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240Hz 4K TVs are waiting in the wings

24 Jan 2023 | Rasmus Larsen |

240Hz OLED TVs, LED TVs and LCD TVs are waiting in the wings, as evidenced by manufacturers' prototypes. Could 4K 240Hz TVs overtake 8K TVs?

8K TV sales are not taking off, so perhaps a better use for all of the processing power required for 8K60 is to switch attention to 4K240. These two formats each require a total of 1.99 billion pixel refreshes per second, and 240Hz combined with a true LED or OLED display (sample-and-hold) could further reduce display persistence, i.e. motion blur.

The first 240Hz OLED panel for laptops was announced in May 2022 by Samsung Display while the first 240Hz OLED monitors launched in the US in late 2022. Many more 240Hz monitors will see the light of day this year due to LG Display and Samsung Display starting mass-production of 240Hz WOLED and 240Hz QD-OLED monitor panels, respectively.

And earlier this month, multiple 240Hz TV panels were announced or exhibited.

Samsung Display demonstrated the "world's first 240Hz OLED" TV panel behind closed doors at CES 2023, according to CNET's David Katzmaier who managed to shoot a short video. Update: Samsung Display informs FlatpanelsHD that no 240Hz OLED TV prototype panel was showcased at CES 2023. Samsung Display has a 240Hz laptop OLED panel but no other 240Hz OLED panels or prototypes have been announced at this time.

Video: David Katzmaier
CSoT, which TCL's display manufacturing division, showcased a 98-inch 240Hz LCD panel with 4K resolution (1G1D, or 1-gate 1-data), as seen below. It is a concept and TCL has not announced any 240Hz TVs for the American or European consumer market.

TCL 98 240Hz

TCL CSoT's 98-inch 240Hz gaming LCD panel. Photo: Marek Maciejewski, TCL

And then there is Samsung Electronics' first sub-100" true LED TV that the company insists will launch later this year. Samsung has not confirmed the resolution of the 76-inch version, but has stated that it will have a 240Hz refresh rate. - "Between its unmatched screen performance and advanced technologies, Micro LED CX heralds a brighter, more luxurious future for consumer televisions. Additionally, its 20-bit black detail, 240Hz variable refresh rates, and 2-nanosecond response time solidify the 76” Micro LED CX’s display as the gold standard of picture quality," said Samsung Electronics at CES 2023. Also read: HFR – The one UHD technology you rarely hear about As far as we are aware, LG Display has not showcased any 240Hz OLED TV panels publicly, but considering that the company has already started mass-production of 240Hz OLED monitor panels we expect them to have one or several prototypes in their laboratories.

Samsung 240Hz microLED

Samsung exhibited 50 to 140-inch 'Micro LED' TVs at CES 2023, including the CX series with a 240Hz refresh rate

Pseudo 240Hz TVs

These are not the first 240Hz TV displays to have made an appearance. Some of you may remember that Sony in 2008 launched the world's first TV with a 240Hz LCD panel and Full HD resolution. However, input signals were still limited to 60Hz so the benefits were negligible and Sony stopped selling 240Hz TVs not long after. You will even see pseudo "240Hz" 4K TVs later this year with the launch of TCL's 2023 line-up. TCL's 'Game Accelerator 240' accepts 240Hz VRR input, despite the panel being 120Hz. It works only in VRR by running at two times the 120Hz LCD panel's refresh rate and half the vertical resolution. But none of these two examples are comparable to a real 240Hz TV that can accept 240Hz input.

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HDMI 2.1 can do 4K240, sort of

We are only just getting started with 4K120 in game consoles, so why even discuss 4K240? Because VRR, or Variable Refresh Rate, will help smoothen the transition. The latest generation of game consoles, PS5 and Xbox Series X, as well as high-end gaming PCs can already hit 120fps at 4K in some games or game sequences so unlocking the wide range above 120fps up to 240fps with VRR can further improve responsiveness, lag and motion blur, even if a consistent 4K 240fps frame rate in AAA games is reserved for the future. HDMI 2.1 supports 4K 240Hz, sort of. 4K 240Hz and 8K 60Hz transmission can under some circumstances fit within HDMI 2.1's 48Gbps bandwidth link. Under other circumstances, for example PC use (4:4:4 chroma), the 4K 240Hz transmission over HDMI 2.1 would have to be compressed with lossless DSC (Display Stream Compression). We refer to the chart below. Also read: List: TVs with HDMI 2.1 VRR, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync Nvidia's RTX 4080/4090 are the first graphics cards to support 4K 240Hz over HDMI 2.1a with DSC, while Apple's 2023 Macbook Pro and 2023 Mac mini are the first laptop and compact computers, respectively, to support 4K 240Hz over HDMI 2.1a with DSC. DisplayPort 2.1 can also handle 4K 240Hz but no consumer TVs use DisplayPort at this time. So, could 4K 240Hz overtake 8K in the TV market? It's anyone's guess, really.

HDMI 2.1 resolution

4K 120p hits the bandwidth limit for HDMI 2.1 but 4K 240p is possible with DSC. Chart: HDMI organization

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