AU Optronics Latest Panel Development Plans – Dec 2019

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We have some updates from AU Optronics about their panel development plans which is always interesting to see. Our last update was May 2019. This is AUO as a panel manufacturer, as opposed to any specific monitor/display manufacturer, but it gives an indication of where monitors are likely to go in the future by looking ahead at the panel production plans. AUO make a large portion of the IPS-type panels (their ‘AHVA’ technology) in the market which is always of interest along with a range of interesting TN Film options. Please keep in mind that the production dates are not set in stone and may change, and there is then also a lag of several months before a panel is produced, then used in a display and launched to market. We have updated our panel parts database with all the new information we have as well as best we can. Here are the highlights.

Updates on new 240Hz IPS Panels with 2560 x 1440 Resolution

We’ve already seen the 24.5″ and 27″ options go in to mass production, and adopted in several monitors so far. Those panels so far feature a 1920 x 1080 resolution along with the high native 240Hz refresh rate and have performed very well, as our tests of the Acer Nitro XV273 X revealed.

AUO have plans for a couple of Quad HD options as well, with a higher 2560 x 1440 resolution.

  • Development of a 32″ sized option (M320DAN02.0) is already underway since Q3 2019 but it will probably not enter mass production until around Feb 2020 by the look of things. This will offer a 600 cd/m2 peak brightness and 99% Adobe RGB gamut. Note that a 165Hz version (M320DAN02.2) with similar specs is now in production as of Nov 2019.
  • Development of a 27″ option with this same 2560 x 1440 resolution (M270DAN08.0) has started a bit more recently in Nov 2019 and looks like it may appear slightly sooner with mass production likely to start around Jan 2020. This panel will offer a 400 cd/m2 brightness and 99% Adobe RGB gamut.

VA Panel Development including 240Hz Options

From their VA panel plans the highlight looks to be a planned 27″ 240Hz refresh rate option with 2560 x 1440 resolution and a curved format. There is a focus on making those curved panels more curved, at 1500R instead of the older 1800R options. Development of it started around Nov 2019 but it’s not due to go in to production until around May 2020.

Further 240Hz VA panels are also planned but not yet in development. These include:

  • 27″ 1920 x 1080 res option (not sure why this lower resolution version is coming after the 2560 x 1440 option?) which is in plan for around May 2020 for development.
  • 30″ curved ultrawide option with 2560 x 1080 resolution (M300DVR02.0) and 240Hz refresh rate. This is not expected to go in to development until Q1 2020 so likely a fair way off for mass production.
  • 31.5″ sized option with 1920 x 1080 resolution (M315HVR01.3) and 1500R curvature. This is in development as of Dec 2019 but it’s not clear when mass production will start, sometime in 2020.
  • There is also a 31.5″ size option with 2560 x 1440 res, planned for around April 2020.

Mini LED Backlights for improved local dimming

AUO are also focusing on improving the HDR options they offer. Of particular interest are plans to produce more Mini LED backlights. These are a step beyond current FALD backlights, offering smaller dimming zones and far more of them. This helps provide more finite control over the content on the screen, reduce blooming and halos, and creating an improved HDR experience.

27″ and 32″ options with 3840 x 2160 resolution and 60Hz refresh rate are already in mass production. The 32″ version has already appeared in the recently released Asus ProArt PA32UCX and other screens like the Acer ConceptD CM7321K, and features a 1152 zone backlight and HDR 1000 certification. The 27″ equivalent has 576 zones and has been used in announced models like the Asus ProArt PA27UCX.

For gamers there are also plans to develop high refresh rate alternatives. Both will keep the same UltraHD 3840 x 2160 resolution and wide colour gamuts of the 60Hz versions, but will increase the refresh rate significantly.

  • The 27″ version has 144Hz and 576 dimming zones. That will be used in models like the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQX, the successor to the PG27UQ with FALD backlight we’ve already reviewed. The 27″ panel is scheduled to go in to mass production in Q2 2020 so expect to see that new display in the second half of next year.
  • The 32″ option will have a slightly lower 120Hz refresh rate but will have 1152 dimming zones. That will be used in models like the already announced Asus ProArt PA32UCG. The panel production is also not planned until Q2 2020 so sadly this exciting screen is a long way off.

Will the 32″ IPS panel with 4K and 144Hz ever appear?!

The eagerly anticipated 32″ Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) IPS panel with 144Hz refresh rate and FALD backlight seemed to have disappeared off the road-map about a year ago in our October 2018 update. This was originally expected to go in to production in Q3 2018 but seemed to have slipped or perhaps been canned completely. This did then appear again (part number TBC) earlier this year, although at the time was not expected to go in to mass production until Q4 2019, with availability not expected until Dec 2019.

There’s now another update which suggests it’s still in development but won’t go in to production until Q2 2020. Not sure what the hold up is with this, but it’s clearly proving a challenge, or has been de-prioritized.

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