You'll Soon Be Able to Pick Out a Good Gaming Monitor At a Glance

Sort through the marketing gobbledygook

  • The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) introduced a new specification to measure how well a display handles motion blur.
  • The new standard will override existing specifications that many vendors often abuse to artificially boost their ratings.
  • Experts agree with VESA and believe the new standard will give a true picture of a display’s ability to eliminate motion blur. 
Person playing on a gaming computer with two monitors

Alistair Berg / Getty Images

A new sticker will soon be slapped on all kinds of displays, but this one might actually help identify a good one, suggest experts.

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has just introduced a new specification, dubbed Clear Motion Ratio (ClearMR), which will make it easier to judge a monitor's proficiency in eliminating motion blur. The new specification will apply to both LCD and emissive display products, including display panels, computer monitors, laptops, tablets, TVs, and more.

"ClearMR is beneficial to the average consumer because it is a standardized measure of how sharp moving images are on a display, which all the other numbers on the box are not," Ben Golus, tech artist and graphics programmer, told Lifewire over Twitter.

It’s All a Blur

Person using a computer with a monitor in the background

vm / Getty Images

Motion blur is the apparent streaking of moving objects that occurs when a pixel changes from one color to the next. Monitors that can keep this pixel switching duration to a minimum are marketed for their increased sharpness of moving objects and less overall blur.

However, experts suggest that over the years, these numbers have lost their significance and are no longer reflective of a display’s true capability of eliminating monitor blur. In their press release, VESA contends that modern displays are now stuffed with a range of technologies that artificially boost pixel response time. 

Golus picks on GtG (Grey to Grey), a popular benchmark, as an example to explain a trick some monitor companies have employed in the past. As its name implies, GtG measures how long it takes for a pixel to change from one gray value to another gray value. However, since no industry standard regulates the measurement, some companies report low figures by measuring the time to change but not settling on that value. 

“So it could go from gray to a slightly brighter gray in 1ms, then shoot past all the way to white, and then slowly drop back to the original target gray value over the next 100 ms,” said Golus. This behavior can create distortions that negatively impact image quality. 

In its press release, VESA acknowledges that time-based metrics for categorizing blur can no longer be trusted to accurately reflect the true nature of blur.

“With ClearMR, VESA is providing the electronics industry with an open standard that gives consumers the confidence in knowing that they are purchasing a TV, notebook, or monitor that meets the most well-defined set of blur criteria,” stressed Dale Stolitzka, senior principal researcher at Samsung Display’s America R&D Lab and lead contributor to ClearMR in the press release. 

Clear Vision

According to VESA, the new ClearMR specification assigns a value based on the ratio of clear to blurry pixels. For example, ClearMR 3000 ranges between 2,500 and 3,500, meaning there are 25 to 35 times more clear pixels than blurry ones. 

For additional reliability, the ClearMR testing limits the use of any motion blur enhancement techniques employed by a vendor to create a level playing field for all displays. 

The ClearMR specification is divided into seven tiers. The lowest tier is ClearMR 3000, which means the tested display's CMR ranges between 2,500 and 3,500. On the other end of the spectrum is ClearMR 9000, the highest rating, which is awarded to displays with a CMR of over 8,500. 

VESA Certified Clear MR Tier chart


VESA suggests each tier results in a visually distinguishable change in clarity, which essentially means that a bigger number translates into less blur. All displays are subjected to thorough testing and get the ClearMR rating only after passing through all tests.

Although VESA has just announced the standard, ClearMR has already started to make its way into the market. Several displays from the likes of LG have already been ClearMR certified.

“We believe that with VESA launching its ClearMR standard in the rapidly growing gaming market, we can expect to see even greater innovation in the gaming monitor categories,” said Seok-ho Jang, vice president and head of the IT development division at LG Electronics, in ClearMR’s PR.

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