AUO Announces 32” 8K Panel Aimed at Editing

By Chris Chinnock

Taiwan-based panel maker AUO used the recent Touch Taiwan trade show to announce an 8K 32” panel that will be used for professional monitors.  To learn more, we asked AUO a series of questions and received the answers below, along with some additional editorial comments.

8KA: Why offer an 8K monitor? What applications are driving the need?

AUO: As 8K content is supported by broadcasting in the 2020 Olympic Games and next gen console games, it will become more popular. We are also seeing growing demands for 8K content editing or creating in professional monitor applications.

8KA comment: The 2020 Olympics will clearly showcase 8K capture, production and display and there is a clear need for smaller displays to be used on-site, in edit suites and in production facilities to see the full 8K image. An editing monitor does not have as demanding specifications as a reference-grade monitor would market is more limited.  An editing-grade monitor can have uses in VFX, professional photography, graphic arts, advertising, etc.  As for gaming, the needs there are also different so it is unclear how well this panel will meet those needs.  However, AUO also announced a 27” QHD 300 Hz monitor which is clearly aimed at serious gamers.

8KA: What are the basic specs?

AUO: Please see the diagram below

Resolution (pixel) 8K (7680 x 4320)
Frame rate 60 Hz
Brightness 720 cd/m2  (typical)
Color Gamut Adobe RGB 100%, DCI-P3 99%
Contrast 1,000 : 1
Viewing Angle (U/D/L/R) 89° / 89° / 89° / 89°

8KA Comment: The full coverage of Adobe RGB color gamut is important for graphics arts, advertising and other professional markets while the P3 coverage is needed for entertainment-oriented uses.  What AUO did not disclose is if this monitor has HDR capabilities, which we think is a must-have for these applications.  For example, AUO did not respond to our questions about the backlight technology, dimming zones, tone mapping capabilities, and specific HDR support.  Interestingly, AUO says the monitor uses LTPS for the backplane technology.  This should allow for higher refresh rates, so 60 Hz is a bit surprising.

8KA: Is there a lead customer? When will it be introduced?

AUO: We are not able to disclose due to NDA.

8KA Comment: This answer is not surprising, but we also noticed that Viewsonic used CES 2021 to announce that they planned to offer a 32” 8K monitor around Q4’21.  Is it possible that Viewsonic is the lead customer?

8KA: What is the A.R.T. technology composed of? Why was it developed?

AUO: A.R.T. (Advanced Reflectionless Technology) featuring non-reflective surface, anti-glare and anti-reflection creates reading quality and exquisite image quality superior to that of paper.  Remote working and the new normal in the post-pandemic era forces consumers to spend more time using electronic products. From the perspective of users, AUO delves into factors like the environment when using the screen, ergonomics, and the cause of eye strain.  As a result, we developed the industry-leading A.R.T. technology.

8KA comment: We were hoping for more detail on the structure and performance (reflectivity, haze, etc.) of this technology stack.

8KA: What is ACR?

AUO: ACR (Ambient Contrast Ratio) is used to quantify the contrast under ambient illumination, which includes diffuse and directional conditions. It has been well defined in International standards like IEC, ICDM/IDMS, etc.

8KA: Why is it important?

AUO: The conventional contrast ratio is measured in a dark room, which only presents the intrinsic performance of display. In real life, we always use displays in ambient environments, the display performance will be affected by different illuminations, for example sunlight, window light, lamp light in the living room, etc. Ambient picture quality improvement becomes very important for end users.

8KA comment: We agree since most content is not consumed in a dark room, understanding how to maintain the same picture quality as the ambient illumination changes is important.  TV makers use the ambient light sensor to boost the luminance of the display to try to maintain picture quality, but that often ends up crushing the black detail.  More sophisticated methods seek to adjust the tone curve to better preserve dark details and highlights.  However, preserving the perceived color fidelity of the image as ambient light changes is much harder.  This would probably require a sensor that can measure the spectral characteristics of the light hitting the display to adjust the color volume.

8KA: How do you measure it?

AUO: AUO mainly refers to the methodology of international standard IDMS v1.03. Key parameters, including peak luminance, black level, diffuse reflectance, and directional (specular) reflectance should be measured, and the environment lighting conditions including diffuse illumination and directional (specular) illumination should be applied and noted in the report.

8KA comment: Ambient viewing conditions can be so variable that any testing cannot replicate all viewing conditions, especially when is it comes to specular light sources.  Trying to define the best set of ambient conditions to test would be the work of organizations other than ICDM (it only specifies the test methods).