Just a few days ago we covered black frame insertion (BFI) on Spectrum OLED. This time, we want to bring up a discussion related to peak brightness. We know how important it is for our monitors to achieve the highest peak brightness possible. For this reason, we have tested the panel beyond the limits to see what it can achieve. Let’s dive in!
Current brightness performance
By removing the limits we managed to push the brightness levels higher than how it came out of the box. Here are the results:
Pure white window size
What do these numbers mean? Well, it means that we can be competitive with Asus PG27AQDM’s brightness performance. As a side note, this model is using the same panel as Spectrum OLED.
Our project manager Grant with a light meter measuring the Spectrum OLED panel brightness.
Brightness and OLED
Now, higher means better, right? Well, it is a bit trickier with OLED. It is common knowledge that OLED panels have an inherently higher risk of burn-in. This refers to the phenomenon when certain pixels on the display wear out faster than others, reducing their brightness. It can be caused when displaying bright, static images for prolonged periods of time. This makes it so the same pixels are continuously affected, leaving an after-image even when the image on the screen changes. Heat also plays a big factor here, as having a brighter panel means that it generates more heat which can accelerate the rate at which the pixels age.
The balancing act
Now that we have shared what we have, we are now looking into how much of a limit we are looking to set. It is very important for us to know what people actually feel when getting an OLED monitor. It boils down to two options:
Higher brightness limit
Allows for higher brightness during the early use of the monitor, but its performance will rapidly degrade over time. This means that it will have shorter panel life, and your experience while using the monitor will dramatically be different when compared to the start.
Lower brightness limit
Limits the peak brightness since the start, but with less performance degradation. It will have longer panel life and the overall experience of using the monitor will be much more consistent as time goes by.
Examples of how limiting the maximum brightness out of the box affects the brightness over the lifetime of the monitor. Note that these graphs are exaggerated to more clearly illustrate the effects.
This concludes the update! We are looking forward to hear your thoughts on this topic!
I think most would agree having the option to push the brightness higher is something a lot of people would like to have. However I most people wouldn’t know where the recommended brightness for longevity is. I think a good compromise would be to give is the option and be sure to state the values that are recommended for balanced and consistent performance.
Probably best to limit the < 5% peak brightness a bit though, no one wants immediate burn in due to white boarders around windows.
I think 100% the best solution, if possible, is an overclock option in settings. If you want, you can run it bright and confirm the setting after a brief warning. I don’t know why that wouldn’t be possible but I know nothing about the inner workings of making a monitor. I’d like to throw on an overclock while playing a bright and shiny new game, but turn it off most of the time.
If it isn’t possible to have this be a toggleable change, I would probably assume people would want performance similar to the competition. No one will want the do-it-all monitor that doesn’t do it all as well as the others.
You might be interested in checking out this topic about cooling. We’ll be using the metal shielding that’s already part of the monitor housing as a heatsink, applying a TIM between the components and this metal frame to ensure an ideal transfer of heat. Our team will be sharing more information on this topic soon, and we’ll be able to provide test results on this cooling solution once we have a sample unit assembled.
In all seriousness, all of these features seem interesting but from my perspective, it’s the IPS Spectrum all over again. By that I mean we’re hearing about these planned “features”; first BFI, now the increased brightness, etc… Meanwhile, I’m looking at the shipping ETA posted on the website. People may not recall that it was originally set for June and verrrry quickly got pushed to July. With less than 2 months to go, are you really expecting people to believe that estimate?
Similar things were promised with the 240 hz, QHD IPS panel - that so much was learned (and carried over) from the 4k (still has massive outstanding orders to fulfill) which should translate into faster turnaround times. Difference here is that the time from announcement to ETA launch is much shorter (6 months) and you are taking full payments up front, with small incremental price hikes leading up to launch in order to encourage pre-orders. People who straight up paid $650-$750 USD for this panel are going to have even higher expectations for delivery time than early spectrum backers who understood they were getting in at a very early stage of development, but weighed that against the low cost of admission ($100) and took the risk. None of that exists here beyond the small monthly price hikes.
Now I’m going to wade a tad into speculation land, but with good merit. As mentioned in this thread, the panel used here is the same as the Asus PG27AQDM. That monitor is already on sale, but practically sold-out everywhere. Newegg has been out of stock almost constantly. B&H Photo said they expected more stock on May 11th and one day later that ETA has already been pushed to June 13th. And this is for a monitor whose development and production are complete. Presumably you will be in competition for stock on those panels, without which you have no product. So will you provide any reassurances on that front, or is this monitor doomed to the same fate?
Very similar beginnings here, Dough. Active, near-daily posts with R&D updates, teased features, community reach out for ideas on what should be implemented, etc… But you only have 2 months of “recaps” left before people will be expecting their product to be shipped. Either you’ve figured something out this time around that will pleasantly surprise everyone, or more likely there will be unexplained production delays until an eventual radio silence because there’s “no updates to provide at this time”.
Call me a pessimist but without some additional assurance, I fear the writing is already on the wall.
If I had to choose I think I would go for option two:
•Lower brightness limit Limits the peak brightness since the start, but with less performance degradation. It will have longer panel life and the overall experience of using the monitor will be much more consistent as time goes by.
I think I prefer the display to behave more consistent than changing characteristics too much down the line. But like some has suggested; maybe let it be an option that can be turned on and off?
I like those initial numbers. I have to imagine the informed enthusiasts out there looking for a gloss screen OLED are going to be aware of the fact they are dimmer than conventional IPS/TN panel tech and the increased screen reflections that come in trade with getting rid of the matte finish. I have good control of the lighting where I plan to use the monitor, so I dont plan to require exceptionally high brightness as I’d assume to be the case for many customers. Trying to remember the calibrated settings I went with are in the low 100cd/m² scene luminance territory. I’d think that kind of use case scenario is the best to optimize around and set peak brightness level protections for. Seems like that is where the user would see the best performance anyway out of OLED display capability, crazy contrast depth, particle effects/HDR/specularity seem like they could really pop with those kind of nits at full white% numbers without risking screen damage. Particle effects especially, usually being so transient in games, seems like little risk of burning any one pixel.
On the gaming front, have you guys looked at dark environment brightness boost or any gimmicks like that aside from the crosshair? Most gaming monitors have stuff like that baked in these days already, with the native nigh infinite contrast of OLED, dark scene enhancement would really keep Dough on the competitive edge.
Certainly! Although the final set of features has yet to be confirmed at this point, but expect at least something similar to pixel shift to be included.
For ABL I think it is enabled by default and there are settings in the panel that will affect warranty. We will talk more about this once we have confirmed OLED health feature in place.
Maybe we can call it something like “conservation mode”. I personally think that is the best approach.
This is where glossy shines (no pun intended). If the environment where you will be using the monitor is controllable, then using glossy panel will allow the true colour and contrast to pop. However it will be a bit trickier if used on a bright-lit room with direct light.
Maybe you are referring to black equalizer setting? This is one of the requested feature and we are working on implementing it as part of Spectrum OLED.
To be more specific on the brightness/degradation behavior question, I’d cast my vote on a reasonable initial brightness peak restriction for more linear performance and hopefully longer lifespan. Though like some people are suggesting, the ability to remove the brightness restriction to overdrive brightness would probably be a good option to leave for the end user. Of course put it behind a suitable warning message.
Yes black equalizer, thank you, so many terms and acronyms to keep in mind these days. Excellent, I’ve seen it advertised but havent had a chance to try that either, looks like it does not even function the same manufacturer to manufacturer. Some monitors seem to drag up brightness in light parts of scenes while brightening the dark spots from the demos I’ve seen, seems like that sort of defeats the purpose especially in monitor tech that would experience light bleed. That’ll be neat to try out if it makes it to production, I was shocked how much dark detail you get with OLED when I got to see a modern LG tv, but good black equalizer settings would be icing on the cake.
Hey thats a good point, now I’m also wondering if all the inserted black frames would cut down thermals far enough to allow boosted brightness without risk of damage/burn in. In the most aggressive BFI mode the whole panel is only spending half as much time pushing out photons, right? That would be neat to get BFI without such a hit to overall brightness.
I would prefer to have the option of both but obviously i want as much brightness as possible as this one of the selling features for me to buy one. On my lg C9 oled there has been no issue with burning and i have been using it for 4 years almost. One thing that helps prevents it is having features like lowering the nits if having something static on the screen and if i do not use it it switches to another image. Maybe consider something like this?
Definitely something that we are looking to implement.
Logically speaking, yes. It means that it has tiny breaks between showing frames where it is showing black frame (basically turning off). Although can’t say anything specific yet at this point without proper testing.
It is true that OLED panels are getting more resilient. This is also helped with health panel features that slows down degradation when enabled.
Can you elaborate more on this? Do you mean if the display detects something static for a while, it dims that area?
Do you mean screensaver? Or are you talking about something else?
Now, I know that there is a lot of feedback for us to try to implement both choices. However, it is more than likely that this is something that needs to be set from the panel itself, not the scaler. Meaning that once we have settled on one choice, we are locked out from another. So this is the moment where your thoughts really can affect how the product will turn out!
Ya, he means a screen saver. The thing is that this isn’t needed for computer since all operating systems come with screensaver functionality built in, but I don’t know if any console has it. I think the static image detection dimming is preferable, but I don’t know what’s really best. I think there might have been a good video about this from RTINGS where they tested multiple TVs’ burnin for a few years.
There has been a lot of discussion internally when it comes to screensaver implementation as part of OLED health feature. Logically speaking it is better to just have it turn off (or having the monitor show black screen, which is similar effect on OLED screen) rather than displaying different moving images.