Taiwanese Electronics Brands Aggressively Promote HDR as This Feature Likely to Become Must-Have for High-End Monitors in the Future, TrendForce Reports

22 Jun

Computer monitors and notebooks featuring HDR (high dynamic range) have been a highlight in this year’s major consumer electronics tradeshows from CES to Computex. According to WitsView, a division of TrendForce, HDR as a feature is now spreading into the PC market following its widespread adoption in the TV market last year. Demand growth of HDR-capable monitors for gaming is especially robust, and correspondingly Taiwan-based electronics brands are actively developing this market segment. The market for HDR-capable monitors are expected to expand rapidly once major vendors in IT industries have established a separate HDR standard specifically for their products.

At present, high-end LCD monitors sized 27 inches and larger generally feature 4K resolution and a high refresh rate of 144Hz. Some of these monitors use panels that natively support 8-bit color scheme, or they can display 10-bit colors using “8-bit+FRC (frame rate control)” technologies. Starting this year, panel makers have additionally introduced solutions for their TV products into their monitor products. For example, monitor panel modules have incorporated direct backlight with as many as 384 local dimming zones. Panel makers have also used QDEF (Quantum Dot Enhancement Film) to achieve wider color gamut.

Taiwan-based PC and peripheral vendors Acer and ASUS have even sought extra hardware assistance. Acer’s and ASUS’s respective gaming product lines, Predator and ROG, are now equipped with NVIDIA’s G-Sync chip that works with LCD monitors to maximize the HDR effect.

Most HDR-capable LCD monitors support HDR10, a standard established by the UHD Alliance for TVs. However, there are wide differences between TVs and displays for IT devices in hardware and size specifications. IT product vendors thus have to develop their own HDR standard separate from HDR10.

“4K with HDR monitors have been shown to deliver much more superior gaming visuals than traditional LCD monitors featuring SDR (standard dynamic range) can ever offer,” said WitsView analyst Julian Lee. “Thus, the next stage in the development of HDR displays for IT products will be about vendors working towards standardization and compatibility in the generation, transmission and playing of the HDR video content.”

NVIDIA’s G-Sync, for example, only works with games that are developed using game engines capable of HDR rendering. Games and video content from sources that do not support HDR will not be able to take advantage of G-Sync that is integrated into a monitor with HDR specifications. “Currently, metadata from different content providers are not following a consistent HDR standard,” said Lee. “This led to incompatibility between some HDR content and HDR-enabled IT hardware.

Consequently, there is a necessity to create another HDR standard for IT products. WitsView’s analysis finds that processor manufacturers such as Intel and OS publishers like Microsoft will have a major role in the development of such standard. By building support for HDR content, they could help accelerate the market growth of high-end, HDR-capable monitors in the near future.

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