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1rst LCD at 100 Hz: the end of afterglow
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on October 23, 2006

Gamers, the future of LCDs is at 100 Hz !
Partially unveiled at CeBIT 2006, 100 Hz technology is coming for LCDs. The idea is that monitors will no longer display 50 or 60 images per second but 100. How it does this is something we will go into later. What is important is that Samsung is headed in the right direction. Finally, LCD technology is considerably improving much more than going from 16 to 2ms. Under certain circumstances, the first 100 Hz LCD is as good as a CRT.
Testing the Samsung LE4073BD

The only problem is that once again the technology doesn’t come on a computer monitor but on 40" TV. Not testing this, however, seemed foolish to us and we were right. This TV really is different. For 100% computer use, similar technology will be only available in 2007. Here is a preview of monitors that will be released next year…

100 Hz technology is present in many projects by many manufacturers and they all say that the future of display technology is headed this way. To succeed, there are several possibilities. We are going to start with the ones that Samsung hasn´t chosen before ending with the better one, or their solution.

One method described in Samsung´s website consists in adding 10 images per second. Now you start thinking about this and you realize that there is something wrong. How does 60 Hz + 10 images = 100? Obviously there is another explanation and it has nothing to do with the technology that Samsung recently introduced in its TV. It’s actually a trick used by some plasmas to improve image flow. For others like LG and Philips, it seems that the targeted 100 Hz would consist in introducing a black image between two colored images. This action doesn´t have an impact on the flow of images or on real afterglow but rather on retinal persistence. The idea is to recreate an artificial screening like we used to have on CRT monitors. The black image "cleans" the eye from the previous image. To understand retinal persistence, look at a lamp 2 seconds and look elsewhere immediately after. You will see a very bright spot. If you look at the light bulb only one second, you will see that the retinal persistence is much lower.

According to Samsung, which also tested this method, this technology does noticeably reduce afterglow, but also produces a twinkling on the panel similar to tubes clocked at 60 Hz.

Either way, it’s interesting to note that alternating images with black ones at 100 Hz means a change approximately every 8 ms. Even with 4ms monitors and lower, with a couple of exceptions, this frequency is too quick for liquid crystals to turn black. Chances are that the intercalated image might not be black but identical to the previous one and be less intense.

BenQ explores a similar path with an alternation not of black but gray images. We will have the opportunity to test their system soon and we are eager to see it, because they decided to include it in a 24" monitor.
And now Samsung’s 100 Hz
Samsung´s solution is different from the previous ones. We will start with the theory first of all. The monitor tested is a European model, which means that the initial frequency isn´t 60 Hz like US TVs (for example), but 50 Hz. By increasing to 100 Hz, Samsung doubles the flow. The "easy" solution would have been to double the number of images but this isn´t what Samsung does. According to the manufacturer, a processor calculates one intermediate image between the two sent by the DVD player or computer. It’s an intelligent real time calculation.

Here is the marketing claim of this technology. Don’t take it too literally, but nevertheless it does illustrate the process quite well:

On the left, a 50 Hz sequence and on the right, the result at 100 Hz

In use, the result is very appealing, whether it’s with a DVD player or computer. With the 100 Hz deactivated, there is some afterglow. With 100 Hz activated, there is a new image flow, the afterglow disappears. Amazing!


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