AU Optronics Latest Panel Development Plans – May 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 October 2018. 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.

Key focus and themes

Overall AUO remain focused on several key areas:

  • Increasing screen size and resolution
  • increasing refresh rates, including for their IPS and VA technologies
  • Focusing on more curved format screens
  • Improving HDR through the use of of Mini LED backlights

IPS-type panels with up to 240Hz refresh rate, including new 1440p versions planned

We had some news about this back in October 2018 when new 25″ and 27″ panels had been expected. A 240Hz capable IPS-type panel will be very interesting, even if limited to 1080p initially. Currently there are only TN Film panels available that reach these high refresh rates. AUO will have to have improved IPS response times to make this viable and usable from this technology.

The 25″ panels (confirmed now as 24.5″ in fact) were scheduled to start mass production in March Q1 2019 although that has now slipped to July 2019 according to the latest information (M250HAN01.3 panel part). The larger 27″ version (M270HAN03.0) is still expected to be available around August/September 2019 and should be in mass production already since May.

There is also some new information about some other 240Hz IPS panels planned (part numbers TBC), this time with a higher 2560 x 1440 Quad HD resolution. These are further away of course, and unlikely to appear in any monitor until 2020 sadly. There are 27″ and 32″ sized versions scheduled to go in to mass production in Nov/Dec 2019 and Dec 19/Jan 20 respectively, which sound very interesting.

240Hz Refresh Rate VA Panels also planned

We already have 240Hz TN Film panels available and widely used by display manufacturers, and we talked above about the plans to develop 240Hz IPS panels later this year. AUO are also planned to develop VA technology with this high refresh rate. A 31.5″ sized VA panel is planned (part number TBC) with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 240Hz, and is currently expected to go in to mass production around Sept 2019.

A 27″ sized 2560 x 1440 VA panel is also mentioned although not likely to be until Q1 2020 at this time. AUO are going to need to work wonders to improve response times on this technology to make 240Hz viable and usable.

In the mean time they do have a 27″ sized 200Hz curved VA panel with 1080p resolution planned for May 2019 production (M270HVR01.2). There is also a 30″ sized ultrawide panel (M300DVR01.0) with 2560 x 1080 resolution and 200Hz which is already in mass production.

240Hz TN Film panels with 1440p Resolution

We knew about these in our last update in October 2018 but it looks like the 27″ panel (M270DTN02.7) is now in mass production. This will offer a 2560 x 1440 resolution for the first time at 240Hz refresh rate. It also includes their new 3ms G2G response time spec, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 400 cd/m2 brightness and 90% DCI-P3 gamut.

32″ IPS Ultra HD Panel with 144Hz and FALD re-appears on roadmap!

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 when we last updated you in October 2018. This was originally expected to go in to production in Q3 2018 but seemed to have slipped or perhaps been canned completely. This has now appeared again (part number TBC) although it is not expected to go in to mass production until Q4 2019, with availability not expected until Dec 2019. It’s coming still thankfully, but a long wait….

A mini LED version (part number TBC) is also expected to be available at some point although production not planned until Q1 2020.

New 144Hz IPS-type panels in a range of sizes

There are a range of different sized IPS-type panels also planned with more typical 144Hz refresh rates. These are planned as the following:

  • 24.5″ with 1080p resolution (M250HAN01.6) – mass production starts June 2019
  • 27″ with 1080p (M270HAN03.2) – Sept 2019
  • 27″ with 1440p (M270DAN06.6) – June 2019 with 165Hz, 400 cd/m2 and 90% DCI-P3 gamut
  • 27″ with 1440p (M270DAN06.7) – Sept 2019 with 165Hz, HDR600, Adobe RGB gamut
  • 27″ with 1440p (M270DAN07.0) – Sept 2019 with 60Hz and sRGB gamut
  • 32″ with 1440p (part number TBC) – Nov 2019

Mini LED Backlights for gaming

AUO are developing a 27″ sized IPS screen with Mini LED backlight, 3840 x 2160 resolution and 144Hz refresh rate for gaming. This looks like it will be the panel used in the recently announced Asus ROG Swift PG27UQX and Acer Predator equivalent. It offers 576 zones for local dimming instead of the 384 zones provided on the FALD panel last year. This Mini LED panel (part number TBC) isn’t expected to go in to production until August, and won’t be available until around October 2019 according to current views. Don’t expect to see those new Asus or Acer screens until Q4 at the earliest.

An update on the 35″ Curved HDR Panels We’ve Been Waiting For

It’s been another long wait for the release of the interesting new 35″ ultrawide screens, boasting a 3440 x 1440 resolution, 200Hz refresh rate and importantly support for a FALD HDR backlight. We already know that there are models from Asus (their ROG Swift PG35VQ) and Acer (Predator X35) planned, that we’ve been waiting for since May 2017! The panel for this screen (now known by part number M350QVR01.7) is a 35″ VA offering from AUO and should have completed mass production now. We are expecting to see these models emerge within the next couple of months.

Higher Refresh Rate 35″ VA Panels Planned

At the moment the 35″ VA technology panels available from AUO with 3440 x 1440 resolution are 100Hz capable. There are normal (M350QVR01.0) and borderless (M350QVR01.1) versions available with 1800R curvature, 300 cd/m2 brightness and 2500:1 contrast ratio. AUO are also planning to push this up to 120Hz with two forthcoming panels (M350QVR01.3 and M350QVR01.5) which are normal and borderless respectively again. This will give a small boost to the native refresh rate while still keeping bandwidth within the capabilities of the more common DisplayPort 1.2 interface.

They will also feature a 1800R curvature, 2500:1 contrast ratio and 400 cd/m2. They will have a wider 90% DCi-P3 gamut though. These new 120Hz native panels are expected to go in to mass production in July 2019.

An update on 43.4″ sized VA Panels including high refresh rates

There’s been several large format 43″ sized displays announced in recent times, including models like the Acer Predator CG437K P (144Hz, HDR1000, and Asus ROG Strix XG438Q (120Hz, HDR600) for instance. Looking at the AUO development roadmap, the HDR1000 144Hz panel (M430QVN02.2) should be in mass production now and may therefore appear before the HDR600 panel (M430QVN02.0), which wasn’t scheduled to go in to production until May 2019. As a side note, a 60Hz version of the HDR600 panel (M430QVN02.1) is also planned for June 2019 production. All three of these have a 4000:1 contrast ratio and 90% DCI-P3 gamut spec incidentally.

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