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

AUO
(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.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    What's the point of a 4K 240hz display if you can't even game at 4k120 on a $2000 GPU?

    Reply
  • DougMcC
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    What's the point of a 4K 240hz display if you can't even game at 4k120 on a $2000 GPU?


    Latency.
    Reply
  • MMorris666
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    What's the point of a 4K 240hz display if you can't even game at 4k120 on a $2000 GPU?

    you dont have to play on ultra and get 120fps...
    Reply
  • Gillerer
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    What's the point of a 4K 240hz display if you can't even game at 4k120 on a $2000 GPU?


    You conveniently omitted the name of the game.

    4K 240Hz is not only about playing every game at 4K native resolution + ultra settings + >200FPS, but also versatility; you can choose visual fidelity or refresh rate depending on your needs (and the type of game) without being limited by the maximum specs of the monitor.

    This tech will also take years to come to market, at which point the top GPUs should have 2x - 4x performance of the current ones. Even taking into account that then-new games will also require more of the hardware, games will still run better then.
    Reply
  • Friesiansam
    Gillerer said:
    You conveniently omitted the name of the game.

    4K 240Hz is not only about playing every game at 4K native resolution + ultra settings + >200FPS, but also versatility; you can choose visual fidelity or refresh rate depending on your needs (and the type of game) without being limited by the maximum specs of the monitor.

    This tech will also take years to come to market, at which point the top GPUs should have 2x - 4x performance of the current ones. Even taking into account that then-new games will also require more of the hardware, games will still run better then.
    I would also say, what's the point of a massive 4K display, if you need to turn all the quality settings down to get a good framerate? If I have paid £1500+ for a GPU, plus however much this over-sized monitor is going to cost, then I want games to bloody well look good.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    Friesiansam said:
    I would also say, what's the point of a massive 4K display, if you need to turn all the quality settings down to get a good framerate? If I have paid £1500+ for a GPU, plus however much this over-sized monitor is going to cost, then I want games to bloody well look good.
    While I agree that it will probably be quite a while before people are able to get the most out of a 240Hz 4K display, having access to both high resolution and high refresh rate doesn't necessarily mean that both need to be fully utilized at the same time. A screen like this will likely be the centerpoint of a home theater, so it won't just be used for high refresh rate gaming, but other forms of entertainment as well. When watching films on such a screen, the resolution will be what's most important, and you ideally wouldn't want anything less than 4K resolution on such a large display, especially since that's become the standard for large televisions these days, and few are likely to spend thousands on a screen that can't at least handle that.

    And then there's "AAA" game releases, that again, many will want to experience at or near their maximum settings on the screen, even if that means not running them at high frame rates. Most games don't actually benefit all that much from getting very high frame rates anyway, so you are not really losing much by not running them near the screen's maximum refresh rate.

    But there are also games like competitive first-person shooters, that are usually less demanding on hardware, and can see more benefit from running at higher frame rates. So, one may want to have access to a 240Hz refresh rate for those kinds of games, while also having access to a 4K resolution for many other games and films. That's not really any different from any other high refresh display on the market today. Even at 1080p resolution on the fastest graphics cards, some demanding games won't push over 100 fps, due to them being limited by CPU performance. Just because not all games can run near a screen's maximum refresh rate doesn't mean there isn't benefit from having such a screen for the games that do.

    Gillerer said:
    This tech will also take years to come to market, at which point the top GPUs should have 2x - 4x performance of the current ones. Even taking into account that then-new games will also require more of the hardware, games will still run better then.
    I would question the likelihood of future games running "better". Hardware will become faster, but developers will utilize that hardware more. Just look at raytracing, for example, on the graphics side of things. In the coming years, that may become the standard for game lighting, perhaps even phasing out rasterized lighting eventually. And where today's raytraced lighting effects tend to cut a lot of corners to operate in realtime, future RT implementations could easily ramp up the visual fidelity in exchange for a larger reduction in performance.

    And as I previously noted, CPU performance can be a big limiting factor. Per-core performance of CPUs hasn't been increasing as much as it once was, and average yearly gains are likely to grow smaller as manufacturers run into limitations with improving process nodes. In the short-term, as game development transitions to the new generation of consoles, while dropping support for the prior generation with their much slower CPUs, we are likely to see many games become a lot more CPU-demanding. Since the processors in those consoles are a lot closer to what's in today's gaming systems, if a game targets 60fps on those consoles and fully utilizes a processor core's capabilities within that limit, one shouldn't expect to get more than 100fps on today's fastest CPUs. And if a game targets 30fps, which isn't at all uncommon later in a console's cycle, even the CPUs of a few years from now might struggle to maintain 60fps on PCs.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Amazingly, there are other uses for screens. Games are not the only thing.
    Reply
  • MMorris666
    Friesiansam said:
    I would also say, what's the point of a massive 4K display, if you need to turn all the quality settings down to get a good framerate? If I have paid £1500+ for a GPU, plus however much this over-sized monitor is going to cost, then I want games to bloody well look good.

    Ultra Quality Settings are Dumb - YouTube
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    What's the point of a 4K 240hz display if you can't even game at 4k120 on a $2000 GPU?
    As the article mentions, this panel could be years away. Even if it wasn't, people don't replace their TV/monitor every 6 months. 4/5 years down the line, there will definitely be GPU's that can exceed 144fps in the majority of games.
    USAFRet said:
    Amazingly, there are other uses for screens. Games are not the only thing.
    Sure, but no one buys a 240Hz display to watch Netflix. There will likely never be a 240fps video format, and I've yet to see a 240/360Hz display marketed to MS Office users. So who is the signature feature of this TV, the 240Hz refresh rate, actually for? Gamers, and that's it.
    Reply
  • Gillerer
    spongiemaster said:
    Sure, but no one buys a 240Hz display to watch Netflix. There will likely never be a 240fps video format, and I've yet to see a 240/360Hz display marketed to MS Office users. So who is the signature feature of this TV, the 240Hz refresh rate, actually for? Gamers, and that's it.

    Sure, no one buys a 240Hz display just to watch Netflix, browse the web or do productivity tasks, but if that same person also games, having just one display that can do it all can be handy - especially if you purchase a high-end display with the intent of keeping it for 5+ years.
    Reply