We're happy to report that we didn't have any major damage to our factory from the recent hurricane/typhoon that passed through the Korean peninsula last week. We did have a complete power outage for a while do to a downed power line next to our building. We had some dicey moments bringing our vacuum pumps back up, but dodged many bullets in getting the factory back up.
Many thanks to our factory team for their calm, quick, and expert actions that helped us through what could have been very serious. Thankfully, we didn't lose too much time in getting back into production and shipments.
Thanks for your patience and understanding through the unexpected shut-down.
Community Management Team
A hurricane (typhoon) is passing through South Korea today. Some power lines have come down near our factory affecting our factory as well many other industrial building arounds us. We are waiting for utility services to restore power. For now, our factory is non-operational. We will resume operations as soon as power is restored. We will keep you informed through our blog.
Community Management Team
We are happy to announce that the 720p scaling feature is now available as a free firmware upgrade on our downloads page (click here
Update 1.10 releases the new feature that up-scales 720p content to fill the entire 1080p display of the ST1080. Update 1.10 supports all 2D formats previously supported by the ST1080, and also supports frame-packed and top-and-bottom 3D formats. The side-by-side format is substantially more work, so we will release that at a future time. Update 1.10 also includes the previous bug fix Update 1.01.
Update 1.10 is available for PC users now, an we will release a version for Mac users in the near future. Please read the installation instructions for details.
In other news, we have resumed shipping after implementing additional assembly and design changes to address the focus issue. The rate of incidence for blurry units was very low, however, we felt that even that was not acceptable. Reworking completed units is taking some time, so our shipments will be a little slow to start, but once rework is complete we should be back up to full capacity.
From the Community Management Team
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.
As we prepare for another week of shipments, we have one request and one FYI:We need your phone number to ship your order!
A request to all customers who have not yet received their shipments: Please email us your phone number right away.
- Email us at sales@SiliconMicroDisplay.com
- Include one or more of the following: name on the order, date of order, and/or the order confirmation number (a 15-character number that starts with OCN...)
- Include your phone number
We made 3 email attempts to reach some customers. Some have not responded. We will make one more attempt via PayPal this time to reach you. If we don't hear from you in about 2 weeks, we have no choice but to cancel your order. We apologize for this situation, and hope that we will receive everyone's phone numbers.Shipment tracking numbers become available 24 hours after shipment.
We ship orders Monday through Friday. However, the tracking numbers are given to us within 24 hours after we have dropped off the shipments with our shipper.
The reason for this is because EMS Premium (our primary carrier) generates the tracking number only when the shipment is booked on a flight.
So if we say that we've shipped your order, then we will not be able to provide the tracking number for about 24 hours. In the past, we've waited until we had the tracking number before sending the shipment confirmation email. However, in some cases, customers contacted us to see if their order was shipped, so this issue has come up several times. We hope that this information provides an explanation for the 24 hour delay.
The Order Management Team
A quick update on how we're doing with shipments of the ST1080.
- We are still working through our back log. Our goal is to ship all back log orders by mid-July. We haven't been able to ramp up as quickly as we had planned. The added quality control measures have also affected our overall manufacturing throughput.
- We've resolved all the reported quality control issues (corner blurriness, top half blurriness, dust in the display (reported as dead pixels), and excessive "light bleeding") and have implemented assembly procedure changes as well as additional training.
- We also implemented additional quality control check points. This does affect the manufacturing throughput, but we feel that it's more important to ship high quality in lower volume than low quality at high volume.
- We are also planning to increase manufacturing throughput to additional infrastructural changes as well as additional production personnel.
We ask for you continued patience and understanding as we work through these growth related events.
This morning, the Community Forum section of our website went down for several hours. It is now back up.
The forum feature is a third party functionality, and their servers went down. We don't have control over their server so we were stuck in resolving it. Fortunately, everything is back up. If this occurs again, we will evaluate other companies.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Thank you for letting us know where the online conversations are regarding the ST1080.
We looked through a couple of discussion boards, and we found some mis-information that I wanted to address:
- "Deleting commenter's review" -- We have not deleted any commenter on our blog. We did ban one commenter because of multiple complaints by others and the nature of his comments prior to the time we began shipping. We respect and appreciate honest, and constructive comments on our blog and User's Forum. Our policy is to allow all comments except when there are multiple complaints by others and the nature of the comments is offensive.
- "Practically everyone is reporting the same issues" -- We've shipped over a thousand units, and we've tracked 7 customers who have contacted us regarding any problems. We have one return, and possibly three more (we're working to resolve the issues before a refund, per our RMA process). There are also some customers who have not received their unit yet and have emailed us to express their concern about some comments on our blog and elsewhere. We acknowledge that the issues are real and that the customers' experiences are real. We are working on the issues as they are reported to us. Unfortunately, searching the web for quality control and customer complain issues is not a repeatable or scalable process, so we are asking all customers to contact us if they are experiencing issues with their ST1080. We encourage any customer experiencing problems or dissatisfaction to contact our technical support (techsupport@SiliconMicroDisplay.com) or our customer support (support@SiliconMicroDisplay.com).
- Dead pixel -- Our pixel pitch is 8.5um, so one or two dead pixels will be extremely difficult, if not impossible to see. There may be scattering from our prism sheet or dust, but dead pixels are unlikely to be the issue. Additionally, unlike HDTV or desktop monitors where dead pixels appear as pixels that are turned on, the LCoS technology is such that dead pixels are dark so it will be even more difficult to see. In our past, we've supplied rear projection TV components at high volume to LG electronics under their very stringent quality specifications, including the number of dead pixels. We feel confident that dead pixels are an unlikely culprit.
We are noticing on other forum websites that as one or few customers post a comment about their experience with the ST1080, many others who don't have a unit are jumping to conclusions and making extreme statements -- throwing the baby out with the bathwater, if you will. We have been open and honest with you, and in that context, we hope you will engage with and help us. We are listening to you and adjusting our product to make it even better.
We can't address every issue that someone posted on another website, so we hope that customers and potential customers will contact us directly with their problems in this blog, the User's Forum, or via email.
We are aware of some comments by customers and the pursuant comments and concerns by others. I'd like to take this opportunity to address some of them.
There are comments based on a photograph of an ST1080 with what's described as "opaque light" and "haze" in dark scenes. This is a 3 part answer.
- Manufacturing variability. There is some manufacturing variability in the product. Most customers have not reported this problem. However, the reality is that there are some customers who see this problem and it's real. The severity and pervasiveness of the issue is relatively small at this point. But we are monitoring it carefully both from the customer feedback side as well as outgoing quality control. For those who know and care about quality control, OQC is not a particularly good way to manage quality since it only catches issue before going out instead of finding the issues in the process. We are addressing all quality control methods that we have in place.
- Prism delamination. In some cases, the prism component may be partially or completely delaminated from the optics. The partial cases are obvious to detect because you will see a segment within the image where the delaminated part has poor image and the line between the two regions is clear. In the complete delamination case, the overall image will appear to be hazy. We are also addressing this in our manufacturing process where the prism component is assembled to the optical module sub-assembly.
- Nature of LCoS technology. The Liquid Crystal on Silicon technology used in the ST1080 is by design a reflective technology with edge LED lighting. This means that like your desktop monitor or HDTV, the edge lighting is always turned on even in dark scenes or when there is no video information to be displayed. So, when viewing very dark screen, the viewing experience is similar to viewing the same scene on your HDTV or desktop monitor in a normally lit room. However, the overall viewing experience should be evaluated through a full range of content including dark and bright scenes. Similarly, any display's overall image quality is not just one factor like contrast, but about the combination of all factors including resolution, color reproduction, display fill-factor, gamma correction, CLUT, etc.
There are also some questions about blurry corners in the display.
- Viewing angle. Viewing angle is determine by the angle at which the unit sits on your nose. We supplied each unit with two nose pads (one installed and one in the box), so, one nose pad may give you a better picture and focus. As you can imagine, people's nose and ear geometries and angles vary greatly. We did our best to accommodate as many variations possible, but it may not be a great fit for everyone. Please note that most wearable displays have this issue.
- Distrance to display windows. The distance between your eyes to the display window can also affect the focus. The farther away your eyes are from the display window, the greater the possibility that you will see focus dropping off towards the outer corners and edges. The effect is similar to wearing glasses and looking at object near the outer edges of your glasses. Also, users wearing glasses can also be affected by distance to the display window.
- Minimum font size. We recommend a minimum of 12 point font size for viewing near the outer edges and corners.
As we gather more information from users and comments online, we will try to address them to the best of our abilities. We also hope for two things: (1) Please consider the online comments as well as your personal experience together to formulate your opinion of the ST1080. We have many customers who don't read the blog or comment on other websites that are perfectly satisfied with their ST1080 experience. Although the issues raised here and at other places are legitimate experiences, we hope that you will formulate your own opinions. (2) We hope that you will continue to engage with us in this discussion about what is good and bad about the ST1080. We value your opinions and we're doing everything we can to respond to your feedback. One advantage of a small company like ours is that we can respond very quickly. We hope that in addition to our ST1080, our response to our customers will be equally amazing.
It's come to our attention that there are many questions about what display formats the ST1080 supports for console 3D games. We will discuss PC games in a future blog post, because that configuration has a lot more variations (graphics board, games, etc.). We've heard about this not just here in the blog, but also through emails from customers who do not read our blog.
Xbox has built-in scaling, so some
3D games that are native 720p can be set up to display in scaled up 1080p. Playstation, on the other had, is restricted to 720p output, so the display--in this case, the ST1080--has to do the scaling. This means that until we release the 3D 720p scaling update, Playstation games will be displayed at 720p native.
For both console platforms, we started a section in the Users Manual page of our website with instructions on how to set up various games for the supported formats
. We started with some of the games and platforms that we've heard about, but we hope that you will help by giving additional suggestions. We would love to hear from you about:
(1) games titles and platform
(2) detailed instructions on how you set up your console/game to get the 3D display format/resolution.
If we get enough suggestions and the list becomes long, then we'll probably create a dedicated page on our website for easier access.