What criteria should I use when choosing a display?

If you have a 1920 x 1080 monitor or a 1080p TV laying around unused, you’re probably best off using that. If you want to step your game up, you can purchase a display specifically for your RaspberryPint. We typically recommend monitors over TVs, unless you want something larger than 27″.

The three most important features for a display used as a digital taplist are (in order of priority): Panel type, VESA mounts, and USB hubs. Here’s why.

Panel Type

The panel is what actually displays the image. Behind it is a backlight, which provides the brightness that comes through the panel. Clearly, this is an important piece of the display.

On a digital taplist, we’re primarily interested in screen size, viewing angle, clarity, coating. The best bang-for-your-buck happens to be the 22-24″ range. Anything smaller, and you’re likely losing 1920 x 1080 resolution. Anything larger, and you start to pay a steeper and steeper premium.

There are main families of panels: TN, VA and IPS.

The TN and VA families of panel both use a thin-film to produce good image quality at a low price. They both have the same downfall in that their viewing angles are absolutely terrible. When viewed more than 15ยบ off-center, they appear to fade drastically. Colors appear to distort with a heavy tint, or even invert. They make an excellent choice when used on a budget and placed at a computer whey they will always be viewed on-center. However, they are typically a poor choice for wall-mounting because of their extremely narrow viewing angle. When oriented vertically, their viewing angle becomes even smaller and color aberrations multiply during off-center viewing.

The IPS panel produces an excellent image with superb color reproduction. Their downfall is that they are typically more expensive than TN/VA panels. They also tend to be slightly thicker and experience some motion lag in fast-moving sequences due to RTC overshoot. That said, they will display an image with great fidelity, even when viewed at extreme angles.

We highly recommend the use of an IPS panel if using a monitor.

VESA Mounts

VESA mount holes allow you to use a wall mount. Not all monitors have them and without them, they cannot easily be wall-mounted. With some of the more popular monitor models, Chinese sellers on eBay have rigged up an adapter that replaces the monitor’s base and presents VESA mount holes instead. Unfortunately, they’re ~$25 and typically don’t save you anything once you pay for shipping.

For monitors, 100 mm x 100 mm VESA is most common.

75 mm x 75 mm is also sometimes seen. Quality wall mounts typically accept both sizes, sometimes even up to 200 mm x 200 mm.

USB Hub

If the monitor has a built-in USB hub, you can skip the AC/DC charger altogether and power the Pi directly from the display. That’s one less cord to string up the wall!

For the purpose of powering a Raspberry Pi, it does not matter if the hub is USB 2.0 or USB 3.0.

You can also connect the USB hub’s “upstream” port to your Raspberry Pi with a USB A to USB B cable to make use of the unoccupied USB ports. Peripherals can then be seamlessly plugged into the monitor instead of the Pi, which has been known to help alleviate stability issues stemming from power-hungry devices. A USB can provide at least 500 ma to each port, while the Pi can only provide 200 ma (split between its two ports!).

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