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Sony Demos Gran Turismo 5 At 240fps On An FED


Sony Demos Gran Turismo 5 At 240fps On An FED

Sony has been pushing OLED pretty heavily recently, but that isn't the only next-generation display technology being worked on. Field emission display, or FED technology has some interesting tricks up its sleeve - a 240fps frame rate for example.

Sony showed off the tech on a nano-Spindt screen, powered by four PS3s running a special version of Gran Turismo 5 - each console pushing 60fps and thus providing a quarter of the frames each second. The 19in display apparently as a result of this insane framerate produces an incredibly life-like smoothness. That no doubt being assisted by the quality of the game being used.

Of course there's an argument to be made that the fast refresh rates afforded by FED tech won't be of as much use with TV content, with its inherently lower input framerates. Indeed, films shot at 24fps will need some pretty smart frame-creation processing to display ten times as many frames a second.

I'm sure the technicalities will be figured out by the time production displays are made available next year. That distribution being limited to high-end professional types initially.

Go to comments

The Mighty Ben

November 21, 2008, 10:54 pm

Interesting story hugo. I'd like to know - what is our upper threshold for frame rate recognition? I always thought it was 60, & anything over that just looked the same, but clearly that's not the case. Of course you cant get any smoother than reality so the point at which they look the same will also be the point at which we stop noticing any increase... until we have processors implanted in our brains. I wonder if that happened, would our reaction time increase, or would time itself appear to slow down? Hmm.


November 21, 2008, 10:56 pm

I thought it was 60 as well.

Although that is 4x60

Francesco Mastellone

November 21, 2008, 11:21 pm

From the little I know, the image on our retina is "refreshed" ~25 times per second, but with the processing going on in our brain we can tell how things are changing as fast as ~125fps. I could be wrong though. Better wait for someone more informed...


November 21, 2008, 11:55 pm

Of course it's different for everyone, and actually pretty difficult to measure accurately, but to my understanding the 'cut-off' point for not being able to see the difference is in the region of 60-80.

The Mighty Ben

November 22, 2008, 12:04 am

Sony must have researched this - it would be hard to sell an expensive set if its main feature was... indiscernible to the human eye! Then again, people do buy very fast cars which can't legally be driven over 70mph unless on a racetrack. Is this the start of a new TV format war - LED vs FED?


November 22, 2008, 12:37 am

personally i run crossfire (now) and attain very high framerates. the reason being i can then throw everything up to the highest conceivable image quality and ot risk any slowdown. the headroom is what i like best - devil may cry 4 with 16x MSAA never looked so fine...


November 22, 2008, 1:27 am

Well it's definitely possible to perceive 60Hz flicker in your peripheral vision which is why I always used to use my CRT monitor at 75Hz or higher. And I'm fairly sure it's possible to observe the strobe effect under street lighting at night time.

Would be interesting to see if their is a much of difference between 120fps and 240fps on one of these displays.


November 22, 2008, 4:12 am

@Ben: LED-backlit LCDs don't improve on any of the problems of current LCDs. OLED vs. FED/SED is more likely to be the two next big technologies.

I would imagine the point where we can't notice the difference is somewhere in the hundreds of hz. Certainly you can still see the blur on an LCD changing pixels which (according to the manufacturers) only lasts 1/500th of a second, although some of that is apparently a built-in motion blur in the brain (but can be bypassed by inserting black frames).


November 22, 2008, 5:46 am

@Francesco Mastellone

I believe not. The only reason film (24fps) and TV (25/30fps) seem fluid is due to motion blur inherent in recording over a length of time (1/24 of a second, 1/25th etc). Like camera shake on a stills camera. This is illustrated nicely in the background/wheel of this still from Bullitt:


This is why games need a frame rate (or a motion blur algorithm) of at least 60fps (person dependent) to look completely smooth.

The Mighty Ben

November 22, 2008, 6:28 am

Hey I read some further commentary on IGN (hope it's ok to quote, they're not really a competitor of TR): 'In case you're wondering, 240fps is actually faster than the human eye can comprehend, and the resulting effect on the game produced an image that was described as "following a real world event happening right in front of your face with your own eyes....any and all flickering in the movement of the vehicle, in the smoke from the tires, etc. are completely gone and you are almost tricked into believing you are watching something in real life."

Yes it would be great to see these technologies side by side. Maybe I'll live to see a 'TV museum' someday.

Jay Werfalli

November 22, 2008, 3:27 pm

I love the tech used in FEDs - rather similar, in principle, to that used in a field emission electron microscope (it's all about the concentration of electrons at the tip, the size of the electron beam(s) and the quality of the vacuum ;). I also find it interesting that Sony only chose to demo a game on a FED, rather than also talking about the colour accuracy and smoothness these kind of displays can potentially produce - just like a good old CRT, but without the bulk!

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