Exclusive Interview with Victor Chien President, Digital Display Business Acer Group

Victor Chien has led Acer’s Digital Display Business since March 2016, overseeing the company’s computer monitor and projector product lines. Prior to his current responsibilities, he managed a variety of product lines at Acer including digital appliances, peripherals, and digital cameras.

Before rejoining Acer in 2003, Chien held the positions of AVP at Zenitron, a distributor of semi-conductor components; and marketing manager at HP. He served as a product manager at Acer for five years from 1993.

Chien doubled majored with a Bachelor’s degree in Control Engineering and Management Science at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.

Theo: Thank you for being here. And thank you for taking the time, especially on this big day for Acer. Before we get started on talking about today’s press conference can you tell us a little bit about your GLYFE?

Victor: Okay, so I’m not a frequent gamer but when I do I play CS: GO type of First person shooter games. Because I enjoy it and I can, you know, experience our great monitor performance.

Theo: Alright, we have the president of all displays at Acer here, you’re like the guru of displays! What type of Acer displays do you use at home for your personal setup? Do have a big giant wall of Predator x 38s?

Victor: Well, actually, you’re right, that’s the current monitor I use the Predator x38. It’s a 21:9 aspect ratio so I not only use it for gaming, but also for work productivity.

Theo: Oh, absolutely. I agree. Our productivity went up big time while we had it here for review.

Victor: I mean, it’s easier to do spreadsheets, and work-related tasks, I can also Separate the screen into 2 parts. 1 screen for entertainment purposes and the other for work productivity. But sometimes because we are always testing out new monitor technology, I get to keep prototypes at home as well.

Theo: So right now, it’s a strange time in the graphics card industry. You have the pandemic as well as crypto miners buying up all the graphic cards. We would like to know what your approach is on developing future high-end monitors. Are you scaling monitor technology to the pace of the graphic card industry? How have these issues affected your plans moving forward?

Victor: Well, I think that current displays still work with the most high-end graphics cards in this current time. But we also mandate a lot of certification and compatibility tests with the graphics card providers. With new product launches like our QHD resolution that can go up to 300Hz or any other high frame rate products, we need to work closely with graphic card providers to understand the strengths they can achieve. Especially when you turn on all the special effects like particles and shading etc. you cannot reach the highest frame rate or resolution because of the required computing power and memory bandwidth. We test extensively and optimize to the best performance the cards will allow us to offer. In some cases, a lot of gaming titles have too much special effects which some users appreciate while some don’t like or want them. So, it’s kind of up to the user to tailor their settings to maximize their visual experience.  So basically with that type of outlook, we provide an assortment of products for users to work with. We have launched 2k to 4k gaming displays up to 150 hertz then you have the QHD right now which can go up to 300 Hz and of course our full HD that can reach speeds up to 370 Hz. Maybe you never know sometime in the future we will be able to reach speeds up to 400 Hz. We always aim to maximize user benefit to improve their experience, so we work with graphic card providers daily.

Theo: Has the shortage of graphics cards affected sales overall?

Victor: I think the current shortage of graphic cards impacts mostly the high-end products because of availability. Gamers’ graphic cards are going to the crypto industry to create mining machines. It has made a sudden impact on the DIY market because they cannot easily get a quality card. So that has had some impact on the display market, however, I think the largest impact may not be from the shortage of graphics cards but from the logistical viewpoint. Especially the transportation lead time, originally, we have had some component shortages here and there but end-to-end transportation lead time has become far longer now compared to the pre-pandemic time period. It’s creating a lot of issues, I think is not just one factor, it’s a mixture of things that make the market relatively difficult to predict. This is making handling and optimizing inventory or back-end material planning kind of tough.

Theo: Can a card as powerful as the Nvidia 3090 power a Predator x38 it to its full potential? Maximum refresh rate, frames per second, etc.

Victor: I think current displays are in line with the progress of graphic card technology today. We are however always looking for more power because when you turn on all the special effects features one single graphic card cannot reach the monitor’s maximum performance. Even a card like the Nvidia 3090, especially if you want a real immersive experience like QHD up to 300 Hz, 4k up to 150Hz, or a multiple display setup. Graphics cards still have a very high potential to upgrade performance to work with displays to create a better viewing experience.

Theo: Let’s talk about the challenges right now, of distributing products. Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff going on here in the States. We have cargo ships sitting in the ocean. What can you tell the people or reassure the people that, you know, they order a monitor right now they’re going to get it on time and in a timely manner?

Victor: Well, it’s a very difficult question. Because of what I mentioned earlier there are so many factors there. So sometimes production runs smoothly, but then sometimes we cannot get enough containers. Even when the container situation is resolved sometimes, we cannot get enough shipping space. In the current US hopper situation, there are so many cargo containers just waiting to get unloaded. So, the current situation is very difficult to predict, currently, the manufacturing side is relatively easier to predict than the logistic side. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved soon in a smooth manner, I noticed President Biden mentioned he would like the harbor to begin operating 24/7. So maybe this situation will be resolved sooner than later.

Theo: So, we had some big announcements today during the press conference. I have never personally owned a projector or let alone ever heard of a projector that can produce numbers like these. Let’s first talk about the Predator GD711 a smart 4k HDR LED gaming projector with Esports quality performance. What is the vision behind this product?

Victor: Traditionally when you think of a projector normally you think more along the lines of a home theater situation. These types of projectors usually don’t support a variable refresh rate.   Our newly launched GD711 supports 2k to 4k resolution so you’re getting an excellent quality display. It can easily project a large size up to two or three hundred inches providing you with an immersive experience not only for a home theater application but also for gaming. They can reach Full HD resolution and hit refresh rates up to 120 Hz on consoles like PlayStation or Xbox. But they can also cater to PC gamers with refresh rates up 240 Hz with full HD resolution so, it’s a great combination. Most projectors are set up in a home theatre type of application and never thought to be used for big-screen gaming. If you already have that type of environment setup you can easily replace your projector with the GD711 and have the best fit for VR, console, and PC gaming. It’s really a competitive solution for a larger scale screen size that offers a very attractive user experience.

Theo: I look at monitors all day for work. Can you shed some light on the impact a projector has on your eyes compared to a normal screen?

Victor: For projectors in general the eye strain is much less than a TV.  Because it’s not the main source of light. It’s like a reflection so it makes the display feel soft and comfortable. When you are playing a game, you tend to focus really hard on the monitor which can cause strain. So this product also provides a better vision care type of solution.

Theo: That’s good to know. I mean, I look at the monitor every day, something like this would actually be pretty healthy for me to Game on.

Victor: Vision care is taken into consideration for every new monitor we launch. For example, our last one was the 27-inch QHD 300 Hz, gaming monitor. We provide an Eyesafe certified feature that offers a low blue light technology layer while still maintaining color accuracy. Traditionally when you have a low blue light kind of display you will always have a lack of color accuracy. The current display products we provide for gaming will always have Eyesafe technology built into them.

Theo: We also learned about a lamp projector today called the GM712 with a 4K resolution and 3,600 ANSI lumens of brightness. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Victor: The GM712 is based on lamp technology which provides a brighter display with more focus on a white background giving it the edge in work productivity. So, what this means is in a brighter environment they can still provide a great display. Unfortunately, the color brilliance will not be as good as the GD711. So, the major difference between these two is the GD711 focuses on better color so you can really experience theatre type of performance. As for the GM712 because the source is a lamp it’s more flexible and can not only work in an entry level home theatre but also brighter environments. It comes equipped with a 1.3 ratio lens that allows you to tailor the size of the screen easily offering you more installation flexibility. So that is the major scenario and audience for the two different products. If you want more productivity, installation flexibility, and use in a tough environment go with the GM712. If you already have a home theater environment set up and are looking for good color performance you choose the GD711.

Theo: So, I game on what I call in our language here at GLYFE a single ultra-wide so the X 38 would fall into this category. Then there are monitors like the AOPEN Fire Legend which I would consider a double ultra-wide. I’m curious to know what the trends are right now. What aspect ratio are people most buying right now?

Victor: Well, I think ultra-wide has become more and more popular yes, especially in this pandemic lifestyle. Sometimes we need productivity sometimes we need entertainment. 21:9 we all know will improve your productivity and also provide an immersive gaming experience. When we tested the market with the APOEN 32:9 flat panel we were presenting the opportunity to have an even wider display for greater productivity and entertainment. But in general, our study showed that 21:9 is the best for entertainment. But for multipurpose use, I think 32:9 is better because it’s like having 2 16:9 displays which will increase your overall productivity.

Theo: Is there anything else I might have missed that you would like to share with our readers?

Victor: I want everyone to know that we are always working new on ways to get higher frame rates, higher resolution, and further improve the viewing experience. We especially want to improve color performance and vision care, we put a lot of effort into optimizing your viewing experience, but we also want to protect your eyes. We also want everyone to know Acer is all about contributing to the earth and humanity so we will further try to optimize our displays to reduce carbon footprint. We want to play our role in helping reduce climate change and keeping the Earth so great.

 

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