Mar 032014
The official Raspberry Pi Foundation 7 inch DSI screen (800 x 480) prototype

At the Raspberry Jamboree, on Friday 28th Feb 2014, I spotted a nice little seven inch screen, that looked a lot like the screen from a 2012 model Nexus 7 (but a bit grainier as the Nexus 7 has a higher pixel count).

Then I spotted the PCB with the Raspberry Pi Foundation logo on it, and realised it must be the official DSI screen prototype. Sure enough, it was connected to the DSI port. I turned round and saw Andrew Laing, Global Manager for Raspberry Pi at Farnell. He told me he’d been displaying it at Embedded World and had come straight from there. He didn’t have any pricing info to share, but Liz Upton recently tweeted a target price of <$70 (plus shipping and taxes, I assume).

I’m Giving It a Nickname

In the absence of an official name, for ease of comparison, I’m going to nickname it DSIPi. So here’s a photo of DSIPi…

The official Raspberry Pi Foundation 7 inch DSI screen (800 x 480) prototype

The official Raspberry Pi Foundation 7 inch DSI screen (800 x 480) prototype

When’s DSIPi due?

I know from HDMIPi experience, that nobody wants to be pinned down on things like this. ‘A few months’ is the best we can get.

So How Do I Feel About DSIPi w.r.t HDMIPi?

I feel great about it, and I want one. We knew before we even began HDMIPi that this was planned. Dave spoke to Eben back in May 2013 and I went to see Liz before we did the KickStarter. It made good sense to us to be as open as possible in order to avoid duplication. We want to work with the Foundation, not against them. We’re all on the same side. :)

They’re Different Animals

The two screens offer something different. DSIPi attaches to the DSI port and HDMIPi to the HDMI port. You can use them both at once on the same Pi. In fact, there will be a lot of applications for using both together.

Here are the specifications that I managed to find out. DSIPi has…

  • 10 point capacitive touch.
  • 7 inch LCD
  • DSI connector
  • 800 x 480 pixels
  • works only with Raspberry Pi (as far as I know)

I haven’t yet heard anything about enclosures/cases for DSIPi. I don’t know if there will be one, or if, like the Pi, it’ll be left to third parties.

The comparable HDMIPi data is…

  • No touch, but may be an optional extra
  • 9 inch LCD
  • HDMI connector
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Pibowesque surround
  • Works with any device with HDMI output (HDMI 1.4)


As I had the HDMIPi prototype on me, it would have been positively rude not to have introduced them to each other. After all, they’re family. So here’s a rather hurried shot of DSIPi and HDMIPi together…

The official Raspberry Pi Foundation 7 inch DSI screen (800 x 480) prototype and HDMIPi (1280 x 800) prototype together

The official Raspberry Pi Foundation 7 inch DSI screen (800 x 480) prototype and HDMIPi (1280 x 800) prototype together

I’m kicking myself for being in a hurry now. It would have been great to fire up HDMIPi and get them both running from the same Pi. (Gordon’s just told me that the software on that one didn’t support it yet, so it wouldn’t have worked anyway.)

Musing out loud with Charlotte Godley, Ryan Walmsley and Matthew Timmons-Brown, we came up with the idea of using HDMIPi, DSIPi and Texy’s 2.8″ TFT or PiTFT all at once on the same Pi. Now that would be cool. It has to be done.

  51 Responses to “Raspberry Pi Official 7 inch DSI prototype – preview”

  1. Nice overview Alex, and as you say they seem to complement each other very well, Do you know how progressed the driver board is ? It seems bigger than the Pi itself, which would be a shame. If it’s still at prototype level then fair enough – still time to squeeze it down a bit.

    I suppose I’d better start saving for one of these as well :-)

    • I think the final one will be a lot smaller. There didn’t seem to be much on it and the reverse side was unpopulated if I recall correctly. Andrew Laing said he thought the final one would be much smaller.

      • That’s what I assumed, just looking at the pictures it seemed pretty sparse (on the top at least). I automatically assumed it would be good if it matched the Pi so it could be stacked, then I realised it could equally well be mounted on the back of the screen. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

  2. I’m interested in the DSiPi, but what’s with the lower resolution? I’m sure that will turn a lot of people off.
    The predicted price is reasonable though.

    • Don’t forget it’s not my product, and DSIPi is not even an official name. I’m just reporting on it. In December, Gordon Hollingworth announced that the Foundation were working on a 7″ and a 10″. The 10″ will have higher resolution.

      There is a place in the market for 800 x 480 without a doubt. When selecting screens for HDMIPi we were offered more 800 x 480 screens than you could shake a stick at. But for a product called HDMIPi, it had to be HD, so 1280×720 minimum. (We ended up with 1280×800).

      If 800 x 480 is not enough, get an HDMIPi – simple :) I think it will be enough for a lot of people and for a lot of applications. Consider that many people are using crappy composite reversing screens with far fewer pixels. For them, this would be a significant upgrade.

      The PiTFT is only 320×240, but people seem to think that’s worth buying at £30. Just choose the one that fits your needs. :)

      • Didn’t realize you were not the Guru of the product.
        Your welcome to pass on my thoughts, though.

        • I’m independent of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, although I have met most of them.

          HDMIPi is my baby, along with Cyntech, but this DSI screen, which I’ve nicknamed DSIPi, for fun, is a Foundation project.

          Gordon Hollingworth is the guy in charge of it. @gsholling on twitter. gsh on the Pi Forums

  3. […] Thanks to RasPi.TV, we know that it features the following: […]

  4. PiTFT?
    Don’t forget the original TFT screen add-on!

  5. Going to do a blog post next week which I hope will put these kinds of questions to rest, but Alex is correct with the information… Except the idea that he could have plugged the HDMI into the one at the Jamboree, that doesn’t yet support multi-display switching… (well the software doesn’t) But Dom’s had it working well on his desk!

  6. “we came up with the idea of using HDMIPi, DSIPi and Texy’s 2.8″ TFT or PiTFT all at once on the same Pi”
    It’d be like a miniature version of :-)

    And just for the hell of it why not hook up a HD44780 character LCD display as well :) (feel free to use an i2c or SPI I/O expander)

  7. Any timeframe or launch date available ?

  8. I think what might be very interesting in the future is reverse engineering the DSI port so those guys in China can make LVDS boards custom for a given LCD screen. I think there would really be a market for that and pulling apart an old laptop or netbook and hooking it up to a Pi would be a good educational weekend project.

    • It would be nice to be able to hook up your old laptop screen, but it’s very unlikely to happen because of the closed source nature of the DSI and the technical difficulty of the task.

  9. Any more details on release schedule?

  10. OK, what’s going to be the price for this?

  11. How do we sign up to buy one of these? I really want to get the DSIPi board and get XBMC working on it. Any news if the kernel support for the DSIPi will allow it to be used under XBMC?

  12. I know i’m a bit late to the party (as always at the moment, new baby’s do that to ya) but this is amazing. Going to put my PiTop/Tablet, On the back burner for a bit i think, and see where this goes :) I cant wait, I’ve wanted a touch screen for my pi ever since it came out :D

  13. Why bother doing anything less than 720p?

  14. […] The long-awaited LCD from the Foundation may be a bit closer now after Eben Upton revealed to PCR that, on the 23rd June, he had signed off on a purchase order for a prototype PCB. The screen, which is expected to include multi-touch and could be any size between 7″ and 10″ has been floating around since last year and some of us saw a prototype (see picture above) at the Raspberry Jamboree in March. At that time, Alex Eames from was able to find out the following specs: […]

  15. […] ที่มา ผ่านทาง […]

  16. i have been holding off buying a 3rd party touchscreen because of all the effort to recompile and hope it works.. that and my lack of linux knowledge lol. im looking forward to the new touchscreen so i can make a jukebox and possibly expand out to multi room audio with inbuilt screens. its a shame they dont do updates on the pi website

    • What do you mean by “they dont do updates on the pi website”? If you tell me what kind of “updates” you’re looking for, I may be able to direct you to the relevant source of info you’re looking for :)

      With regards to 3rd party touchscreens, there’s a guy called notro who has been adding a load of DeviceTree overlay support for 3rd-party screens to the official Raspbian kernel (installable via rpi-update), to make it possible to use 3rd-party screens by simply editing config.txt, rather than recompiling your own kernel
      I don’t have any touchscreens myself, so can’t provide any further help beyond pointing to the README.

      • with the pi website they seem to be quiet about updates on WIP items such as the touchscreen.. i did search the forum and came up empty so if you know of a page or area where they do update i would be happy.

        i wasnt aware somebody made 3rd party screens easier to install, if i was to have bought or owned one then it would have been great but ive held out to get the official pi touchscreen

        • Daza. Eben has gone on public record as saying he hopes the touchscreen will be out in 2nd quarter of 2015. That would be any time from April to June. So hopefully not too long to go now :) They have been rather busy in the last 12 months with B+, compute module and Pi 2.

          • Alex, i did see the video posted saying they hope to release it and the reasons why they put it on the back burner. it seems quite odd to me that the PI is becoming a huge thing yet the website seems to show news on more projects that it does on status updates on hardware.. why cant they have a page for that??the hungry fans want it lol

  17. Fifteen months later, 2nd quarter disappearing fast, where’s the stock?

    • There were some EMF emission test issues which I believe are almost sorted out. According to official sources at Raspberry Pi, the screen was very much a ‘back-burner’ project and the late model B rev 2, the B+, the A+ and the Pi2 B all pushed it out of the way. It’ll be ready when it’s ready. What’s the hurry?

  18. Any news? Is it still in the pipeline, nothing heard…

  19. Will it work with raspberry pi running kali 2.0

Leave a Reply