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 Post subject: New display tech that might actually work for retro gaming
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:02 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 114
As we all know (far too well), modern fixed pixel displays suck for retro gaming. They are the wrong shape and can't switch res like CRTs. And scaling 240p 4:3 to 4K 16:9 is an abomination. So far, every new flatscreen display tech has only made the problem worse..... until now.... well.... maybe anyway....

Recently (for unrelated reasons) I have been looking at full color fine pitch led displays. I am not talking about the led backlight LCD TVs. I am talking about actual led display walls. The type often used in outdoor digital signage. Like this:

https://displaysolutions.samsung.com/le ... 092/IF015H

Why? I'm glad you asked. Unlike every other modern display tech, these are still being produced in relatively low resolutions and with corse pitches. And, they are designed to be modular so people can build whatever size, shape and resolution they want. If we wanted to make a 50" 4:3 320 x 240 display, it will be possible.

Those samsung panel modules are 320 x 360 dots and are considered to be "HD" in the led world. They have a pitch of 1.3mm which is almost (but not quite) where we need it to be. Your average crt arcade has a pitch of between .95mm and .75mm, depending on the size. There are "ultra fine pitch" options sold by companies like Planar which have a .9mm pitch on their 27" 640 x 380 modules...

There are literally thousands of options in different shapes, sizes, pitches etc. here is another example with 176 x 176 dot full color panels with a 2.83mm pitch:

https://www.farralane.com/mr-led-r2s.ht ... gK1G_D_BwE

Many (or most) can be fed with an analog (or digital) RGB signal.

Similarly, Samsung recently announced and demoed "The Wall" which is a 146" modular micro led display aimed at the home tv / home theater market. Again, modular means you can create the size and shape you want. As a side note, led displays are capable of the same dark blacks as OLED but with far brighter whites (so the image quality would be amazing).

What do you guys think. Could modular led displays eventually be the future of retro gaming once the last CRT dies (and once they become affordable)?

I personally have not seen one being used for gaming (of any sort) but I have seen one showing a windows desktop and it looked pretty good.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:30 am 



Joined: 19 Jul 2017
Posts: 671
It's a neat idea, but the cost is going to have to come way down.

What I want to know is:
* What additional equipment is needed to drive these? I can't imagine that these things have a simple HDMI input, especially if they're intended to be installed in arrays.
* What are the power requirements?
* Would these be capable of supporting light gun games? If not out of the box, could they be programmed to draw line-by-line, or pixel-by-pixel, in an attempt to mimic how a CRT draws images?


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:44 am 


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I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that these are probably very laggy. It is at the very least the absolute last concern when it comes to digital signage.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:09 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 114
Led displays don't produce any additional lag. If anything, it has the potential to be better in this respect.

As always, the surrounding electronics matter. Lag is made worse by scaling, other image processing and poor quality joysticks. E.g. SD CRTs = no lag. HD CRTs that process and scale the image = lag. No change in display tech required.

The thing to bear in mind is that, when Samsung (or someone else) perfects their micro-led tech for the consumer market, every display will eventually use it. It is superior to any current display tech including OLED, which is saying something (as OLED is amazing). It's why a bunch of companies are trying to be first including Sony and Apple.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:40 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 114
nmalinoski wrote:
It's a neat idea, but the cost is going to have to come way down.

What I want to know is:
* What additional equipment is needed to drive these? I can't imagine that these things have a simple HDMI input, especially if they're intended to be installed in arrays.
* What are the power requirements?
* Would these be capable of supporting light gun games? If not out of the box, could they be programmed to draw line-by-line, or pixel-by-pixel, in an attempt to mimic how a CRT draws images?



You are correct on the cost. I'm thinking about 5 years from now (or more) when CRTs become even harder to find. At one point, a Sony PVM or BVM was too expensive for gamers. Eventually, they were available cheap on the used market and we snapped them up. The difference here is that the tech is also being developed for the consumer market, so, to make that work, prices have to come down...

On the input ports: The very latest full color fine pitch led panels I have seen use regular computer monitor type inputs like DVI or VGA for the source. Full color panels are almost always driven by a computer although I saw a huge one on a cruise ship playing a regular DVD a few years ago. Simple 1, 2 or 3 color led signs are often driven from an SD card with an RGB controller as they are just a bunch of tiny light bulbs.

Don't think of a large led display as being like driving 12 seperate monitors like it would be with LCD display walls. LCD walls require a bunch of GPUs, like an Nvidia Mosaic set-up or a high dollar video wall processor. On the LED walls I have seen, each panel links to the next to form a single (custom resolution) screen. I.e. Only one source is required. You also can't see any border between panels even with bright white imagery.

I believe the modular Samsung wall also works like this. I doubt they would expect average consumers to figure out old-school multi screen wall processors... my wife doesn't even know what HDMI is.

Screen burn is not an issue either but it hasn't really been an issue on any display tech except in old arcades where they ran the same source 24/7. There are no phosphors to burn with led displays anyway. Just a bunch of tiny light bulbs.

A minor benefit is that led is more economical to run that led backlit LCD because there is no (permanently on) backlight draining power for no reason. Like OLED, leds can be full on or full off. When the screen is black, no power is drawn. It only draws the power levels of LCD with an all white screen.

I seriously doubt they could work with old light guns designed for crt. So, we would be no worse off in this respect but no better. I can live with that though. The infrared guns used by Raw Thrills on Terminator Salvation arcade would work and they are at least as good as the old light guns.

In my head, my future living room has an ultra-wide display with rows of two 4:3 panels side by side. When not gaming, it's an awesome 2.40:1 movie screen. Then, for vintage gaming, the bottom two become my side by side two-player Daytona screens, while one of the corner panels is my 27" native 320 x 240 display for cga games.

A lot of led panels individually are square which makes it possible arrange in any format you want. In theory, they could be set up to display horizontal and vertical games correctly without moving anything.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:14 pm 


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Joined: 30 Apr 2012
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Location: Kentucky
Classicgamer wrote:
Led displays don't produce any additional lag. If anything, it has the potential to be better in this respect.

As always, the surrounding electronics matter. Lag is made worse by scaling, other image processing and poor quality joysticks. E.g. SD CRTs = no lag. HD CRTs that process and scale the image = lag. No change in display tech required.

The thing to bear in mind is that, when Samsung (or someone else) perfects their micro-led tech for the consumer market, every display will eventually use it. It is superior to any current display tech including OLED, which is saying something (as OLED is amazing). It's why a bunch of companies are trying to be first including Sony and Apple.


Unless I'm misinterpreting you, you're being pedantic here. What I guess you want me to say is "the electronics driving these commercial signage displays probably have a lot of input lag".

If what you really are trying to say is that they won't have lag because they will natively be ~240p, then that doesn't explain why 1080p TVs have lag when fed a 1080p signal. Either way, since these are designed to be configurable in any way the electronics are going to have to do some sort of scaling and processing.

MicroLED is a completely different topic. If they actually bring it to market, it'll be a cool display tech, but you're only going to see it on 4K TV sets, maybe phones if they can get the pixel density really high. If they brought it over to signage I'm right back to being concerned about lag.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:59 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 114
bobrocks95 wrote:
Classicgamer wrote:
Led displays don't produce any additional lag. If anything, it has the potential to be better in this respect.

As always, the surrounding electronics matter. Lag is made worse by scaling, other image processing and poor quality joysticks. E.g. SD CRTs = no lag. HD CRTs that process and scale the image = lag. No change in display tech required.

The thing to bear in mind is that, when Samsung (or someone else) perfects their micro-led tech for the consumer market, every display will eventually use it. It is superior to any current display tech including OLED, which is saying something (as OLED is amazing). It's why a bunch of companies are trying to be first including Sony and Apple.


Unless I'm misinterpreting you, you're being really pedantic here. What I guess you want me to say is "the electronics driving these commercial signage displays probably have a lot of input lag".

If what you really are trying to say is that they won't have lag because they will natively be ~240p, then I'd love to hear your explanation on why 1080p TVs have lag when fed a 1080p signal.

MicroLED is a completely different topic. If they actually bring it to market, it'll be a cool display tech, but you're only going to see it on 4K TV sets, maybe phones if they can get the pixel density really high. If they brought it over to signage I'm right back to being concerned about lag.



No, what I am saying is that you are wrong. I'm not being pedantic. You are just saying something that isn't true. There is no reason why led panels would have more lag than current display tech.

The point on the electronics is that you can cause lag on any display tech with poor processing.

Just because a display is used for signage and lag is usually not a concern for outdoor signage, doesn't mean there will be more lag. LCD panels are also used in signage and again, this tells you nothing about the potential lag. Every display tech ever made has been used for signage at some point.

Scaling is just one of the image processing features that cause lag. Modern TVs often have features like frame interpolation, for example. This is why quality TVs often have a "game mode" which turns off all unnecessary image processing.

Feeding any fixed pixel display it's exact native res is almost always the right thing to do as it reduces lag and scaling artifacts.

Micro-led is not a different discussion. It's exactly the same tech. It's just Samsung's term for their ultra fine pitch panels marketed to consumers.

I'm not sure you are understanding the key point here, which is the modular nature of these display. The Samsung wall only achieves 4K or 8k by linking 8 or 16 individual panels. All of the currently made individual panels have a far lower resolution - one that is closer to the needs of vintage gaming. I am not suggesting that we play SF2 on a 150" video wall. I'm saying we could use one or a small number to make a 240 or 480 line 4:3 display.

There is a huge number of options for led panels starting at 16 x 16 dots. These can and are used to make custom size, res and shape displays in any format. They are even available to make round screens.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:04 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 114
Classicgamer wrote:
bobrocks95 wrote:
Classicgamer wrote:
Led displays don't produce any additional lag. If anything, it has the potential to be better in this respect.

As always, the surrounding electronics matter. Lag is made worse by scaling, other image processing and poor quality joysticks. E.g. SD CRTs = no lag. HD CRTs that process and scale the image = lag. No change in display tech required.

The thing to bear in mind is that, when Samsung (or someone else) perfects their micro-led tech for the consumer market, every display will eventually use it. It is superior to any current display tech including OLED, which is saying something (as OLED is amazing). It's why a bunch of companies are trying to be first including Sony and Apple.


Unless I'm misinterpreting you, you're being really pedantic here. What I guess you want me to say is "the electronics driving these commercial signage displays probably have a lot of input lag".

If what you really are trying to say is that they won't have lag because they will natively be ~240p, then I'd love to hear your explanation on why 1080p TVs have lag when fed a 1080p signal.

MicroLED is a completely different topic. If they actually bring it to market, it'll be a cool display tech, but you're only going to see it on 4K TV sets, maybe phones if they can get the pixel density really high. If they brought it over to signage I'm right back to being concerned about lag.



No, what I am saying is that you are wrong. I'm not being pedantic. You are just saying something that isn't true. There is no reason why led panels would have more lag than current display tech.

The point on the electronics is that you can cause lag on any display tech with poor processing.

Just because a display is used for signage and lag is usually not a concern for outdoor signage, doesn't mean there will be more lag. I'm not worried about falling to my death today. That doesn't mean there will be a huge hole outside my front door. LCD panels are also used in signage and again, this tells you nothing about the potential lag. Every display tech ever made has been used for signage at some point.

Scaling is just one of the image processing features that cause lag. Modern TVs often have features like frame interpolation, for example. This is why quality TVs often have a "game mode" which turns off all unnecessary image processing.

Feeding any fixed pixel display it's exact native res is almost always the right thing to do as it reduces lag and scaling artifacts. But, no matter if you perform scaling on your computer or a scaler before it reaches your tv, scaling can cause lag.

Micro-led is not a different discussion. It's exactly the same tech. It's just Samsung's term for their ultra fine pitch panels marketed to consumers.

I'm not sure you are understanding the key point here, which is the modular nature of these display. The Samsung wall only achieves 4K or 8k by linking 8 or 16 individual panels. All of the currently made individual panels have a far lower resolution - one that is closer to the needs of vintage gaming. I am not suggesting that we play SF2 on a 150" video wall. I'm saying we could use one or a small number to make a 240 or 480 line 4:3 display.

There is a huge number of options for led panels starting at 16 x 16 dots. These can and are used to make custom size, res and shape displays in any format. They are even available to make round screens.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:05 pm 


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Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 2155
Location: Kentucky
Classicgamer wrote:
No, what I am saying is that you are wrong. I'm not being pedantic. You are just saying something that isn't true. There is no reason why led panels would have more lag than current display tech.

The point on the electronics is that you can cause lag on any display tech with poor processing.

Just because a display is used for signage and lag is usually not a concern for outdoor signage, doesn't mean there will be more lag. LCD panels are also used in signage and again, this tells you nothing about the potential lag. Every display tech ever made has been used for signage at some point.

Scaling is just one of the image processing features that cause lag. Modern TVs often have features like frame interpolation, for example. This is why quality TVs often have a "game mode" which turns off all unnecessary image processing.

Feeding any fixed pixel display it's exact native res is almost always the right thing to do as it reduces lag and scaling artifacts.

Micro-led is not a different discussion. It's exactly the same tech. It's just Samsung's term for their ultra fine pitch panels marketed to consumers.

I'm not sure you are understanding the key point here, which is the modular nature of these display. The Samsung wall only achieves 4K or 8k by linking 8 or 16 individual panels. All of the currently made individual panels have a far lower resolution - one that is closer to the needs of vintage gaming. I am not suggesting that we play SF2 on a 150" video wall. I'm saying we could use one or a small number to make a 240 or 480 line 4:3 display.

There is a huge number of options for led panels starting at 16 x 16 dots. These can and are used to make custom size, res and shape displays in any format. They are even available to make round screens.


I never said or even implied that LED display tech would inherently have more lag than any other type of display. I said that these panels meant for *digital signage* probably have a lot of lag. The fact that they are very customizable only makes this more likely. Feel free to blow a few thousand dollars or whatever on some of these panels if you really want to prove me wrong though.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:06 pm 


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Deep down in your heart, you know there's no way you could replace your beautiful Ikegami CRT with one of those bland, soulless, sad LED thingies :P


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:09 pm 


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Xer Xian wrote:
Deep down in your heart, you know there's no way you could replace your beautiful Ikegami CRT with one of those bland, soulless, sad LED thingies :P


Hehe, for that price you could get at least 2 good 19/20 BVM/HTM/DT-V monitors.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:32 pm 


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Who cares about the price anyway :)

I want to leave this one here - it's in italian but you can get an idea of what they say thanks to google translated subs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKsgWxZ_5zY


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:34 pm 


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As a person that owns the equipment to drive an LED wall, I'll tell you that it isn't a miracle.

Response time isn't great. That's blur, people. Although, there are many expensive panels than I have not seen.

The panels themselves are dumb--unless you buy a branded panel that's locked into a manufacturer's ecosystem. Most don't have any processing. You build your own array and use your own gear to drive them. (That means the panels shouldn't add significant latency)

A Calibre/Kramer video wall processor can get the job done with about 25ms total lag. So, lag isn't the issue.

The blurry image and image quality are the big concerns. Looks like a big ass Color Gameboy.

If you want zero lag big screen display tech, you might consider asking for laser light driven projectors with DLP tech. You need a fast color wheel as well. The laser light should provide enough light to use black frame insertion. Sony has the tech now. The high end Sony projectors are very nice. Unfortunately, their internal processing is slow. One of those with the option to bypass all internal processing (and use an external projector-featured video processor for color processing, scaling, and geometry) would be a much better solution for big screen gaming.
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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:41 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 114
Xer Xian wrote:
Deep down in your heart, you know there's no way you could replace your beautiful Ikegami CRT with one of those bland, soulless, sad LED thingies :P



You are right. Well... not by choice anyway. But nothing lasts forever so eventually we'll all have to replace our CRTs or give up vintage gaming at native res and refresh rates.

So, I am hoping, that before my CRTs die, there will be a viable option for displaying 240p on a 4:3 screen without hideous upscaling.

So far, every new display tech has been fixed pixel and a res that is further and further from what we need. Full color fine pitch led displays is the only one so far that has a chance of supporting native low resolutions, a corse enough pitch and 4:3 aspect...

The real genius of CRT is that they can switch res. I hope one day there will be a new tech that isn't fixed res....


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:05 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 114
orange808 wrote:
As a person that owns the equipment to drive an LED wall, I'll tell you that it isn't a miracle.

Response time isn't great. That's blur, people. Although, there are many expensive panels than I have not seen.

The panels themselves are dumb--unless you buy a branded panel that's locked into a manufacturer's ecosystem. Most don't have any processing. You build your own array and use your own gear to drive them. (That means the panels shouldn't add significant latency)

A Calibre/Kramer video wall processor can get the job done with about 25ms total lag. So, lag isn't the issue.

The blurry image and image quality are the big concerns. Looks like a big ass Color Gameboy.

If you want zero lag big screen display tech, you might consider asking for laser light driven projectors with DLP tech. You need a fast color wheel as well. The laser light should provide enough light to use black frame insertion. Sony has the tech now. The high end Sony projectors are very nice. Unfortunately, their internal processing is slow. One of those with the option to bypass all internal processing (and use an external projector-featured video processor for color processing, scaling, and geometry) would be a much better solution for big screen gaming.



I already have (several) projectors. My main one is a top of the line dlp made by ProjectionDesign. These things had a retail tag of over $30,000 and the lens alone was $7000. Dlp projectors have all the same issues found on any other fixed pixel display. They look good when fed their native res and everything else is a compromise.

I use it sometimes to play PS3 games. Anything 3d looks great on the big screen. Anything sprite based looks horrible (like it does on any 1080p display). I have a 110" black screen (which works with the lights on) in my living room. My son loves playing Sega Ralley with the force feedback wheel. They have a place for gaming, but not vintage gaming.

The high end full color / fine pitch panels I have seen didn't have any issues with blur- at least not that I could notice. If there were, I am fairly sure Samsung (or Sony, or Apple) will figure it out if they are to put them in consumer living rooms.

From our point of view, the less image processing the better. We just need a way to hook up an RGB signal and maybe some adjustment pots.

I don't think the tech is quite where we want it to be yet but it is close enough for us to have some hope. I am going to see some Planar led panels in January (for unrelated reasons). I am going to see if I can bring a 240p device to try. The Planar panels have HDMI inputs but that shouldn't be an issue if I have a source that can output 240p over hdmi. I'll try and get some pics if I getting it running.


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 Post subject: Re: New display tech that might actually work for retro gami
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:08 pm 


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Another thing worth considering with video walls is that the uniformity is usually god awful, making the seems where the panels are connected very noticeable.


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