HDMIPi PrototypesThere aren't many inexpensive monitors out there, and when you do find them, they are often pretty low-res, usually below HD. That's no good if you're trying to use them to pull focus or double-check a take and see if it was in focus. But what if you could get a 9" 1280 x 800 monitor for under $150? Alex Eames from RasPi.TV and Dave Mellor from Cyntech want to make it happen. The company is working on a monitor for the Raspberry Pi computer, but with the generic HDMI input, it can be used with virtually any HDMI device, including cameras. Here's their pitch video:

Here is the HDMIPi working with the Nikon D90:

The only real dirt-cheap external monitors out there are from Lilliput, but they tend to be smaller, and if they are large, usually lower-res. Getting something like this working on a film set perfectly will take a little bit of DIYing, but I think it would be really great as either a monitor to pull focus, or even better, as a director's monitor. Granted its original intention is to be used as a computer monitor, but with such a large and nice screen, it would be great for watching playback without breaking the bank, especially since it can run on 12V, so you can essentially hook it up to anything that would give you that kind of power.

HDMIPi screen compared to the Nexus 7:

HDMIPi vs Nexus 7

The team has already destroyed their initial goal, but you can still pick one up for a few more days, with the lowest reward level is going to be £75. That comes out to around $137 when you calculate shipping outside the UK (if you're already in the UK, you'll get it for a little cheaper).

Here's what's in the basic kit, but more will be included since they've hit certain milestones (you can read about those here and also here on the RasPi.TV site). You can also add a power supply to your order by adding about $8 to the order:

HDMIPi will ship as an easy to assemble kit. This avoids the need for CE/FCC approvals, which helps keep the final cost down.

The HDMIPi kit will contain:

  • 1280x800 LCD
  • HDMI controller board, with ribbon cable to connect to LCD
  • a Pibowesque plastic surround to keep it in

Once you receive your HDMIPi, you'll simply need to put the LCD in the surround, add and connect the HDMI controller board, add your Pi (optional) and start using it. The LCD will require a 12V supply (included in HDMIPi extra and deluxe rewards).

What do you think, is it worth the hassle to rig up an inexpensive DIY monitor? What other uses could you see for this relatively large and high-res portable monitor?