Virtual Reality Versus 4K Displays
Fountainhead News: Jan 20, 2017
We had an internal debate at Piksel recently about what the end game is between Virtual Reality and 4K. Will everyday people watch Netflix on projections or big screens on a wall, or will they watch it through personalized glasses or contact lens, where the video follows your line of sight no matter where you look?
Allow me to quote a much-experienced UK colleague, Philip Shaw, on his thoughts for VR:
As I understand it, the physiological limit of the human eye means that two pixels closer together than 1 arc minute (0.017 deg) cannot be differentiated.
This makes optimal display resolution a function of pixel density and viewing distance, really — ignoring effects of colour saturation, bleed and viewer age.
However, with holographic displays requiring higher pixels per inch than normal displays, 8K (or 10K) might find a role here in providing video feeds for displays that while physically smaller consume more data.
We then started breaking down some of the science of how involuntary saccadic eye movements will play a part in the future of displays strapped to your face.
So, I see two use cases in the future:
- External displays for high resolution laptops or phones. I have a big HDTV in my home office that when trying to use it as an external display, it looks like garbage because it’s not the same resolution as the new MacBook Pro display. I follow a couple video folks on YouTube who are into the Red cameras, and they’ve often said that even though it records in 8K, and YouTube supports 8K uploads it doesn’t matter because no displays are on the market to view it yet. So there’s that.
- AR/VR glasses as others have pointed out. Based on my own experience testing various VR headsets, the limiting factor is the Screen-Door Effect. The criss-cross pattern of pixels you see from that pesky “retina” display being so close to your eyeball that it’s no longer retina. So, it needs to get to the point where you can’t see a pixel next to another pixel. But if staring through the screen is what matters due to more use cases of AR, then what we’re really talking about is the crystal clarity of not looking through any screen but just seeing a digital object in a certain part of your sight line. As Magic Leap’s patents point out, their idealized projection tech is about pushing an image onto the back of your retina, thereby getting around the display altogether.
So, CES overloaded with 8K display is a short-term stop gap. Even watching movies in the future, might not be about having a big ole TV stuck to the side of your living room wall, but that we’re both wearing some sort of retina-printing digital image device and watching the same thing through our same glasses at the same time.
I think the real question here is not what size display happens after 4K, but whether or not there will even be a display market in the future. What would it mean when displays are obsolete, especially for someone like Piksel, who’s job it is to stream to that retina eyeball?
from Stories by Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/2jgDRMf