Dual layer/dual cell LCD monitor - the best of both worlds

We’re all familiar with the problems inherent to LCD monitors: backlight bleed, glow, raised blacks, poor contrast, blooming/haloing, among others. Many of the worst offenders are due to LCD’s imperfect ability to block the light from their LED backlights (Mini LED included). OLED doesn’t suffer from these problems thanks to its nature as a self-emissive technology, but comes with the downside of being prone to burn in, making it less than ideal for a desktop monitor used for displaying windows and icons for 10+ hours a day.

Dual layer LCD is an elegant solution to LCD’s limited light-blocking ability. Simple in concept, dual layer works just like the name suggests: instead of a single LCD layer, why not stack two of them together to effectively multiply their contrast ratio? A typical IPS panel has a contrast ratio of 1000:1, and even a high end VA panel might only be 5000:1. In comparison, a dual layer IPS could theoretically reach 1,000,000:1 and would have essentially perfect blacks, with zero backlight bleed. It also avoids the haloing you see with Mini LED. Compared with OLED, dual layer can get brighter and doesn’t suffer from the limited color gamut of LG’s white OLED (WOLED)-based displays. Plus no worry of burn in.

Dual layer panels made by Panasonic have been used in high end video mastering monitors for several years and have image performance that exceeds even OLED. The panel manufacturers Innolux and BOE have also worked on developing dual layer LCDs (which they call Megazone and BD Cell, respectively), and Hisense even released two TVs - the 65" 65SX and 75" U9DG - using BD Cell panels from BOE. These unfortunately were plagued by motion processing issues, but the reviews clearly show the potential for the technology to deliver superior image quality is there. The fact that Hisense was able to release the TVs at prices competitive with OLED and high end conventional LCDs is also highly encouraging.

TFTCentral recently published BOE’s latest monitor panel roadmap showing two 31.5" 4k panels in development using BD Cell technology, and it was previously reported they were working on a BD Cell panel for high end gaming monitors. BD Cell/dual layer has the potential to be a best of both worlds technology, combining OLED’s incredible contrast and perfect blacks with LCD’s longevity and immunity from burn in. In a time when HDR content is pushing the limits of conventional LCD technology, the need for a solution that delivers deep blacks and dazzling highlights is greater than ever. I’m very interested in seeing monitors using this tech, and I hope Dough will take a serious look at using dual layer panels in a future monitor.

2 Likes

Hi there,

Sounds interesting indeed and there is a potential for the panel to take off if it wasn’t because of the current drawbacks (ghosting and slow response time). A productivity-focused monitor can still benefit from high image quality and less worry for burn-in for long-term use.

I tried to find out more information on a higher refresh rate for this type of panel currently in the market but found none. Let’s see what BOE is going to come up with and hopefully, it doesn’t arrive with eye-watering price tag.

1 Like

Yeah, the Hisense U9DG has ghosting issues (Rtings reviewed it), but it is a 120hz native panel.

Innolux also has a 31.5" 4k dual layer panel they announced a couple of years ago which they claimed has a refresh rate of 144hz, though there’s been no news from them since. Fingers crossed at least one of these two companies can work out the kinks.