The original design of the player had a Scott Edwards BP420L as the display. This was an LCD device with back light, it was good in most circumstances, fairly clear with pretty good contrast. It also had problems with the cabin temperature, rendering the display black, or at night when it was over bright. It was very easy to interface to via the serial port, and at the time it was available at the right price from my former workplace.
Unfortunatly during the hiatus, I lost the LCD panel, but a good friend gave me a Noritake VFD. It is an older character based model but the biggest difference was that it was a parallel input! I hacked a new display module for it that utilized the parallel port for communications, and that also emulated the serial version, but there where some functions that this older display couldn't handle (programmable character set) so some display screens changed and the software had to change to accomodate it. This unfortunatly broke the BP420L support as well, so all was not good!
In the section about the front panel controller you will learn how I used a microcontroller to simplify and abstract the display. Now there is a uniform protocol for dealing with the display, the controller firmware has to deal with the explicit display complexities.
The protocol used for the display can be found here