Techie Anton Galyashinsky, 34, seems small when he stands among the three 130-inch screens he’s been developing for 18 months. He hopes these screens, which he’s hooked up to powerful computers, will be popular among avid gamers.
Allocated to the premises of Kyiv Polytechnical University, the alma mater of thousands of tech people in Ukraine, Galyashinsky and his team at startup Wider haven’t invented anything new, but created a useful combination of already existing gadgets.
Galyashinsky’s device consists of 92Db Hi-Fi system made by Beyma, a self-assembled computer, a widescreen display with contour lighting, and lots of input-output ports. It’s compatible with video game consoles like PlayStation or Xbox, and can be connected to laptops or computers.
A no-break power supply keeps the whole thing running for up to 15 minutes if the power goes out.
The screen is a projection display with a 2.75:1 aspect ratio. The picture is projected by individually modulated laser rays from behind the screen.
The first three versions of the device had a projected picture that was rather dim, and blurry when standing close to the screen. Now the developers claim their fourth device with laser projector gives a 1.5 times brighter and clearer picture.
However, Galyashynsky admitted there’s still room for improvement.
The device can also be dismantled and transformed into a suitcase-sized package. The developers claim it takes 75 minutes to assemble the 67-kilogram edvice, and 50 minutes to take it apart.
Wider is aiming mostly at the entertainment market, seeking support from gamers. For this purpose, the company has acquired licenses for 100 most popular computer games.
The retail price for a gamer version of the device will be up to $12,000.
“The idea is to provide customers with a ready-made solution, so that a person does not have to go through the hassle of setting everything up,” Galyashinsky said. “We are aiming at entertainment market, because it’s global. There are games with million-dollar budgets. And gamers tend invest about $10,000 in their equipment.”
The starting technical characteristics for the gamer version are RAM of 32 gigabytes, with an 8 Gb video card, and a 4 GHz processor. The developers have individually calibrated the screen for all of the installed games.
“We looked at the games’ (video graphic) demands, and made the happy medium to support all the games on max graphic settings,” Galyashinsky said. “And it can be upgraded in the future at any time .”
However, Wider is also preparing a version of the kit for business purposes, the price of which will start from $7,000.
Shaky business plan
Despite having a promotion plan, and the first pre-orders, which Wider collected at tech conference CES 2017, the startup team hopes they can operate without investments.
Wider plans to collect 100 pre-orders and ship screen parts from China, but they expect factories there will agree to work with them upfront – producing the parts but taking payments after sale.
“We are looking for a partner-manufacturer, who has a factory and can take bigger part of production cost on itself,” Alexander Tulko, the sole Wider investor from Capital Venture Fund, told the Kyiv Post.
For Andrey Kolodyuk, a managing partner at AVentures, that sounds shaky.
“I know that factories do not do mass production this way,” Kolodyuk said. “Money first. That’s like taking credit in a bank and not drawing up documents, just promising that you’ll give this money back one day.”
Anyway, if this scheme does work out for Wider, it will manufacture the parts of the device in Ukraine but assemble them in any country in which they have customers.
“If we have pre-orders, the money will come,” Capital Venture Fund’s Tulko said. “Our best investor is the client.”
Kyiv Post staff writer Denys Krasnikov can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.