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AUO's Announced 85-Inch, 240-Hz, 4K Panel Is Exciting, but Might Lack a Place in Current Homes

(Image credit: AUO)

We all know what the silver screen is, but only a few of us are lucky enough to get acquainted with big format gaming (yes, that's what Nvidia really calls it). AU Optronics is perhaps going to change that with it's newly announced 85-inch 4K panel, which makes headway by being capable of a 240 Hz refresh rate despite such a large size and high resolution. 

Speaking in modest tones to DigiTimes at a press conference, AUO promised that its latest 85-inch panel should have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels along with a 240 Hz refresh rate. But there is a catch. 

The announcement was made at a press conference in Taiwan, with a press release only made available to DigiTimes. AUO's official website only mentions a 4K 85-inch LCD panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and no fancy backlight module for 2021. The panel that we are talking about claims to feature a higher refresh rate, although it does have the same size and the same resolution.  

We'd feel a bit more comfortable with another source on this display, as the DigiTimes report also says that this panel will have "ultra-high dynamic range" and an "ultra-wide color gamut at 96%," plus anti-refraction technology. All of this makes for a lot of big talk that we're eager to see the backing for.

Another reason we're curious about this display's claims is that it has a lot to overcome in the current market, due to both hardware and content limitations presented by other devices.

One of the big concerns about displays featuring such a high resolution and refresh rate is obviously the connection. An HDMI 2.1 connection provides up to 42.6 Gbps bandwidth, but even with that addressed, you still need an appropriate source to generate all those pixels and frames. 

Luckily, both of the latest consoles from Microsoft and Sony feature 8K output, yet only for video in the Xbox's case. Targeting those consoles would make sense, as nobody but gamers currently need to display 4K @ 240Hz content. And to be fair, there's a potential need that still needs served here. The latest generation of consoles is capable of both high resolutions and high refresh rates, but large displays that can pull off both affordably are hard to come by.

Still, there are doubts that such a large display would appeal to gamers, who need to keep track of gameplay as much as they need immersion. That said, owners of such panels are bound to use proprietary platforms and video formats to take advantage of their hardware. Also, keeping in mind how rapidly technology is developing, there might be some be some breakthroughs with high resolutions and high frame rates in cinematography in the near future. We are seeing more and more films experiment with high frame rates, after all.

Keeping in mind the limited nature of this announcement, do not expect displays powered by the AUO panel to hit the market soon. Even in the best case scenario, we are talking about releases that will be made years from now, both for the hardware and likely the content.