We have some updates from one of the smaller LCD panel manufacturers BOE about their panel development plans. This is BOE 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. 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.
A lot of the information we have focused on technology improvements in general, and there is less specific information about actual panels and their specs than we have from other manufacturers. We will try and summarise as best we can. BOE are focusing their panel development and investment on several key themes:
- Increasing refresh rates and improving response times for gaming
- Offering wider colour gamut
- Low blue light filters at a hardware level
- Improved HDR experience
- Ultrawide and 16:10 formats
OQD Film for Wide Colour Gamut
One area BOE are developing is the use of a new “OQD” film (we believe this stands for Oxide Quantum Dot). They report that this has a few advantages over traditional QD coatings including being toxic element-free (QD contains Cd/Se apparently), has an improved light efficiency (~90% vs ~70%), no edge degradation and offers the same kind of benefits with wide colour gamut boosting it up to around 170% sRGB.
BOE should already have panel options in production now offering 99% coverage of DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB spaces, as well as 83% BT.2020. There are a couple of 27″ sized panels (panel tech not listed but we expect this to be their ADS technology, IPS-type) with 3840 x 2160 resolution which feature this OQD coating and the above mentioned colour space coverage. One with a 300 cd/m2 brightness in mass production since Sept 2020 and the other which has a slightly boosted brightness of 400 cd/m2 which should have been tested now and hopefully in production also.
BOE also aim to boost this colour gamut a little further in Q1 2021 with coverage up to 90% BT.2020. They are planning a 31.5″ sized panel (tech not listed but again expected to be IPS-type) with 3840 x 2160 resolution and 350 cd/m2 brightness, but no forecast on production dates yet.
Mini LED Backlights for Improved HDR Local Dimming
BOE are also focusing on developing new panel options with more local dimming zones for improved HDR experiences in the desktop monitor space. There are several Mini LED backlight options being developed. These include
- 27″ size panel with 3840 x 2160 resolution and ~1000 zones, going in to production in Dec 2020
- 34″ size panel with 3440 x 1440 resolution and ~3000 zones, demo planned Dec 2020 but unclear of mass production date at the moment
- 31.5″ size panel with 3840 x 2160 resolution and ~4000 zones, planned for mass production in Q4 2021 next year.
Dual-Cell (“BD Cell”) Technology for Further HDR Improvements
BOE are also focusing on new technologies to enhance the HDR experience further than Mini LED backlights, with even more finite control of the dimming zones and in an effort to compete with the ever-popular OLED technology in this space. One such development is in their BD Cell technology. The following comes from a May 2020 BOE press release talking about BD Cell usage for their 65″ panel which win a SID 2020 Display Industry award, telling us more about what this technology can offer:
The 65-Inch UHD BD Cell Display from BOE Technology
As a breakthrough in thin-film transistor (TFT)-LCD technology, BOE’s dual-cell panel—referred to as “BD Cell” for short—offers several important technical advancements that conventional LCD screens don’t. The display uses pixel-level ultra-fine backlight control technology and a brand-new integrated circuit (IC) driving technology to make the million-level contrast ratio rate and 12 bits’ color depth come true, accurately displaying more natural and true-to-life colors. The contrast ratio of a conventional LCD screen is 3,000:1 with 0.2 nits as the lowest brightness. The BD Cell’s screen can raise the contrast ratio up to 150,000:1 and decreasing brightness to 0.003 nit. In terms of combining LED local dimming with BD Cell technology, the contrast ratio can be as high as 2,000,000:1. Moreover, while a conventional LCD screen’s color depth is 8 bit, BD Cell is capable of boosting the color depth as high as 12 bit with an enhanced IC driving algorithm. On the other hand, BD Cell incorporates advantages of an LCD screen’s stableness and technological maturity, with no image sticking.
BOE have two panels in their plans featuring BD Cell technology. The first listed in their plans as BD Cell doesn’t seem to really offer any of the benefits talked about above and is a 23.8″ sized panel with 1920 x 1080 resolution but is listed with an “edge type” backlight system . We are not sure how that fits in with the above description which talks about pixel level backlight control, but this looks to be more like a traditional edge lit local dimming option than any direct lit backlight type and so might not really offer anything significant. There is a >300,000:1 contrast ratio listed, but the screen has only a normal 8-bit colour depth, 350 cd/m2 brightness and standard sRGB gamut (72% NTSC coverage). This is expected to go in to production in Nov 2020.
The second panel looks more interesting and is scheduled to go in to production in Dec 2020. This is a 31.5″ panel with 3840 x 2160 resolution, 10-bit colour depth, >1000 cd/m2 brightness and wide >80% BT.2020 colour gamut. This is listed with a “direct type” backlight and a contrast ratio of >1 million:1.
Increased Refresh Rates and Improved Response Times for Gaming
BOE also have a focus on improving their panel options for gaming screens with their ADS (IPS-type) technology. Already in mass production are a range of panels in sizes of 23.8″, 27″ and 34″ with 144 and 165Hz refresh rates. They are now developing 240Hz versions of the smaller models with the 23.8″ version due to go in to production this month, and the 27″ version which was due to go in to production in Sept. Both are only 1920 x 1080 resolution though.
More interesting and different are their other planned IPS-type panels they are working on.
- 27″ with 3840 x 2160 and 144Hz – July 2021
- 27″ with 1920 x 1080 and 360Hz – Feb 2021
- 27″ with 2560 x 1440 and 240Hz – Feb 2021
- 29″ with 2560 x 1080 and 165Hz – May 2021
- 31.5″ with 3840 x 2160 and 144Hz – Jan 2021
- 34″ with 2560 x 1080 and 165Hz – April 2021
- 34″ with 3440 x 1440 and 144Hz (curved 1900R) – H2 2021
UltraWide Panels from 25.7″ up to 39.7″ in size
There are also plans to develop new ultrawide options to support the ever-popular 21:9 aspect ratio space. They already have some 34″ panels in mass production now offering 2560 x 1080 or 3440 x 1440 resolutions.
Also in development since Sept 20 is a smaller 25.7″ ultrawide with 2560 x 1080 resolution that offers something in a smaller size but with the same 21:9 aspect ratio. There is also a 1900R curved 34″ with 3440 x 1440 resolution planned for Dec 2020 production.
Beyond that are a few interesting planned ultrawide options:
- 29″ with 3440 x 1440 resolution – Mar 2021
- 34″ with 5120 x 2160 resolution – May 2021
- 39.7″ (40″ class) with 5120 x 2160 resolution and 2500R curvature – Oct 2021
New 16:10 Aspect Ratio Options
There’s still a portion of the market who prefer 16:10 aspect ratio screens to common 16:9 offerings. This has commonly been in the 24″ space with 1920 x 1200 resolutions in 16:10 format offering a bit of a vertical boost compared with the common 1920 x 1080 resolutions of the 16:9 format. BOE are still investing in this area with a new 24″ panel planned but this time with a higher 2560 x 1600 resolution. This works out as 125 PPI and the panel also offers a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 350 cd/m2 brightness and 95% DCI-P3 gamut. Production dates are not listed.