Here are a few updates:
- We've completed the 720p to 1080p scaling feature. It's currently in beta testing at some of our key corporate customers, and we should be completing the beta program within the next few days. Once we clean it up, we will make it available as a free firmware upgrade from our website. We will write another blog post when we're ready to release this feature. This feature is pretty significant as it will dramatically improve the user's experience when viewing 720p content on our 1080p display.
- We recently had some incoming quality problems with one of our key component suppliers. We rejected the out-of-spec components and are waiting for a new batch of parts that meet our incoming quality specification. This unfortunately added a delay of a few days to all orders. We apologize for this delay. We believe rejecting the poor quality components was the right thing to do so that we don't pass that to our customers.
- We've read in our Forum and in our emails that one reviewer (TheGameVeda) of the ST1080 is a contractor or employee of SiliconMicroDisplay paid to say good things about the ST1080. We want to say, unequivocally, that TheGameVeda is not in any way associated with SiliconMicroDisplay. He is a customer and his opinions are in no way influenced by us.
As most of you know, we are a small company and, therefore, have small company challenges in dealing with ramp up issues and doing additional marketing to promote our products. What we are is agile – agile to listen to our customers and to respond as we are with the 720p scaling feature and working on something that 3D PC gamers will be happy about (announcement to come). What we are is committed. All of us at SiliconMicroDisplay have sacrificed significantly both personally and professionally because we believe in our core technology and the vision of where our technology will go.
We have received tremendous feedback from our customers who are delighted by our product. We have also received clear feedback about where our product and service have faltered. We are committed to both building on the good and fixing the bad. We thank you for your enthusiasm, support and praise. We also thank you for your patience as we continue to work on things to improve our products and services.
In the rush of getting the product out the door, I didn't get a chance to update you on some great updates to the product configuration. Here's a short summary:
Additional 2D and 3D support:
We heard you loud and clear: you want more input video formats. Below is the full list of 2D and 3D formats supported by the ST1080. Additionally, if there are other formats that we can support in the future, we will make the firmware upgrades available for download from the Support area of our website. Please be sure to register your product on our support website (it'll be live in a couple of days) so that we can contact you when new firmware upgrades are available.
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ST1080 Supported Formats
1920x1080p_24hz Frame-packed (full resolution)
1920x1080p_24hz Top-Bottom (half resolution)
1920x1080i_60hz Side-by-Side (half resolution)
1280x720p_60hz Frame-packed (full resolution)
1280x720p_60hz Top-Bottom (half resolution)
1920x1080p_60hz Side-by-Side (half resolution)
1920x1080p_60hz Top-Bottom (half resolution)
1920x1080p_30hz Top-Bottom (full resolution)
1920x1080i_50hz Side-by-Side (half resolution)
1280x720p_50hz Frame-packed (full resolution)
1280x720p_50hz Top-Bottom (half resolution)
AC Adapter with integrated USB cable:
We were able to find a nice USB AC adapter that has (1) an integrated USB cable with a micro-USB connect for connecting to the ST1080 Controller, and (2) regional AC plugs that are removable. We will pack the correct AC adapter for your country. If you need connectors for other regions, then please email us to let us know. If we get enough requests, we may just offer them for sale as an accessory on our website.
Quick Start Guide and registering your product:
Your shipment will include a Quick Start Guide. Detailed product information, including a user's manual, will be available only on our website. We're trying to be green.
Please register your product to take full advantage of the one-year limited warranty as well as to get on the mailing list for product notices such as firmware upgrades and other incentives on future products.
We are pleased to announce that we have shipped the first units today.
Here's a picture of the very first unit that we shipped to a USA customer. Of course, we put it in a separate shipping box.
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The ST1080 product box. This is literally the first unit that we shipped today.
As we mentioned, we are working around to clock to fill the large backlog that we have. Many, many people have been asking for an estimated time of arrival for their order. Unfortunately, we can't say with any certainty. However, we will provide periodic updates in our blog.
Over the next days and weeks, we will be adding some features on our website like support, user's reference, and customer registration, among others. So be on the look out for that.
Thanks in advance for your continued patience as we work our way through the order backlog.
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One of many racks holding in-process ST1080s. This rack shows the chassis for the Jet Black model. The plast wrapped pile on the upper right holds the see-through lens. We will ship with the light blocker applied, which can be easily removed.
Ok. The time has finally come and we are happy to announce that we will begin shipping on Monday. It's a bit later than what we were thinking at the last update. We appreciate your patience, continued enthusiasm and support.
We will work through this weekend (many in the future, I'm sure) and through multiple production-shifts to fulfill orders. We have a very big backlog of orders, so we will endeavor to work through them to the best of our ability.
We will continue to use this blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter channels to keep you posted on updates and news. We will also update our website with a Support section with detailed feature information, important product information, and other support related topics. Be sure to register your product (will be available at www.SiliconMicroDisplay.com/register) to receive news about firmware upgrades and other important product news.
First of all, we apologize for the long delay in giving you an update on the ST1080. We wanted to provide accurate information, so we've held off on a status longer than we intended. We realized this has caused some concern on your part, and we don't take that lightly. We just didn't want to say one thing and miss on it.
In the month of April, most of the design and launch team traveled to our manufacturing facility in Korea to work on the final tasks before shipping the product. We're working around the clock, literally, to get through the final tasks.
One of the final taks was to finish the regulatory compliance testing to get the certification marks like FCC, CE, etc.
We ran into a problem which has since been fixed, but it took more time than we planned. We have re-entered the testing and things are progressing well, but this caused about a 1 week delay in our schedule.
Despite the delay, we will still ship sometime in May. It won't be May 1st, but we will probably ship our first units around the second week of the month pending the outcome of our testing. This means that the first customers will start receiving their orders around the third week.
We appreciate all the customers who have pre-ordered. We have not forgotten the faith that you put in us and in the product. We are working diligently to deliver on our promise.
Lastly, we wanted to show you our light blocker design. The picture of the ST1080 with the light blocker is shown below. We iterated several times on a clip-on-style light blocker, but we were not happy with the look, design, and added weight. We found a very simple yet very effective and virtually-zero-weight solution in the form of a reusable light blocker sticker. You will notice that the ST1080 doesn't look different at all, and that's because the light blocker is a sticker so it doesn't alter the case design. We will ship a couple of stickers with each order.
Our 25,000 sq. ft. ISO9001 manufacturing facility in Sacheon, South Korea.
Our first step is to inspect the incoming silicon wafer quality.
Next, we mate the wafer with ITO glass and dice it into individual microdisplays.
Wire bonding, testing, and quality control of the microdisplays. Then it's on to system assembly.
The ST1080 shown with light blocker sticker.
While contrast ratio is supposed to indicate technical performance of a display system, often times it is confusing. To clear up the confusion, let's start with an important aspect of a display system’s contrast: color performance. For an 8 bit system, a display must have a contrast of 256:1 or better to show all the intended colors. That is, as long as the ratio between the brightest maximum state and darkest minimum state is 256:1, the display will be capable of representing 16.8 million colors in RGB (8 bit x 3 = 24 bit color). Then why do some display products have contrast ratios of 10,000:1 or even 1million:1? And do those products in fact perform significantly better? The answer is that the manufacturer is saying that in a completely dark environment, the stated contrast ratio can be experienced. However, since normal viewing environments are rarely completely dark, such contrast ratios will not be experienced.
Under normal viewing environments, where even the black state of all displays is not truly black anymore due to ambient light reflecting off the screen, the effective contrast may be no more than 80:1. However, that does not mean that display itself will only give a 0.5 million color performance. One would simply see 16.8 million colors with some ambient background. For example, imagine looking at your computer monitor in a completely dark room versus the same with the lights on. With the lights on, you can still see all the colors, but the dark areas will not be as dark.
We state two contrast numbers, one for the capability of our microdisplays (1200:1) and one for the HMD system (100:1) which accounts for the LEDs that illuminate our LCoS displays. This means it will display 16.8 million colors even with 10% transparency. Our HMD was designed to provide a Full HD viewing experience without disconnecting the users from their surroundings and to inspire augmented reality applications.
We are announcing today that SiliconMicroDisplay will be an exhibitor at the 2012 International CES, January 10th - January 13th in Las Vegas.
We created a special website page for the details of our exhibition: http://www.siliconmicrodisplay.com/ces-2012.html
If you are planning to attend, we'd love to hear from you. We will have a bunch of fun social media stuff related to our booth, so please check out our website for details. We'd also love to hear ideas about what you'd like to see.
Thank you, everyone, for expressing so much interest in the ST1080 and our company. We love everyone's enthusiasm and we also love the momentum in the consumer HMD market right now. It's a great time and place to be.
We've been hard at work, in stealth-mode, for quite some time. So you can understand our excitement in introducing ourselves to you and our first consumer product: the ST1080
By now you've seen our product and our specs. You're probably intrigued. We want to hear from you, so tell us what you think.
In the days to come, we will cover many topics related to the ST1080, our company, and additional exciting news about other products and events.
Come back and visit. Don't be a stranger. To get the latest news, please "Like" us on Facebook and "Follow" us on Twitter (@SiMicroDisplay).