We All Live in a Fuschia Automaton
Now on to more mundane things.
Apparently, I'm not the only lunatic who's done this. The project describes how to use a PIC microcontroller to generate a PAL-compliant composite video signal. Should be fairly simple to adjust it to generate an NTSC signal instead, and rig it up to the LCD. Should also be quite trivial to adjust the concept to whatever microcontroller I end up deciding to use for this thing.
Of course, since NTSC runs at nothing remotely resembling the scanline resolution of the LCD itself, the long-term applications of such a controller are undoubtedly limited. However, I'll need a couple of microcontrollers anyways, and learning how to output a composite signal is a decent way to get acclimated with the whole notion of generating video signals in general. Since the controller on the 4L-U4EB line also takes analog RGB (i.e. the same basic format as your video card produces) I should be able to adapt the microcontroller concept to that. The difference is really just three circuits instead of one, and a slightly more complex signal format. Mastering the RGB signal would give me the ability to build a video controller ROM of sorts with the microcontroller, and set up a pixel-precise memory mapped graphics system for the thing.
All the tech data I have on the LCD is for the color model, the 4L-U4E. The part I have though is the U4EB, and the receipt I have for it clearly says "black and white." I'm assuming that the controller will simply greyscale the input signal (either directly or simply by virtue of the fact that the liquid crystal system itself only has a monochrome structure) so I'll be able to cheat and ignore a lot of the complexities of both composite video and analog RGB with respect to generating correct colors. If this does indeed turn out to be a simple greyscale display then I can cheat quite a bit with the video controller system - 1 byte per pixel for 256 intensity levels, and all that good stuff. Should be fun to see what comes of that.
When I get the ribbon cables I'll do a quick hack-job and rig the thing up to my VCR, maybe watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica on it or something. I might be convinced to do another photo archive of the whole project if anyone is interested, although the general response to my collections of blurry camera-phone pictures has been... subdued, to say the least [grin]
Anyways, I vaguely promised myself that once we went gold I'd start going to bed at 2 AM again. I should probably make good on that, or I might find myself very angry at me in the morning.