What is the Screen-door Effect?

One of the most common occurrences in the world of virtual reality is something known as the screen-door effect. Albeit not all players and users are susceptible to this visual effect, it can easily break the immersive experience once it occurs. So far, there is no real fix for this problem. Moreover, the screen-door effect has been around for quite some time now, as any regular TV can display the same effect.

The Screen-door Effect Is An Odd Phenomenon

Anyone who has keen eyes and takes a closer look at the images or visual creations will eventually see the screen-door effect. This manifests itself in the form of seeing fine black lines in between pixels on a screen or image. To be more specific, this effect highlights the space between individual pixels, creating something of a patterned noise. Most people will see this as if they were looking at something through a mesh screen, yet it can be rather disturbing and annoying in the world of virtual reality.

This effect is nothing new under the sun, as it has been around ever since we started to rely more on screens to consume content. Older and newer models of televisions suffer from the screen-door effect as well, which mainly materializes when the user hovers very close to the tv. Most new electronic devices should not suffer from this issue anymore, yet it is not something that can be fixed with mere technology. Some users will simply be more susceptible to these things compared to others. The screen-door effect cannot be unseen once someone has experienced it, unfortunately.

Virtual reality headsets, however, seem to suffer from the screen-door effect a lot more, for some reason. This is primarily visible when a digital image is scaled to large proportions allowing the user to visibly see the spaces in between the LEDs. This can be caused by many different occurrences, including the display used in the VR headset itself. Not everyone will see the screen-door pattern right away, and not all headsets suffer from it either.

It takes a bit of effort to experience the screen-door effect while wearing a VR headset. Users need to focus their eyes on the display screen and then move their head. Doing so should result in the image being adjusted, briefly displayed a grid of LEDs in between individual pixels. Unfortunately, VR users who are more susceptible to seeing this effect often start using their headset fewer times and may eventually turn away from using it altogether.

Among the headsets suffering from the screen-door effects are the Oculus Rift developer kits – both versions, for some reason – yet the consumer version does not seem to suffer from it anymore. The HTC Vive has had no major reports of screen-door effects just yet, which is a positive development. Mobile headsets, such as the Samsung Gear VR, may display this effect more prominently, though.

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By Mark Arguinbaev

Mark is a 28 year old internet entrepreneur. He is a bitcoin enthusiast and a technology addict. He loves writing and educating readers about the newest tech trends.