PC-based heavy equipment simulator

Display Recommendations for Personal Simulators

After you have selected a suitable PC to use with your Personal Simulator, it is time to consider your display options.

Large displays that fill up your field of view and make the simulation experience more "compelling" are the preferred choice, rather than smaller computer monitors. However, for desktop-based systems the size of your display might depend on the table on which you place the display - for these cases, a computer monitor may be a better choice than a small television due to the computer monitor's superior resolution.

LED, LCD, Plasma, Video-projection, etc.

The growing popularity of "home entertainment systems" has brought the price of "big screen" displays within reach of most training budgets. There are advantages and disadvantages to each technology, so be sure to compare these different technologies with care. In most cases, an LED display will be your lightest and brightest choice, especially with 120Hz screen refresh to minimize motion blur.

Display Resolution

Modern televisions offer HD (High Definition) resolution in the 1080p format, which is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, using progressive scanning. This is the preferred HD format, although the alternative 720p format (1,280 x 720 pixels) may be acceptable for smaller displays. (At this time, typical graphics cards for PCs do not adequately support the new "4K" UHD display resolution, and so Simlog does not recommend such displays for our simulation software.)

Screen Size

Choosing a screen size is mostly a matter of viewing distance. The (American) Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and THX recommend a total viewing angle of 30-40.

To find the display size appropriate to a given viewing distance, divide the viewing distance by 1.6 to find an appropriate diagonal display size. You may have to round the answer up to the nearest available display size.

For typical HD displays, general guidelines are:

  • Viewing distance of 4 feet (120 cm) - 30-inch display
  • Viewing distance of 5 feet (150 cm) - 40-inch display
  • Viewing distance of 6 feet (180 cm) - 45-inch display
  • Viewing distance of 7 feet (180 cm) - 55-inch display
  • Viewing distance of 8 feet (180 cm) - 60-inch display

Vertical Placement

In general, when looking straight ahead, your eyes should line up with the centre of the display. But because people vary in height, Simlog recommends that you adjust the vertical placement so that for most people, their eyes "land" in the middle third of the display, about 1/3 up from the bottom and 1/3 down from the top.

Connecting the PC and Display

Finally, for best results, connect your PC's digital video output to the DVI (Digital Video Interface) or HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) input of your display. If your PC has just a VGA (Video Graphics Array) output, which is an analog video output, then you will need to choose a display with a VGA input, but note that the visual quality will be poorer. If connecting to a computer monitor, a DisplayPort connection is also a good choice.