Monitors make only just one part of the overall ecosystem, as Victor Chien, General Manager of Digital Displays Business at Acer, can surely attest to. Post next@acer, let’s see what the near future looks like! Interview has been edited for clarity.
It seems that monitor manufacturers are beginning to offer HDMI 2.1 for their displays. What are your thoughts on that?
Victor Chien: At next@acer 2021, we launched the Predator CG437K S, a 43-inch monitor that supports HDMI 2.1. In fact, we did launch HDMI 2.1-supported products earlier, so we have a line up of 28-, 31.5- and 43-inch monitors with HDMI 2.1. In essence, we’re able to meet the needs of different users. We’re not always going to be the first to launch the products, but as a market leader, we can provide a full coverage of solutions.
Are there any plans to introduce smart monitors?
Victor Chien: We do have plans for this, yes, to provide the best computing power for displays and for ease of use.
With next-gen consoles using HDMI 2.1, will this be the standard for Acer Predator Gaming moving forward?
Victor Chien: Yes; for UHD resolution and high frame rate, HDMI 2.1 will be the new standard that we’ll use to provide the best connection between the monitor and the console and / or PC to provide a better user experience.
Following Acer’s push for sustainability, and the announcement of a laptop made from recycled plastic, would we be seeing displays similarly made with recycled materials?
Victor Chien: Definitely, we do have a plan for a campaign to align with the whole company’s strategy, so it’s in the pipeline.
Is Acer focusing more on gaming displays? What’s the focus moving forward?
Victor Chien: We’re not just focusing on gaming displays, but we use gaming displays to demonstrate our technological leadership. We do provide displays across all categories, be it portable monitors, commercial ones or those for video conferences.
What are Acer’s plans to introduce more portable displays?
Victor Chien: Portable displays are geared to provide many different solutions namely, in resolution, size, or touch-input. Most of our portable displays utilize USB Type-C connection, so that it’d be easy for you to connect to your smartphones. We have wireless displays on the way, but we believe most users will be using portable displays to pair with their smartphones or notebooks. For wireless displays, we’re looking to maintain performance especially in outdoor environments, where the connection may not be as stable as a wired one. As such, we’ll always provide a low connectivity option.
Would we be able to see Predator Gaming monitors larger than 43-inches by the end of the year?
Victor Chien: We did consider a 49-inch, 21:9 kind of display. Our focus is still on the viewing experience, so within the 3-feet distance, we’re carefully evaluating the size for the best user experience. I’d say 43-inch is relatively big enough. If we make something bigger, we’d categorize it for living areas, which goes into a 10-feet viewing distance and is probably not for personal use. We haven’t definitively decided on making a living zone, TV-sized gaming display for now, as its in the evaluation stage.
What about higher resolution displays? e.g. 6K, 8K?
Victor Chien: For gaming displays, the frame rate and bandwidth are major concerns. We’re currently working to optimize the user experience based on UHD 4K resolution. Our plans for 6K, 8K are more for productivity use instead of gaming, since creators would benefit from the utility of a higher resolution and bigger screen size. For gaming, our direction remains on 2K, 4K and higher refresh rate.
About the CG437K S, are the RGB lighting strips the same as the CG437K P? Are there any improvements from its predecessor?
Victor Chien: The lighting strips are the same. We were more focused on HDMI 2.1 for console gaming compatibility.
Since wireless displays are planned, will there be foldable displays?
Victor Chien: We’re looking into that now because of the portability. The technology isn’t mature enough to hit a 27-inch foldable into an A4 size, so we’ll need to carefully follow developments to make the tech work before we jump into it. For a foldable this size, I think it’s still in the development stage.
Would Acer consider including productivity options by wireless connections, like Samsung DeX?
Victor Chien: This would be closer to a smart display, so when we develop one, we want to provide different kinds of user interfaces, where you can switch to something like a productivity focused UI, to an entertainment one. We’re looking into it and making plans.
With the introduction of Predator laptops with mini-LED displays, what’s coming in the future?
Victor Chien: I think the best is yet to come, as we’re constantly planning. Once the products are ready, we’ll be happy to announce them to you.
How has the demand been for monitors, with so many people working and studying at home?
Victor Chien: It’s been good for the display business. Previously, it’d look like a refresh would only happen when a gaming monitor came out. With the lifestyle change, we feel there’s a lot of demands for consumer displays so the market is trying to keep up with it. Unfortunately, with the shortage of components like the semiconductor panels, it does affect things.
Even for just once piece of a whole set up, even a “mere” display needs to go through so many considerations. Moving forward, let’s see how far we can get in visual technology.