TCL smashes the refresh rate barrier as it demonstrates a 4K 1000Hz panel

TCL 1000Hz 4K panel demonstration
(Image credit: Blur Busters)

Gaming monitor technology continues to advance. When we see new models come to market with ever higher refresh rates, they're usually 1080p models. With the advent of OLED technology in particular, refresh rates are ticking upwards on higher resolution panels too. 

1000Hz, though? That's never been seen on any gaming panel. Screens capable of 540Hz are on the market, but they're still rare, and very expensive 1080p TN panels aimed at competitive gamers. 4K examples such as the stunning Asus ROG Swift OLED PG32UCDM are capable of 240Hz, but that's still well short of the 1000Hz 4K panel spotted by Blur Busters at the DisplayWeek 2024 conference in California.

Surprisingly, TCL has offered next to no information on this panel, though Blur Busters say it's an LCD display. OLED is catching up fast, with dual-mode 480Hz offerings from Asus and LG coming to market in 2024, and 1000Hz prototypes possible within the next couple of years.

While this panel looks mightily impressive on paper, there are some caveats. The screen appears as though it's very much a proof-of-concept, with no information on what, if any compromises needed to be made in order to achieve such a refresh rate.

Screen queens

(Image credit: Future)

Best gaming monitor: Pixel-perfect panels for your PC.
Best high refresh rate monitor: Screaming quick.
Best 4K monitor for gaming: When only high-res will do.
Best 4K TV for gaming: Big-screen 4K gaming.

Then there's the question of whether DisplayPort 2.1 with Display Stream Compression (DSC) is capable of driving such a panel, meaning a future DP 3.0 or HDMI 3.0 standard may be required to support such a refresh rate without crazy levels of compression or loss of color depth. And, you'll need a powerful graphics card and/or CPU to get anywhere near those kinds of frame rates. Some kind of next gen frame generation technology may be a prerequisite.

So, while this is an impressive feat by TCL, it's the kind of thing that'll have limited practicality for the foreseeable future. 1000Hz is more likely to debut at 1080p or 1440p resolutions before we see 1000Hz at 4K.

Beyond gaming, I look forward to seeing what 1000Hz content would look like. Planet Earth 4 perhaps? By the time displays supporting 1000Hz at 4K become a thing, Sir David Attenborough will probably be 120 years old, and we'll be eyeing the next big thing. I want my wall sized 16K 1000Hz window replacement panel. 

In the meantime, do check out our picks for best high refresh rate gaming monitor in 2024. You won't even need a 2030 graphics card to run any of these.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.