What Is Motion Blur Reduction? (ULMB, LightBoost, BenQ Blur Reduction, Ultra Low Motion Blur)

Motion blur reduction creates CRT-like motion clarity by backlight strobing which is ideal for competitive fast-paced games.

Answer:

Some gaming monitors offer Motion Blur Reduction technology, which improves motion clarity by backlight strobing.

You can enable this feature in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the monitor. It can be found under different names depending on the monitor, such as ULMB, ELMB, 1ms MPRT, MBR, DyAc, LightBoost, PureXP, Aim Stabilizer, etc.

So, you’ve got yourself a fast CPU, a powerful GPU, and a high refresh rate gaming monitor yet you’re not satisfied with the gaming performance due to all the motion blur?

The most effective solution to combat motion blur is a gaming monitor with Motion Blur Reduction, assuming it also has a fast pixel response time speed.

What Is Motion Blur Reduction?

In short, enabling motion blur reduction makes the display strobe the backlight to create CRT-like motion clarity, which is perfect for fast-paced competitive games.

You can enable/disable motion blur reduction in the OSD menu of the gaming monitor. Different monitor models have different brand names for this technology, including:

  • NVIDIA’s ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) and ULMB 2
  • NVIDIA’s LightBoost
  • BenQ’s DyAc (Dynamic Accuracy), DyAc+ and DyAc 2
  • ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur (ELMB)
  • LG’s 1ms Motion Blur Reduction
  • Samsung’s 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time)
  • ViewSonic’s PureXP
  • Gigabyte’s Aim Stabilizer

NVIDIA’s LightBoost technology is outdated and only available on older monitors, whereas ULMB is featured only in certain G-SYNC gaming monitors.

When Should You Use Motion Blur Reduction?

reduce motion blur

The quality of motion blur reduction will depend on many things, including your system rig, monitor, video game, picture/driver settings and the MBR implementation itself.

In truth, enabling backlight strobing won’t always make the game look smoother.

Games will look the best when your refresh rate is over or equal to your frame rate, which can be challenging to achieve since most motion blur reduction technologies cannot work at the same time as FreeSync or G-SYNC.

ASUS’ ELMB-Sync was the first MBR technology capable of simultaneously running VRR and MBR. In theory, you’re supposed to get a gaming experience without tearing, stuttering, or motion blur.

However, on most monitors, the technology is not adequately tuned as you get a lot of strobe crosstalk (or double images) and/or pixel overshoot, like it’s the case with the ASUS VG259QM.

Consequently, if you want the best motion clarity, you’ll have to only use MBR, and if you wish to eliminate screen stuttering and tearing with minimal input lag penalty, you’ll have to use FreeSync/G-SYNC.

Gigabyte’s Aim Stabilizer Sync and MSI’s MPRT-Sync technology also allow backlight strobing to be used at the same time as FreeSync/G-SYNC on supported monitors.

Many gamers opt to use V-Sync to synchronize the monitor’s vertical refresh rate with GPU’s frame rates for the best results when using backlight strobing, but this introduces input lag.

Related:What Is V-SYNC And Is It Worth It?

In order to decrease the added input lag of V-Sync, you should cap your frame rate to your maximum refresh rate subtracted by 0.01 using RTSS (Rivatuner Statistics Server).

First, you’ll need to know the exact fractional refresh rate of your monitor.

If you have a 144Hz display, your exact refresh rate might actually be around 143.997Hz, in which case you should cap your FPS to 143.987 (143.997 – 0.01).

RTSS V Sync Trick
Click to enlarge

You can use this website to check your exact refresh rate.

Note that this method only works if your GPU can maintain a steady frame rate that’s close to your refresh rate. So, if you can’t maintain 144FPS, lower your refresh rate to 120Hz.

In fact, backlight strobing will usually work best at a lower refresh rate than your monitor’s maximum refresh rate (120Hz strobing on a 144Hz monitor, 144Hz strobing on a 240Hz monitor, etc).

Another downside to using MBR (besides not being able to use VRR on most monitors) is the reduced picture brightness.

Some backlight strobing techniques will have additional settings available such as ‘ULMB Pulse Width,’ which allows you to adjust the backlight strobing frequency manually.

This way, you can find the best ratio between how much picture brightness is sacrificed for improved motion clarity.

Some gaming monitors can remain quite bright even when MBR is enabled, while others become too dim for a comfortable gaming experience.

Unfortunately, monitor manufacturers usually don’t state the display’s maximum brightness when MBR is enabled, so you will have to rely on monitor reviews.

Finally, note that when backlight strobing is enabled, screen flickering is introduced, though invisible to the human eye. Still, those very sensitive to it may experience headaches after prolonged use.

NOTE

The best MBR implementations include BenQ’s DyAc+, NVIDIA’s ULMB2 and monitors with Blur Busters Approved Certification. These ensure high levels of brightness while strobing, with minimum strobe crosstalk and other artifacts.

Response Time Speed

blur reduction on or off

The amount of motion blur will also depend on the panel type (IPS, TN, or VA). More precisely, on their gray-to-gray (GtG) pixel response time speed.

Now, monitor manufacturers may sometimes misleadingly only state the display’s backlight strobing response time speed, i.e., ‘1ms MPRT’ (Moving Picture Response Time) without quoting the GtG pixel response time of that monitor.

So, make sure you check out both MPRT and GtG response time measures in reviews!

VA panels usually have the slowest pixel transition speed from dark to bright pixels, so even if a VA gaming monitor has a high refresh rate and motion blur reduction, fast-paced games can have prominent smearing in dark scenes.

TN panels, on the other hand, have a fast response time speed, usually around 1ms GtG, which is why they are the most popular choice for competitive gamers.

IPS panels are somewhere in-between the two when it comes to the pixel transition time, though some newer IPS and VA monitors have just as fast response time as some TN models!

The ASUS PG27AQN in particular has an IPS panel with exceptional pixel response time speed and NVIDIA’s impeccable ULMB 2 backlight strobing implementation.

Lastly, OLED panels have even faster response times than TN panels since they don’t use a backlight to produce the picture; individual pixels change instantaneously, which makes for a very smooth motion.

Even though OLED panels have nearly instant response times, some motion blur is still noticeable due to the way sample-and-hold technology works (this applies to both LED and OLED panels).

Instead of backlight strobing, OLED panels use BFI (Black Frame Insertion), that is, black frames are added in between the real frames to eliminate the perceived motion blur.

Blur Busters Approved Certification

viewsonic xg270 blur busters certification

Gaming monitors carrying the ‘Blur Busters Approved’ certification are tested and tuned by Blur Busters and thus ensure high-quality performance of the monitor’s backlight strobing technology. The certification indicates the following:

  • Better color quality when MBR is enabled
  • Less strobe crosstalk (double-images)
  • Manually adjustable backlight strobing frequency
  • Upgradable via firmware
  • More refresh rate options at which MBR can operate
  • Better MBR operation at lower refresh rates for monitors with higher native refresh rates (for example a 144Hz monitor strobing at 120Hz)

The ViewSonic XG270 1080p 240Hz IPS display is the first gaming monitor to receive Blur Buster’s certification for their PureXP MBR technology.

Many people are comparing the motion clarity of ViewSonic XG270 to the old (but gold) CRT displays such as the Sony FW900 when the display is set to strobe at 120Hz (and FPS capped and kept at 120FPS).

Blur Busters Approved 2.0

Blur Busters Approved 2.0 Certification

The second version of Blur Busters Approved Programme improves upon the original by allowing strobing (including single-strobing) to work at any custom resolution/refresh rate – starting at 60Hz up to the monitor’s maximum refresh rate, as well as by adding blur reduction utility software to fine-tune your settings.

They also strive to keep input lag as low as possible.

The ViewSonic XG2431 is the first monitor with this certification and it offers exceptional performance!

Blur Busters Logo Program 2.2

Blur Busters’ latest logo certification program adds three new tiers:

  • Blur Busters Verified – Gold logo for OLED and MicroLED displays with a refresh rate of at least 240Hz. Displays with this certification don’t necessarily support Black Frame Insertion. They guarantee smooth motion without the use of BFI or backlight strobing (great for those sensitive to flicker).
  • Blur Busters Approved – Green logo for OLED and LED displays with BFI / backlight strobing that pass the Approved 2.0 requirements
  • Blur Busters Approved – Green logo for video processors that inject BFI into the video signal via devices such as the Retrotink 4K

NVIDIA ULMB 2

NVIDIA’s ULMB backlight strobing technology is available on some G-SYNC monitors and usually offers decent performance with customizable pulse width and respectable brightness levels.

The new ULMB 2 certification takes it to the next level with stricter tuning and requirements, including:

  • Backlight strobing must be supported at the monitor’s maximum refresh rate
  • At least 250-nits of brightness
  • Effective motion clarity of > 1000Hz (i.e. a refresh rate of at least 250Hz)
  • Minimal strobe crosstalk

NVIDIA G-SYNC Pulsar

At CES 2024, NVIDIA announced the G-SYNC Pulsar technology.

In short, it combines the VRR performance of a native G-SYNC monitor with ULMB backlight strobing in order to reduce perceived motion blur while simultaneously keeping screen tearing at stuttering at bay.

At the moment, simultaneous VRR and MBR performance is possible on some displays without the native G-SYNC module via Gigabyte’s Aim Stabilizer Sync, ASUS’ ELMB-SYNC and similar implementations. However, the actual performance is mostly lackluster due to strobe crosstalk and similar visual artifacts.

For now, there are no announced G-SYNC Pulsar displays except for a hint at a new PG27 series monitor by ASUS, which might be a refresh of the PG27AQN model.

Given the huge backlight strobing performance improvement NVIDIA’s ULMB2 brings and the fact that a native G-SYNC module ensures stable VRR performance, we’re optimistic about G-SYNC Pulsar and hope to finally see proper VRR + MBR performance.

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Joseph Moore

Joseph has probably spent thousands of hours learning about displays in his free time and prior work experience at HP. He now writes and manages DisplayNinja to ensure it stays as the people's favorite resource.