field we would have exactly the same aliasing. The problem would not be solved. To reduce the aliasing you must increase the number of pixels. The same argomentation is valid for the SDE.

    • user

      maybe read the article?

    • Lukimator

      Well, we can argue that for the same screen size, increasing the number of pixels will directly mean an increase of PPI. Obviously decreasing the screen size for the sake of increasing the PPI is not really helpful as you would need to magnify the display more, resulting in the same perceived resolution

      The correct measurement for HMDs should be in PPD (Pixels Per Degree), as the FOV is crucial to determine screen clarity.

  • Great news, but we’ve still to reach 16K for eye… :O

    • Augure

      To be faire the actual amalgamated resolutions of eyes is closer to 10K, but of course for it to be efficient we would need Foveated Rendering and Display.

  • Rob H

    “LCD display” o.O ….don’t Vive, Oculus and even PSVR use OLEDs already? Sounds like a step backwards to me. I mean I hope it’s amazing and works just as well as I’m up for higher resolution….but I can’t see it beating an OLED screen.

  • DaKangaroo

    Shutup and take my money? … seriously, I’d buy this today if it was an option. I’d pay the same price I paid for the Vive too.

    OK, so, lets review components of the Vive:

    Getting an upgrade, we’ve seen some information on what the new design will look like.

    I’d say 1700 x 1440 to 2088 x 1768 is perfectly within reason, considering everything we’ve seen on display tech lately, including what’s in this article.

    We’ve seen the wireless addon will be available soon for the Vive as it currently is. Wireless display is probably quite likely.

    The lighthouses also are going to be getting an upgrade, lighter, cheaper, etc.

    It’s likely any new headset would have improved ergonomics and would be slightly lighter right? That’s just a given right?

    So next Vive, Vive 2? if it comes out in 2017, highly likely to have a higher resolution screen, better tracking, wireless, lighter, better ergo, new controllers, and probably slightly cheaper too.

    Again, shutup and take my money? My only complaint is that I can’t buy one now.

  • Chris

    Use a dvd drive lens focus assembly type thing thing, then it could be allot smaller – https://youtu.be/9dyqY_Fr0Uw