Hey Everyone, thanks for coming to our announcement for the Vast, Massdrop’s gaming monitor.
If you read through the monitor sections of any gaming forum, you’ll find a consistent request: Give me the most desirable resolution (used to be 2560x1440, now it’s 3440x1440, once GFX cards catch up it’ll go to 4k I’m sure), with a refresh rate at 100hz+, and a response time below 4ms (g2g). There are other important specifications of course (none of that matters if the color reproduction is garbage or you’ve got massive back-light bleed), but assuming everything else follows the accepted standards, this is the holy trinity, and price points hover around the $1000 mark.
Why do they cost so much? Monopoly. LG and Samsung own a patent on IPS technology, and they’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars telling the american market that this is the only panel technology for high-end displays. Electronics retailers buy into this monopoly, because it works well for all parties involved. The manufacturers come out with the new desirable version every year, spends millions marketing them, the retailers have contracts committing them to a certain number of units, and the product sells itself. In short, everyone is comfortable making money, and they don’t want to rock the IPS boat, so why would they utilize another panel technology to solve the problems of the gaming community? They wouldn’t, that’s why we exist.
On a sourcing trip last year we met with a number of monitor manufacturers and panel makers. AU Optronics was among those we spoke to and in our meeting they told us about a new kind of panel called VA. Now, it’s not new in the sense of technology that’s never been seen before, but a new refinement on VA technology that allows for 100% sRGB coverage, while hitting our targets for refresh rate, resolution, and response time. Additionally, VA panels have greater contrast than any panel type including IPS, which is valuable if you’re tired of backlight bleed in a dark room.
If you google VA panels, you’ll find nearly none in the american market, and you’ll find generally limited information, or information from dubious sources. Why? Goes back to the monopoly point, retailers want a product that’s easy to sell, not a product that’s the best. If I’m Newegg and I know LG is going to spend $50mm advertising their products on american television this year, and AU Optronics is going to spend $0, those LG’s are going to be a lot easier to sell.
We’re not banking on marketing spend, we’re banking on the quality + performance, and the enthusiast community not falling for advertising. From the specs to the industrial design, we’re incredibly proud of the Vast, and we hope gamers enjoy it. But while we designed it for gamers, at the introductory $549.99 shipped, we hope anyone that uses a computer all day can enjoy the immersive visual experience that comes from this combination of resolution, refresh rate, response time, sRGB coverage, and 1800R curve.
Thanks for your interest in this product, I’ll be around the discussion to answer questions over the next couple days and I’ll make a new post prior to the launch with the most popular questions + answers.