Nov 022013

On Thursday afternoon at 15:27 I launched my first KickStarter campaign. It’s called HDMIPi, (pronounced HD My Pi). Basically, it’s a 9 inch HDMI screen with 1280×800 pixels, so it’s high-definition, but not full HD.

I’ve joined forces with Cyntech for this project, as they have the experience and connections to see it through. Pimoroni will be doing the case/surround for it.

Since the Pi’s fantastic GPU can handle HD, an HD screen seems desirable. But small HD screens are stupidly expensive. So, in the spirit of Pi, we thought we’d see what could be done to bring the cost down.

Only one way to get the cost down

The only way it can be done is by buying them in large quantities, so we’re using a KickStarter campaign to fund a minimum order of 1000 screens, HDMI drivers and cases. This needs £55,000. Yikes!

If we could order them by the million, the price would start to get really interesting, but we’re starting with 1000 and we’ll see where that goes. Even 1000 is a big leap of faith for two individuals. By KickStarting it we have the chance to test the market without risking a large amount of capital up-front. (The main risk being that people wouldn’t buy it. We already have it working. I don’t really need 1000 screens. I reckon I can manage with 10.)

So what’s it like?

Really sharp and good quality. This photo shows how good it is. You can click it for the 6 Mb full resolution photo and zoom in as far as you like. I can’t put files this large on KickStarter, so it’s here instead.

HDMIPi with Raspberry Pi, filmed with RasPiCamcorder, click for full res (6 Mb)

Big thanks to the supporters

Gareth from 4tronix was very quick off the mark and was the first person to back the project. Gareth has some very interesting robotics products. I have one in for review. I’ve been somewhat distracted the last couple of days. I’ll get to it, I promise.

We also got some great tweets, links, Google+ posts, blog entries etc. from a lot of Raspberry Pi community members. I’d like to say a great big thank you to Liz for giving us a prominent plug on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s blog

It’s kind of weird. I’m normally one of the first to blog about things, but this time everyone else has got in ahead of me. But that’s OK. Thank you all for your continued support.

Half way in a day

We seem to have hit on something. I knew from going to Jams that a small HDMI screen would be really useful, but I always balked at the cost.

In the first 24 hours we made 53% of our funding goal, which is beyond all my expectations. When you consider that we need £55,000 to get this project off the ground, it’s a fair old chunk of cash. We need that much to be able to buy at least 1000 sets of parts.

As it stands right now (11:22 on Saturday November 2nd, 44 hours in) we have 88% – awesome! Nearly there. You can see an up to date figure in the widget on the right-hand side of this page.

The video

For once, I didn’t make the video myself. We thought it was time to bring in the professionals. We were really pleased with the video Oxyfire made for us to promote the campaign. They’re a really professional production company and the results speak for themselves…

Click here to see full details of the KickStarter campaign


Possible Stretch goal ideas

Here are the stretch goal ideas that have come up so far. In case you don’t know, a stretch goal is an incentive for existing backers to keep promoting the campaign. A target is set, such that if it’s reached another feature is “unlocked”.

So here are the ideas. We’re not sure which, if any we can do, but let us know in the comments if you think of others…

  • touch overlay
  • 5V regulator to power the Pi (on the HDMI board?)
  • short HDMI cable, maybe angular
  • a small speaker
  • vesa mountable surround?
  • Vesa mount attachment
  • stand built into case
  • case slot for camera
  • car mount
  • ‘barn doors’ type shield for outdoor use
  • alternative back plates to allow mounting of things externally

  62 Responses to “HDMIPi – the 9 inch portable Hi-Definition HDMI screen for the Raspberry Pi – KickStarter”

  1. Excellent write up!

    The Raspberry Pi Guy

  2. For me its definitely the touch screen. The others are nice but I can buy the screen and get some extra parts or make some alterations to achieve them myself. If its not a touch screen its really hard to add one retrospectively :(

  3. If you do a touch screen, you should consider a “Tablet” case, albeit a fat one. That said, a laptop case would be nice anyway.

  4. Car mount sounds good, especially if you end up getting touchscreen. ;)

  5. Hi

    You’re closer to my original idea: Build a case for screen + rpi. The case has a stand, so it’s easy for upright position.

    Ultimately, I’d like to see a portable solution: keyboard and screen mounted as a complete unit.

  6. Instead of/as well as, would it/could it be made to work with a LEAP Motion Controller, they look pretty cool!

    • I’ve got a LEAP. Its a USB device so it doesn’t matter what screen you have, you could even use it without a screen. It supposedly works with Linux although I’ve not tried it yet as last time I looked there wasn’t any software yet :(

  7. How about a rechargeable battery backpack to power the screen, and possibly the Pi (as mentioned above)? The battery backpack would also be very useful when using the HDMIPi as a monitor for cameras.

    A battery backpack would also tie in nicely with the other suggestions for making a case that would turn the Pi into a laptop. Besides a keyboard and a niche for the Pi, you’d also want to incorporate a powered USB hub.

  8. I am very impressed by R.Pi but the problem is I cannot afford it….or I had done alot of projects by R.Pi
    if anyone wants to sell it in valuable price for me it would be awesome.
    I love R.pi.

  9. Hi, I have recently bought a 7′ LCD touch screen for my Pi and it’s good quality it is 800×480 but honestly it looks very good. It also came with the small controller board. It cost me around £50 for the full set but unfortunatly it didn’t come with the touchscreen drivers for linux.

  10. I’d say that a stand, integrated or otherwise is my top strech goal. Should be pretty simple to do as well I’d hope! After that speaker and the 5V regulator for the Pi. A touchscreen would be quite nice but I can see that being difficult and expensive.

    However this goes I can see this being an epic project!

  11. Why limit your market?

    Yes, tell the Raspberry Pi users. BUT – then tell the Beaglebone users. Then the Cubieboard, Parallella, Xilinx & Altera FPGA developers… They ALL want a nice display. Several of them already have HDMI out, too.

    • Good ideas, thank you. Know anyone who can spread the word in those areas?

      • – look for max maxfield, he may be able to help with the programmable logic (and microcontroller) exposure.
        Then look to universities, many engineering / programming courses use Pis and similar. Basically, anywhere you see Terasic mentioned (they sell Altera boards) or Digilent (selling Xilinx) you have potential customers.

        After that, I’d suggest comments in user groups & forums, telling them what you have & looking for suggestions / feedback.
        There’s the Yahoo groups, and there’s google groups.
        Element14 forums have some people using LCDs on beaglebones etc, I’m sure a cheap screen would appeal. would be another spot to check out.

        Also send details to:

        I’d say good luck, but I see you’re already 135% funded…

  12. For me definitely touch overlay. 2nd choice would be 5V regulator. Some people are not good with electronic and it would make things easier.

    What about additional rewards? I am not sure thay can be added now but some ideas:
    * set of 2 screens
    * more expensive screen but backers are guaranteed to be the first ones to get it
    * set of 10 screens for small businesses?
    * get one of 10 first screens to be manufactured
    * buy prototype2 screen

  13. I’d like to use this screen for both my Raspberry Pi and my Canon 5D Mk III. Ideally, I’d like to see a tripod mouning hole on the bottom, so that I can use it with a Manfrotto magic arm. I’d also like to see a few holes on the back that could be used for mounting a battery pack.

  14. One of the best strech-goals would be to have this device including audio over HDMI.
    That would make it ideal for application in a rasberry-pi laptop; the device which many people yearn for.
    Having a screen & sound you only need to hook up a USB keyboard and connect a battery to power it and you are good to go!

  15. Great idea, just what is needed. Will really liberate thinking with regard to PasPi mobile projects.

    Just another thought, would the display module exist/operate as a standalone HDMI monitor such that you could use with any source, ie HDMI output from DSLR etc?

    With the encouraging support thus far I wonder what the price might ultimately be?


    • Yes our V2 prototype works with my Nikon D90, my Panasonic camcorder, my Dell laptop, my Galaxy S2 (with MHL adaptor ) and of course, the Raspberry Pi – including my RasPiCamcorder.

      Actually I think there could be a lot of DSLR users and videographers who would like a bigger screen than the onboard one. If you hang out in forums with these guys, please let them know about it :)

  16. A clip-on bezel (that goes over the top and part way down the sides) to shield sun light if used outdoors or in a car might be useful. Obviously it would need to be custom to fit your monitor case.

  17. Delighted to see the project is funded.

    Someone has suggested adding a 5V regulator to the board so as to be able to power the RPi from the 12V psu that will be required to power the screen. But, given that people will already have a 5V psu for their RPi (in fact, they probably have dozens lying around from those supplied with other gadgets!), wouldn’t it be much better to include a 5V to 12V DC-DC up-converter on the display board and provide it with a micro-USB power input port? The cost would be trivial (pence?), but it would save everyone from having to go out and purchase a 12V psu (probably a good £5, and useful for not much else).

    Look forward to receiving my screen in a few months time…

  18. 164% AWESOME

  19. HI Alex,
    You have a tough list to prioritise into stretch goals!
    I would put the screen functionality at the top of the list. With so much extra kickstarter funding, I think you should be exploring the addition of contrast and brightness controls (either on screen menu or simple buttons to adjust).
    Rather than complexity of integrating a speaker, it might be better to provide a head phone jack to output hdmi audio.
    5V regulator to power a pi would be a big plus and a plausible stretch goal.
    Although the touch screen request is a great idea, I’d recommend that be put off to the new year as a separate kick starter.
    Just my initial thoughts.

    • Graham,

      You are the voice of reason. ;) I can’t disagree with anything you’ve written. :)

    • You shouldn’t really need brightness and contrast on a modern TFT?

      • Hi Daniel,
        Which modern TFT are you referring to? All phones, tablets and laptop have a light sensor to auto adjust brightness and usually software to set a preference. Contrast control is not quite as important – but might be nice to consider users with impaired sight? Contrast might be solvable with a UI colour theme, but brightness will not.

        Alex, do the screens you have sourced have brightness and contrast input controls?

        • Yes they do. The HDMI boards both have 5 button controls and an on-screen menu so you can tweak the settings just like a conventional monitor (because that’s what it is really, I guess – an HDMI board for a monitor). ;)

        • Hi Graham, ahh I see where the confusion is, what you are referring to is backlight adjustment rather than brightness. I was thinking you meant more of the traditional brightness which you definitely don’t want as on a digital sourced display as it just makes the picture worse by washing it out in one direction or reducing its dynamic range in the other. And yes, good point backlight adjust would be useful on buttons rather than in software because it would mean people could dim it down to save battery life and turn it up in bright environment.

          With reference to contrast, like brightness this should not be necessary on a digital source as the screen should be calibrated to reproduce faithfully according to the input its given. Usually contrast controls on TFT’s are all just set to max anyway and just allow you to reduce the range so theres no useful adjustment anyway. And as you correctly pointed out partially sighted people would benefit much more from a theme adjustment anyway.

  20. Nice to see that mainstream (i.e. non-Raspberry-Pi-focused) media have started reporting the story :-)

    Looks like you’re going to be busy – hope that you have fun and it doesn’t get too stressful!

    • LOL Andrew the first three days was hectic but fun. Got a bit strung out Sunday night.

      Still enjoying the ride, but it’s quite an adrenaline rush. Extrapolating current trends gives scary numbers, but we all know the dangers of extrapolation don’t we kids? “Just say NO!” It’s gone a lot faster than we expected and now the mainstream media are showing interest (we’ve started breaking records) it could get really interesting.

  21. Hi Alex,
    I’m glad someone finally decided to make what everyone wantss. Thank you.
    As you’re seeking for ideas here’s what i’d like to see in no particular order:

    breakout plugs for hdmi, rj45, usb and perhaps SD card
    touch overlay
    5V regulator
    vesa mountable surround
    case slot for camera
    car mount

    Not sure if the breakout plugs will be interesting for anyone else.

  22. And another one :
    an integrated hdmi switch to choose between integrated raspberry and an external hdmi

  23. What will the prices be?

  24. Of the stretch goals a touch screen certainly comes top for me. After a touch screen the 5V regulator for the Pi so that I only need one PSU comes next.

    Can I suggest that you lay out the board so that the HDMI input on your driver board lines up with the HDMI output on the PI so that I can mount them side by side with an off the shelf HDMI coupler? If you do this and provide a 5V regulator then I’d be able to 3D-print a case that holds the Pi, HDMIPi driver and screen and it will all look neat and tidy.

  25. Well done on presenting the many facets/considerations of producing hdmipi along with Dave and Cyntech. My #1 comment/request would be that it run on a <= 12v power supply such as can be provided by a standard lead-acid battery. Thanks, and congrats on quickly surpassing your initial fundraising target.

  26. Very nice project.

    Touch screen would come first for me, but this must not delays the project by more than few weeks.

    In addition, please keep in mind the others … boards (such as, and those already mentioned). What I mean is that it will be nice to mount the rpi on this screen but make it so it could fit cases with different dimensions.

    Also, openhardware if possible would be higly appreciated.


  27. How hackable will the controller be / how much extra functionality will remain available? The quick mock-up you show of the controller-board slimming seems to show that everything for the vga input will still be there, except for the actual standard VGA connector itself. Would that continue past the mock-up stage? That is, will it be easy for somebody half-decent at through-hole soldering to hack up a connector and use VGA? Will the code that runs on the controller be open-source, and with reflashing enabled, so the adventurous among us can modify the osd, what the buttons do, etc? Will you be fully documenting the DDC/CI interface, so we can fully control the display from the pi, enabling things like dynamically changing the backlight based on battery, an ambient light sensor, etc?

    • Open source would be nice, but I have no idea. I expect our supplier will not want to OS that.

      VGA etc. we’ll bear it in mind.

      DDC/CI – if we can get docs, but that is questionable too.

  28. Good stuff, thank you!
    As for extra wishes, I’d rather keep the touch for another project than having a clunky one (one is iThing spoilt these days …). Or an optional separate layer to put on top.

    My top extra would be:
    – audio out (I’d prefer that to speakers)
    – common power supply
    – short hdmi cable
    – hdmi switch

  29. Maybe you could use mini-hdmi?? It could save some space. And maybe use the touchscreen as an extra or so, I think it also could bring the price down.

  30. How many touch points does the screen support?
    Windows 8, for example, requires a minimum of 5 points to certify OEM hardware.

  31. I think a simple resisitive touchscreen would be useful, but perhaps should be an optional extra that we can buy from you later. As it is an overlay, it would be nice if we could just open the case and add the touchscreen when it is available if we decide we want one.

    I would think that building this possibility into the case design should be quite simple.

    Great work on the kickstarter, I am really looking forward to receiving mine.

  32. Stretch goals:
    – Pi power
    – analog audio out
    – RAM Mount compatibility (RAM-B-202 or RAM-B-238,

  33. Great Job
    It would be great if this would replace a Psion Series7/netbook screen
    Psion case:
    Keyboard there touchscreen there
    11 contacts on the base

  34. […] course for something larger (9 inches), there is now HDMIPi 9 inch Screen , less portable but beautiful none the […]

  35. Hi Guys,
    for me the touchscreen overlay is a beautiful solutions.
    I’m very interested in this solution for a domotics controller wall mounted…
    There are many touch overlay resistive or capacitive, there is the possibility i can mount a 3rd part screen overlay after buying of the screen?

    A robust 5V regulator can be also usefull.

  36. This would make a great Field Monitor for film making, either on a DSLR or a digital Camcorder. It would have to be a self contained unit but could take a camera style battery i.e. Canon GL1.

    With some small modifications it might open up a bigger market which could help fund the project further.

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