What Is Flicker-Free Technology And PWM?

Answer:

Flicker-Free Technology ensures a comfortable viewing experience by eliminating screen flickering as a means of reducing a monitor’s brightness.

Flicker-Free Technology (also referred to as Flicker-Less, Anti-Flicker, and similar) indicates that a monitor doesn’t use PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation) to lower the display’s brightness.

The PWM method includes turning the backlight on and off rapidly, and even though the flickering frequency is invisible to the human eye, it can still cause eye strain and headaches to those sensitive to it.

Luckily, most modern monitors are flicker-free, meaning that they use DC (Direct Current) modulation to regulate the brightness, which provides a constant stream of light at any brightness level.

Now, keep in mind that some monitors may be advertised as ‘Flicker-Free’ but actually are not, such as the Samsung U32J590. Displays that use PWM introduce flicker only at lower brightness settings (lower than 20%-30%, sometimes below ~50%).

This is still an issue for those who prefer lower brightness levels, whether because they work in dim-lit environments or because their monitor’s luminance is simply too strong, even below 50%.

What Is Pwm

On the other hand, some completely flicker-free displays might not include that information in the monitor’s datasheet. 

In our monitor reviews, we always include information on whether a display uses PWM to regulate brightness. While most new monitors use DC modulation, there are exceptions.

Visit our best gaming monitors and best monitors for office work buying guides to check out the best flicker-free displays available.

To test whether your monitor uses PWM, go here. If your display does use PWM at low brightness, there is something you can do to prevent it.

You can download a third-party application that will decrease the brightness by altering your graphics card’s white point value while allowing the monitor’s brightness to be set at 100%, thus avoiding PWM.

Other things that can affect your viewing comfort are proper anti-glare screen treatments and Low Blue Light Technology.

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Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.